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Rumor: Steam Machines Launching At GDC 2015

Is Valve finally wrapping up the development of its Steam Controller and SteamOS? That seems to be the case according to the latest rumor, which stems from an official comment from Valve Software that the company does not plan to host a developer conference this year. Why? Because the company isn't revealing new technology in 2015.

"This year our focus will be a bit different, so we are planning a larger than usual presence at GDC," a Valve representative told Gamasutra. "So, there will not be a Steam Dev Days this year, but we will certainly consider doing it again in the future."

That's where the rumor regarding the Steam Controller and SteamOS kick in. An unnamed source has informed Not Operator that Valve plans to launch the completed Steam Controller and operating system during GDC 2015 this March. The peripheral has been finalized, according to the source, and SteamOS will be brought out of beta. PC builders will also supposedly have solutions ready to launch.

We reported on the Steam Controller back in December, as an image of a new design surfaced in a beta build of the Steam client. The controller featured two touch pads, an analog stick on the left, and the four ABXY button setup on the right. The device also sported two buttons on the sides labeled "LG" and "RG," two shoulder buttons, two trigger buttons, and Stop and Play media buttons. The left touchpad included a four-point directional guide.

The Steam Machine topic has been a hot one for years now, and it escalated during CES 2013 when Xi3 was believed to be making a Steam Machine solution. A year later at CES 2014, we learned that a number of PC vendors were making Steam Machines, some of which we have seen go retail in 2014 without the Steam Machine designation. These vendors included Alienware, iBuyPower, Gigabyte and a number of others.

So what's the holdup? The Steam Machine Controller. According to Valve software, vendors can't ship a Steam Machine without it. These solutions will also rely on SteamOS, which last we heard is still in beta and not ready for prime-time consumption. Valve's platform, based on Linux, promises to enable better game performance due to the lack of all the junk that runs in the background of a Windows-based machine.

We already know that there will be a huge range of Steam Machines at launch. Some will hit the $499 price point, while some vendors will throw in more hardware meat that will require a higher price tag. The goal is to push the non-open-source consoles by Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo out of the living room. We already know that PC gaming is the way to go, but whether console junkies will ditch their favorite gaming machines and bite into the Steam Machine initiative remains to be seen.

So for now, take the GDC 2015 launch as mere rumor until Valve Software announces otherwise. Still, there's a good chance that the March launch is the real deal. We're hoping that, anyway.

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