The Steam Machines have begun arriving. Valve's beta program for the SteamOS-centric living room consoles has selected and contacted its 300 beta testers and shipped the consoles. The first ones arrived this weekend, and the unboxing videos and photos have already begun surfacing all over the Internet.
Following yesterday's promise, gamers who don't mind things a bit gritty can now head over to SteamDB and download the release of SteamOS. As anticipated, the release is a beta offering, and because of the operating system's Linux underpinning, it is recommended only those who are familiar with the OS opt to download. The download comes in at 960MB, and is currently unavailable due to traffic load.
Gamers that have been waiting to get their hands on the new gaming OS from Valve called SteamOS will be able to get their hands on the software this week. Valve has announced the first version of SteamOS will land Friday. Along with the announcement of the SteamOS launching, Valve has also announced some details on its prototype Steam Machines and Steam controller.
Just weeks before the release of the PlayStation 4 we're taking the time to dive in with the most important piece of equipment outside the console itself: the DualShock 4. This handheld wireless (or wired) device is made by Sony itself, returning to the market to re-claim the throne as the highest-quality controller on the planet. What we're doing this week is testing the device as it functions outside of the PlayStation 4 gaming console itself.
If you're a fan of 3-D animation a company called Mixamo has announced that it's launching a new universal expendable character creator software designed to make 3-D modeling and texturing accessible for everyone. The software is called Fuse and allows users to browse, resize, customize, and combine various body parts. The software is available now via Steam.
Valve may be pushing its SteamOS platform for gaming-centric Steam machines, but the company won't be trying to "artificially" drive sales by making upcoming titles like much-anticipated Half-Life 3 exclusives. "That would go against our whole philosophy, to launch something that’s exclusive to SteamOS or Steam Machines" Valve's Anna Sweet confirmed to IGN when questioned about the possibility of future games being limited to the customized PCs. "Whenever we talk to third-party partners, we encourage them to put their games in as many places as possible, including not on our platforms."
This afternoon the folks at Valve have let it be known that they're rolling in with a cool 65 million users total for the Steam gaming network. This number can be compared to the most recent report from Sony on the PlayStation Network working with 110 million users and Microsoft reporting that they're in at 48 million users in Xbox Live. These numbers are not the same as "active users", a number which is much more difficult to grasp.
This week the folks at NVIDIA have put three of history's biggest names in gaming development on stage together, and one of the key questions put to them right off the bat stuck in Valve's SteamOS. John D Carmack, co-founder of id Software and CTO at Oculus VR (with the Oculus Rift), Tim Sweeney, founder of Epic Games, and Johan Andersson, Technical Director of Frostbite at EA DICE have spoke up on how they perceive not only Valve's newest push for Steam Machines and SteamOS, but in the original release of Steam as well - back when each of their gaming companies had to react to it in the first place.
This week the folks at NVIDIA have suggested that their developer program GameWorks will not be limited to the likes of Linux and Android - not by any stretch of the imagination. NVIDIA made clear that not only would they be extending GameWorks support - developer tools for games, that is - for Ubuntu environments, but for SteamOS as well. In other words - those gaming developers hoping to optimize their games for Steam Machines with NVIDIA GeForce GTX graphics cards will be able to do so.
There's a team of creators out in the wild this week showing off a pair of augmented reality / virtual reality glasses called castAR, a pair of glasses that's set to make Star Wars a reality. The inspiration for this wearable piece of technology comes directly from the first Star Wars movie, A New Hope, in a scene where the droids are playing a 3D chess game with Chewbacca. In this scene, the pieces for the chess game, (called a Djarik hologame, for you hardcore nerds), are standing projected above the board in 3D - this inspiration pushed the creators of castAR to make a pair of glasses that uses a mix of augmented reality and projection to make a whole new environment for the user.