The Good The Alienware Steam Machine brings Valve's Steam OS concept to life at an affordable price. It has a larger launch library than any living room console and it includes the unique new Steam Controller.
The Bad Steam OS is locked out of a vast majority of the Steam game library, including nearly every hot new PC game. The controller has a deep learning curve, and will never be the best choice for some games. The more capable Windows version of this hardware costs the same or less.
The Bottom Line There are many ways to put PC games on a living room TV, and the Alienware Steam Machine is one of the most ambitious. Like all new console launches, there are rocky patches, but the biggest hurdle may be proving why Steam OS is a better choice than Windows.
A new gaming console with the heart of a PC
While we've been playing with Alienware's Steam Machine hardware with Valve's Steam OS operating system and Steam Controller for some time now, the final product has only just been deemed ready for sale to the public, after numerous updates to the system software and firmware.
The premise, as first pitched nearly two years ago, is promising: What if you could buy a new type of gaming console that had the guts of a PC, a pre-established library of 1,000 games, a tried-and-true interface already beloved by hard-core gamers and an innovative new controller, and have it all cost less than $500?
If anyone could pull an idea like that off, it would certainly be Valve, the PC gaming company behind the popular Steam online game store for Windows and Mac, as well as hit game series such as Portal, Left 4 Dead and Half-Life.
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