PORTAL AND LEFT4DEAD developer Valve cornered the PC gaming market with its Steam gaming store, but the firm’s intriguing attempt to reboot the brand as a living-room concern and take on next-gen consoles with Steam Machines has been a slow burn. For one, the new controller, which seeks to merge mouse and keyboard with a joypad, is yet to be finished: the haptic disc and pad configuration are re-imagined and newly 3D printed for each expo (we like the “Guard” button on the rear that reacts when you grip, mind). Meanwhile, the licensed machines have been pushed back to a 2015 launch.
With the bespoke, Linux-based OS already free to download to any PC and Steam’s Big Picture mode letting you play on your TV via HDMI, we wonder where the market is. Alienware does, too: it’s predicted that its own Steam Machine will be its worst-selling model. From US$500, valvesoftware.com, out 2015