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Valve unveils Steam Link, provides updates on Machines, VR and Controller

By Scorpus
Mar 4, 2015
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  1. Alongside the announcement of the Source 2 game engine, Valve has unveiled a new piece of streaming hardware called the Steam Link. For just $49.99, the Steam Link will stream games from a PC or Steam Machine in your house to a TV via local network connectivity.

    The Steam Link will support gaming at 1080p 60 Hz with low latency, basically acting as a low-power Steam In-Home Streaming client. While the hardware won't run games by itself, it will allow you to game away from your standard PC gaming setup, which could be perfect for on-the-couch multiplayer sessions.

    You'll be able to pick up a Steam Link in November as either a standalone unit, or bundled with a Steam Controller for an additional $49.99. Valve didn't explicitly mention what the Controller will cost when it's not bundled with a Steam Link, though it will probably end up being around the $50 mark.

    Valve also took the time to provide some updates on several of their other ongoing hardware projects. Steam Machines will finally become available in November, and "will start at the same price point as game consoles, with higher performance". Hardware from Alienware and Falcon Northwest is being shown off at GDC 2015, though we can expect a dozen other partners to launch products at the end of this year.

    HTC has already announced the Vive, a virtual reality headset developed in conjunction with Valve. Alongside the first VR headset from the company, Valve is also launching Lighthouse, a room-scale tracking system that helps deliver a high-quality VR experience. 

    Valve's Alan Yates states that "Lighthouse gives us the ability to do [high-speed tracking] for an arbitrary number of targets at a low enough BOM cost that it can be incorporated into TVs, monitors, headsets, input devices, or mobile devices." Lighthouse's technology will be available to interested hardware manufacturers for free.

    As part of the SteamVR platform, Valve will also be releasing a VR input system. It's not completely clear what this system will include, though Valve's Joe Ludwig says "The work on the Steam Controller gave us the base to build upon, so now we have touch and motion as integrated parts of the PC gaming experience."

    Developer versions of the Vive headset will be available in spring 2015, while consumer versions will ship by the end of the year.

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