SteamBoy Project Raises Chance Of A Mobile Steam Machine

👤by Tim Harmer Comments 📅16.06.2014 21:23:55

After an eager welcome last year Valve's Steam Machine concept is just starting to encounter some choppy waters; manufacturers cannot sit on hardware indefinitely and some, most notably Alienware, are releasing their own Steam Machine hardware with Windows 8.1 as the primary OS. Partially down to continuing delays with the Steam Controller and the extended SteamOS beta, it's understandable that a 'living room PC console' without a dedicated controller would be a hard sell. However new players are getting on board with innovative designs taking advantage of ever improving low power x86 SoCs, and the most novel one thus far has to be a project dubbed the SteamBoy.

The SteamBoy Project is to design and create a sort of handheld console, but with a fully fledged Steam Machine under the hood. Unlike NVIDIA's SHIELD it appears that the system will have to be based around an x86 architecture in order to run titles natively, whilst also potentially operating as a streaming device over home networks or highspeed mobile internet (i.e. 4G etc.). The team behind the project categorically state that they have no affiliation with Valve though, so the question of whether it is backed by someone with the necessary experience to make it more than a (Steam)pipe-dream has to be raised. Still, cool idea, no question.

As conceived and outlined in the concept art the SteamBoy is quite similar to the Sony PSP/Playstation Vita game console, complete with 5" high resolution touch-screen and front-mounted controls. Unlike Sony's designs however it makes use of Steam Controller-esq haptic touch-pads and a series of buttons dotted around the chassis that mirrors that of Valve's controller prototype, keeping it consistent with the lead platform. Technical specs are thin on the ground right now; a Quad-Core CPU, 4GB RAM, 32GB on-board storage and a 5" 16:9 widescreen touchscreen are all listed but no more.

Unfortunately a lot still needs to be done to prove that there is anything more here than some fancy design drawings. Hardware is just starting to come online which could conceivably play most Steam titles - VR-Zone raises Broadwell SoCs as potential platforms as shown by the 'Llama Mountain' ultrathin designs - but you're probably asking too much if you expect demanding first person shooters to be the backbone of titles for this device. Even so there's a massive array of other genres available on Steam, from platformers through to sprite-based RPGs, which would be an ideal fit for the SteamBoy as things stand.

Don't expect a SteamBoy Machine to be on sale this side of 2015, and that name will no doubt be changed to one that doesn't tread on too many trademarks. For now however it has our interest.

Source: The Escapist, VR-Zone

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