So commentators have indicated that Valve’s Steam Machines will represent an enormous disruption to the traditional console model, acting as a transitional device towards an increasing focus on PC-powered gaming. Here’s what you need to know:


Operating system:
SteamOS, a Linux-based system.

Available games:
Any Linux-capable games available on Steam. Additionally, Steam Machines can be used to stream Windows-based games from your PC or laptop onto your TV screen.

Manufacturer:
Various part of the appeal of the Steam Machines is that a range of diff erent units
will be available, consumers selecting one that fi ts their needs and budget.

Inputs:
Given the fl exibility of the operating system, you’re free to choose your own input device. Valve is developing a Steam Controller, which features a touchpad designed to provide sensitivity equal to that of a mouse.

Price:
Expect huge variation between diff erent Steam Machines depending on their included features, hardware specifi cations and component quality.

Release date:
TBA 2015.

Through PlayStation Now, you are limited to playing Sony games through Sony products it’s nowhere near as attractive as the multi publisher network put forward by Pachter. Far from engaging a genuine formatless future, PlayStation Now is an attempt to strengthen the Sony formats. It is not an attempt to diversify and modernise how we consume games.

What’s most interesting is the fact that many seem to agree that moving away from specialised devices represents the future, but how we ultimately get there remains an issue as demonstrated by the lack of publisher support for platform-agnostic game streaming.

“From a development perspective, the opinions about how we access games in the future changes dramatically depending on who you talk you,” says Chambers. “If you could stream all of your games to the device you choose then that would be great. Ultimately, though, the designers themselves don’t really care how you get your games.

“The designer just wants to make great games, and so long as you can access them in a way that works, then that’s good enough. Same goes for creative directors, animators and other creative people in the industry. “As far as the business model goes, the question is very different,” Chambers continues. “If streaming enables you to update content quickly and regularly and get access to
older games, then it becomes a different financial problem. It might be considered a good option because developing new games is expensive and if you can get people to buy old ones or update existing ones then that makes money.

“On the other hand, it might be considered a disadvantage because people might not buy new games so much. There are always going to be people that want to play new games. It’s hard to say if something like a wide reaching streaming service would be an advantage or a disadvantage, because there are so many types of games and so many people that want to play them.”

But there’s one thing to always keep in mind, however: “The playing of good games is the most important thing, no matter how you access them,” says Chambers. “I know what I do to access games, and I can safely assume that what I do to access them in five years is going to be different. All I hope is that the way I access themdoesn't result in any detriment to the game, be that through the business model or anything else.”