Previously, we wrote about the Steam Machines beating the pants off the PS4 and Xbox One in the specs and pricing department, but it was all theoretical. Now we have actual confirmation from OEM provider iBuyPower, who has announced that their first Steam Machine will be available for only $499.
The Verge caught wind of the new pricing scheme of iBuyPower's Steam Machine, which recently had its home-console-style case revealed, accompanied by a couple of screenshots that you can view right here.
Anyway, iBuyPower announced that their Steam Machine, due out in early 2014 and bundled with the first iteration of the SteamOS, will be available for only $499. Yes, the exact same price as the Xbox One, but far more powerful.
In fact, the Steam Machine will come bundled with AMD's latest R9 270, where-as the Xbox One's GPU performance is closer to a 7790, according to Tom's Hardware. That's not to mention the R9 270 comes with boosted clock speeds, super fast 2GB of GDDR5 VRAM and enough shader processors to make most games weep. What's sad is that for the same price, the Steam Machine is already far faster than the Xbox One as far as graphics processing, memory access and performance goes.
The Steam Machine from iBuyPower will come with a 500GB hard drive, Wi-Fi support, Bluetooth support and Valve's patented Steam Controller. Of course, it'll also come bundled with Valve's SteamOS.
One of the big worries about the Steam Machines is whether or not the platform will have enough support. But let's consider that any game already made for Linux (or being made for Linux, or adding Linux support) works with SteamOS, since SteamOS is basically a repackaged Linux designed to look and run like a game console OS. In addition to this, you can also stream any of your Windows-based games from your PC onto your Steam Machine, or run emulation software for older titles.
That's not to mention that AMD's Mantle is designed to make the most use out of a GPU that doesn't require native DirectX or Windows API support.
What's more is that all that touting of “TV on your TV” from the Xbox One is now rendered useless in the face of the Steam Machine. Why? Because you can stream whatever you want on a Steam Machine just like you can from PC – legal or otherwise.
Even more than that, you won't have to pay an annual subscription just to access streaming apps. All of the Xbox One's media services are locked behind the Xbox Live Gold paywall, where-in with the Steam Machine, you can load up or load-in whatever you want whenever you want, just the same as you do with your average desktop PC.
Honestly, I have to ask: Why would any non-fanboy want an Xbox One at $500 when you're paying for more and getting significantly less? AMD's R9 2xx line was designed to run games up to 4K resolutions, where-as the Xbox One can barely handle last-gen games at 720p. While reasons such as Kinect or voice control might come into the argument, the reality is that you can purchase and hook up the original Kinect to your PC and get apps to do the same thing that the Xbox One does, for free.
The only thing the OEM vendors need to worry about is marketing their Steam Machines so that people actually know they exist. The only thing Valve needs to worry about is making sure the SteamOS isn't a glitchy mess at launch. If those two things are accomplished, maybe more than Microsoft should be looking over their shoulder at a serious competitor in the home console market.