Just before NVIDIA unveiled its Shield microconsole, Valve unveiled some cheaper, much simpler hardware: Steam Link.
Steam Machines are for the audience who wants an alternative to consoles, while the Steam Link is more like a bonus device for a hardcore PC gamer.
Steam Link will connect across your home network to your Windows PC, Mac, Linux box or Steam Machine and stream games from your Steam client to this device with 1080p, 60Hz gaming at “low latency,” according to Valve.
The Steam Link will hit in November alongside the official Steam Machines, and debut at $49.99. The device has two USB ports, an ethernet port, and an HDMI port. The device is intended to be extremely simple to use. Valve says that once it’s connected to your home network, it’ll automatically seek out computers running Steam on the network.
This is a fairly simple device that makes an equally simple promise. While streaming games across the Internet can double or triple the latency you’d normally experience, gaming within your own network adds just a few milliseconds to the whole process, making this a feasible way to introduce couch gaming into a network that already hosts one or more sturdy gaming PCs.
Some questions still remain, though. Will I be able to plug in a USB hub for four-player local cooperative gaming? What controllers will be compatible – just Steam controllers, maybe Xbox, or will users be able to get Logitech and even PlayStation controllers working?
We’ll likely find out more closer to the device’s November release.
If you were hoping for the other kind of Steam Link, I found this picture on DeviantArt for you: