Valve's Steam Machines to hit gamers' hands in November

The much-anticipated consoles will be accompanied by a Steam Controller and Steam Link, which will stream content among devices on the same network.

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A prototype Steam Controller. Valve designed the device to mimic PC gaming play styles, allowing players to maneuver in-game as they would using a mouse and keyboard. Josh Miller/CNET

Valve Software's much-anticipated range of Steam Machine gaming hardware will finally hit shelves in the fall, the video game developer announced Tuesday.

The console-style devices, which were originally discussed in 2013, will officially launch in November, along with a Steam Controller and Steam Link, which allows users to stream content among PCs and Steam Machines on the same network. Taking advantage of Steam's gaming operating system SteamOS, which allows PCs, Macs and Linux PCs to be transformed into a gaming rig, the trio of products represent the first credible gaming alternative to the console juggernauts.

Valve, which owns and operates the popular online game marketplace Steam, has been notably silent this past year regarding its Steam plans. After months of anticipation and rumors, the company unveiled SteamOS in September 2013 with the goal of expanding PC gaming beyond the confines of a mouse and keyboard.

To do that, it designed the Linux-based OS and its own custom controller and partnered with numerous gaming PC makers like AlienWare and CyberPowerPC to create dedicated living room hardware. Yet, after it shipped 300 prototype Steam Machines to beta testers, in May the company pushed back the release dates for its Steam hardware and controller by a year. Valve also declined to host a second Steam-focused developer conference, the first of which took place in January 2014, and decided not to make a showing at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Both costing $50, the two products will be unveiled at this week's Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, along with a virtual reality system called SteamVR. The Seattle-based company also said it is "actively seeking VR content creators" and asking developers to sign up to try the system at GDC.

"We continue to see very strong growth in PC Gaming, with Steam growing 50 percent in the last 12 months," Gabe Newell, Valve's president, said in a statement. "With these announcements we hope that we are helping build on that momentum."