Sneak Peek at NVIDIA-Powered Steam Machines at CES

by Brian Burke

You’ll hear more soon about our booth here at CES, but we can’t wait to share with you some details about the new kind of gaming machine we’re building with Valve.

The Steam Machines we’re showing from Alienware and CyberPowerPC are creating massive buzz. And five more machines — from Digital Storm, Falcon NorthWest, IBUYPOWER, Scan Computers and Zotac – are on display at Valve’s booth at the show.

They’re pretty, alright. But they aren’t designed for booth duty. Named for Valve’s Steam game distribution service, they’re built to slide snugly into your living room.

At their heart, these systems let you blaze through games that would ordinarily live on a desk-bound PC from your living room couch.

One of the most amazing things Valve has done with these is to reinvent the game controller. Their form factor and novel, touch-based pads make it possible to support the huge variety of games you can already get on Steam.

And we think it will make new kinds of game experiences possible.

But there’s more to the story, as well.

The Steam Machine is an open platform built around Steam’s Linux-based SteamOS operating system. And we’ve been working closely with Valve to help them build this new generation of entertainment machines.

Engineers from both companies have been working together to help improve driver performance for OpenGL; optimize performance on NVIDIA GPUs; port Valve’s award-winning content library to SteamOS; and tune SteamOS so that there’s lower latency, or lag, between the controller and onscreen action.

Since SteamOS is based upon Linux, Steam Machines will use our industry-leading Linux drivers and unmatched OpenGL performance.

To be sure, Valve has asked us not to fire these things up and let gamers play with them, yet. But they’re very real.

They’ve indicated that you’ll see this year multiple SteamOS machines, made by different manufacturers. So take a look, and tell us which one best matches your drawing room’s décor.