Valve are the legendary studio behind what many people consider the greatest video game of all time: Half Life. They also make the Left 4 Dead games, Portal, DOTA, and run the massively popular gaming platform: Steam.
So when Valve announced they would be making the move into hardware, creating a "Steam Machine" to compete with the Xbox One and PS4, people naturally took notice.
Well, now the Steam machine has been released for Beta testing, so what is the verdict?
Steam Machine vs Xbox One vs PS4!
One of the most noticeable things about the steam machine is its controller. It comes with no joystick, but instead with two touchscreen panels, giving the device a rather owl-like look.
What is the point of this new design? Well, the Steam Machine is a device meant to act as a sort of halfway house between a PC experience and that of the major consoles, the Xbox One and PS4. The controller then, is meant to provide the kind of accuracy users get with a keyboard and mouse, combined with the functionality of an Xbox or Playstation controller.
So does it work? Well, according to the initial reports, not quite. The system they have is built on a rollerball system, and some users said they found it like trying to control your mouse by turning it upside down, and directing the cursor with our thumb.
That said, this is only the Beta stage, and Valve are keen to stress that they are a company used to making software, where they can release a model, withdraw it, and then tinker away until they believe they have it right. If it isn't quite there this time, that doesn't mean the Steam Machine controller can never rival the famous handsets of the Xbox One and PS4.
Steam Machine: The Future of Linux Gaming?
When you get to the Steam machine itself, you see how different Valve are making their "box" to that of Sony or Microsoft.
Where the Xbox One and PS4 have their specification, which cannot be modified or tampered with, the Steam Machine will be much more like a PC, with minimum requirements and the ability to modify and upgrade it.
The machine runs on Linux, and will be able to screencast to other screen around the house, as well as integrating biometrics data and employing gaze tracking.
The problem for Valve and the Steam Machine may be simply that there re not yet enough games being designed for Linux based consoles. Valve have said they believe that the launch of the Steam Machine will introduce a "20 or 30 fold" growth in Linux gaming.
So are Valve once again the cutting edge, leading the way to the future of gaming, or will this prove to be an ambitious failure, never matching the success of the Xbox One and PS4?
Write in with your thoughts below the line!