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Traditional consoles aren’t the only way to play video games in your living room anymore. At CES 2014, Valve, the company behind the popular PC gaming service, Steam, announced 13 living-room optimized Steam Machines.
Basically, these are miniature PCs that allow you to play Steam’s library of games on your TV using a more traditional game controller. Valve doesn’t seem to be too enthusiastic about getting into the unfamiliar territory of the hardware business, so Steam Machines will be produced by third-party developers and will vary in specs. That variance in specs will consequently cause a wide range in prices, from $500 to $6,000, depending on what you’re looking for.
This means you could potentially get a gaming device in your living room that is more powerful than the Microsoft Xbox One or the Sony PlayStation 4 and has access to some of the most popular games available.
Unlike traditional gaming consoles, the Steam Machines can be freely modified and upgraded. The introduction of these devices into the living-room space certainly helps Valve compete with Sony and Microsoft. But it remains to be seen whether or not these machines will sell enough to put a dent in the big console makers' market share.