A new Steam Machines prototype emerges, from iBuyPower

Valve want to revolutionise the living room box industry, and plan to do so with their newest invention: the grey box . It will be competing with other leaders of box manufacturing, notably the wonky black box and the '80s tribute box . It will also be competing with alternate versions of itself, with any living room based PC console running SteamOS becoming, in effect, a third-party grey box, or "Steam Machine". Gaming PC manufacturer iBuyPower has revealed their own Steam Machine prototype, and are hoping to capture a slice of a market with their particular design: a grey box with a light strip cutting through its middle, so as to resemble a plastic neon sandwich.

As reported by Engadget , the iBuyPower Steam Machine is planned for an early 2014 launch, and that - while it is running SteamOS - it's still some ways off being a finished build.

The Verge , meanwhile, got some idea of the specs. The demoed box was carrying a multicore AMD CPU, and used a AMD Radeon R9 270. The full package will be bundled with the Steam Controller, and will cost around $500. It will offer Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and a 500GB hard drive as standard, be larger than the PS4, and smaller than the Xbox One. Then again, some Alsations are smaller than an Xbox One.

This is only the first of what is sure to be a slew of Steam Machine announcements, covering various specs and price points. That's one of the benefits to Valve's acceptance of third-party variation: there's bound to be a model that fits your needs. Just how well their OS can compliment those needs will, for now, remain an open question.

Phil Savage

Phil has been writing for PC Gamer for nearly a decade, starting out as a freelance writer covering everything from free games to MMOs. He eventually joined full-time as a news writer, before moving to the magazine to review immersive sims, RPGs and Hitman games. Now he leads PC Gamer's UK team, but still sometimes finds the time to write about his ongoing obsessions with Destiny 2, GTA Online and Apex Legends. When he's not levelling up battle passes, he's checking out the latest tactics game or dipping back into Guild Wars 2. He's largely responsible for the whole Tub Geralt thing, but still isn't sorry.