As we’ve noted, again and again, the big strength of the Steam Machine is that it’s not an exclusive console. Any company can make one, albeit not all with Valve’s approval. And boy, are they ever turning them out.
The Consumer Electronics Show is going to play host to at least a dozen Steam Machines. And there might be more in the works beyond that. But here, for now, are the companies making Steam Machines:
Thus far, the only third parties we know of that’re making Steam Machines are iBuyPower and Digital Storm — today, that all changes. Alienware, Falcon Northwest, iBuyPower, CyberPowerPC, Origin PC, Gigabyte, Materiel.net, Webhallen, Alternate, Next, Zotac and Scan Computers are among the first companies signed on to support Valve’s initiative, Engadget learned this afternoon. The entire lineup will be on display this week at CES 2014, and we’ll have many more details in the coming days.
Word about individual machines is leaking as we speak: CyberPowerPC’s, for example, will be priced along the lines of an Xbox One, while iBuyPower’s Steam Machine starts at a gobsmacking $1900. It’s safe to assume that each of these brands will be putting out machines more or less in line with their general price ranges; expect Alienware’s to be expensive and Zotac to possibly beat CyberPowerPC’s price.
Mostly we’ll be curious about the low end, because that’s where the real money is to be made. If prices are even with consoles, and these can run console-grade graphics, the whole gaming industry is about to get very, very interesting.