Valve, the makers of games like Half-Life, Portal and Left 4 Dead, and the creators of the Steam gaming downloading service, is now officially launching into a new era. The company is now shipping its Steam Machine devices, including its Steam Controller, Steam Link and a series of SteamOS-based PCs that are designed to be an alternative for playing PC games in the living room.
The $49.99 Steam Controller is a PC gamepad that replaces the normal analog sticks with trackpads that offer haptic feedback to play games. The $99.99 Steam Link allows users to stream content from their Steam library of games on their regular Windows PC to a big screen TV in another room.
Valve has also created a Linux-based operating system, SteamOS, that is being used inside PCs made by third-parties. That include's Dell's Alienware division, which is launching the first SteamOS Steam Machine today, both online and in GameStop stores. Steam Machines are supposed to be designed so they can be used in a living room, like a regular game console, but they play games that work with Valve's SteamOS rather than Windows. Zotac and Cyber are also selling their own Steam Machines.