[UPDATE: In this article I previously called the VR headset by Valve “Lighthouse.” I was wrong. That is the project name of the room tracking software. From the press release: “Two new technologies are part of the VR release – a room scale tracking system codenamed Lighthouse, and a VR input system. “In order to have a high quality VR experience, you need high resolution, high speed tracking,” said Valve’s Alan Yates. “Lighthouse gives us the ability to do this for an arbitrary number of targets at a low enough BOM cost that it can be incorporated into TVs, monitors, headsets, input devices, or mobile devices.” Valve intends to make Lighthouse freely available to any hardware manufacturers interested in the technology.” I apologize for this error.]
After many months of silence on the issue, Valve has finally given us some concrete answers on the Valve Steam Machine release date at GDC.
According to several sources, Valve revealed at GDC 2015 that the Steam Machines will arrive in November next to not only a Steam controller, but also a new product called the Steam Link.
Steam Link is a device that will allow for game streaming from a PC or Steam Machine to your TV at 1080p/60HZ. According to the Steam Link product page, “Steam Link is designed to take advantage of the PC horsepower you already have in your home, with In-Home Streaming. If you have a gaming PC and a fast home network, Steam Link may be the right choice for your living room.” From the sounds of it, it’s a way of turning a gaming PC into a de facto Steam Machine so you can play on your TV without having to move the computer, etc. The Steam Link will be available for $50 this November.
What about the real thing, though? The Steam Machine, at the lowest price point, will be around $350-400, according to Valve, and it will be more powerful than both the Xbox One and PS4. Other Steam Machines will also be shown at GDC 2015 from the product partners Alienware and Falcon Northwest.
Also at GDC is Valve’s own virtual reality headset, which is planned to also be available to consumers by “the end of the year”. Also factored into the mix is a room tracking software project code named Lighthouse. “Now that we have Lighthouse, we have an important piece of the puzle for tackling VR input devices,” said Valve’s Joe Ludwig in the press release. “The work on the Steam Controller gave us the base to build upon, so now we have touch and motion as integrated parts of the PC gaming experience.”