Valve has announced that the Steam Machines and Steam Controller are now available for pre-order in limited supplies. For those who pre-order the system and controller will be eligible for receiving the units earlier than the November release, allowing those who pre-order to receive the items on October 16th.
Over on the Steam Hardware page Valve has announced the pricing for various products, including the Steam Controller, which carries a $49.99 price tag and the Steam Link, the set top box that allows you to stream Steam games from your desktop from anywhere in the house, which is also available for $49.99. To celebrate these announcements Valve released a promo trailer for the Steam Controller that you can check out below.
The Steam Controller was always appealing to me and that trailer really makes it look even more must-have than before. I'm glad Valve also nailed the point home that the right touchpad can be used in replacement of what you would usually use the mouse for and that the controller works with every game and has the option to be modified and customized to fit your play-style.
I'm also really curious to feel how the haptic feedback sensors work with the controller and if there will be feedback responses in traditional PC games where they didn't have rumble features built into the core game.
Additionally, Valve promoted two of the many Steam Machines on their website as devices that are available for pre-order. Only the Alienware and Syber editions of the Steam Machine are up right now. The Alienware Steam Machine is surprisingly cheap, going for only $449.99. Don't expect gaming at 4K resolutions on the Alienware system, though. While it does sport an Nvidia GTX GPU with 2GB of GDDR5 video memory, they don't specify the grand of GTX GPU that you get and for $449.99 you can bet your bottom dollar it's not anything even close to the high-end 9xx brand.
The other Steam Machine up for pre-order, the Syber, carries the $499.99 price tag. It definitely looks sleeker than the Alienware machine and features customizable parts with an option for including an Nvidia GPU up to a GTX 980. The one thing to keep in mind is that the graphics card it comes with is likely not that high up but the fact you can fully upgrade the hardware to support Nvidia's top-end card is well worth noting.
Over on the Syber Gaming website the Steam Machine with the GTX 980 and up to 16GB of RAM goes for $1419.99. The one on the lowest end of the spectrum, the $499 unit only has 4GB of RAM and a GTX 750 with 1GB of VRAM. Yeah... it's very low-end. In the middle is an 8GB unit with a GTX 960 for $729. I have to admit, that's a really rocking price for the unit and what you get.
Of course, if you already have a capable PC you don't have to upgrade or get a Steam Machine at all to enjoy the benefits of SteamOS or the Steam Controller. If you are shopping for a new PC and you're looking for something compact like a home console, a Steam Machine may not be a bad way to go for living room couch gaming. The devices will go live this November and pre-ordered units will begin shipping in mid October.