Valve's GDC 2015 loot bag: Steam Link, SteamVR, Source 2

It's GDC time again and PC gamers are in for a treat. As expected, Valve is making a big splash but it has more than just virtual reality in mind. To push the PC gaming industry even further, Valve is announcing the availability of the Source 2 engine, which any content creator can get their hands on. It has also disclosed a new hardware product called Steam Link for streaming any and all Steam content. Of course, there's also the SteamVR platform and, surprise surprise, Steam Machines.

This week is a feast for game developers. Both Epic and Unity have announced the free availability of their popular game engines, giving even small studios and indie developers a chance to craft the next big hit. Now Valve is doing the same for its own engine. Source 2 follows from the popular Source engine that powered Valve's games like Half-Life 2, Portal, and Counter Strike. But Valve says that these days, games aren't just made in the closed room of studios but even in the bedrooms of gamers. User-generated content is becoming prevalent, which is why Valve will be making Source 2 free for all content developers, professional or otherwise. Details about this free option will most likely arrive in the days to come.

Valve is definitely stepping into the gaming hardware market. While its Steam Machines have you to take on flesh and blood form, or wires and metal rather, it is coming out with something relatively simpler. Steam Link is an inconspicuous box that does one thing and one thing alone. It lets you stream Steam content, whether they be games, music, or videos from any PC or steam machine within the same home network. Steam already has same network streaming to some extent, so this new product is a bit of a surprise. But Steam Link promises 1080p 60 Hz quality with low latency when you buy it for $49.99 in November.

Speaking of Steam Machines, Valve definitely hasn't given up on them and apparently neither have some of its partners. Alienware, who went ahead with a non-Steam OS Alpha box, as well as Falcon Northwest are showcasing their Steam Machine versions at GDC. The latter, in particular, is running Epic's Unreal Tournament in gorgeous 4K. That last part makes us curious about the innards of these Steam Machines, as Valve's initial reference specs favored Intel's graphics chips but later on did support AMD and NVIDIA.

And finally, we got to Valve's most eccentric venture yet: virtual reality. More than just headsets, one of which will be made by HTC, Valve is also providing a full platform, including an input system. Valve's Lighthouse is a room scale tracker that is cheap and small enough to be added to TVs, monitors, headsets, or input devices. Specifics of Lighthouse as well as Valve's VR plans will also be coming soon.

VIA: SteamDB