I don’t usually get excited about hardware announcements. I don’t chase after the latest phones, I have no intention of purchasing any smartwatch, and I am happy using the PS3 (for now). Every couple years I upgrade my PC, usually when something breaks or it’s become too slow. Steam however managed to get me so excited that I am pondering a pre-order. And I don’t do pre-orders ever!
Since the arrival of the PS3 in my household, I find it difficult to actually play games at my computer. When I come home from work, I don’t want to sit at a desk again, I want to lounge in comfort. The only game I am currently playing on my PC is Pharaoh, and that only occasionally, since I made a mistake in the last map and really hate starting over. However, my pool of PS3 games is very small. Last week I got really frustrated in Darksiders, and didn’t really have any alternatives to play. I do however have many many alternatives on my PC. My Steam Library.
My PC and the TV are in the same room, and so of course I have the option of having an HDMI cable lying across the room and buying a wireless controller to use Steam’s Big Picture functionality. But really, I wouldn’t want that cable lying around all the time, and crawling around under my desk everytime I want to play is not my idea of relaxing fun. Another option would be if I had an older PC I could set up next to the TV, to use Steam’s In-Home Streaming. We streamed a game to my SO’s laptop once, but when I tried streaming something beefier, like Tomb Raider, it pretty much didn’t work. Not sure why that would be, maybe our wifi doesn’t support the streaming. In any case I don’t have an older computer I could set up for streaming.
This last week, Valve announced two hardware releases that pretty much will solve my woes in November: the Steam Link and the Steam Controller. The Steam Link is a small streaming box you can connect to a TV and which will then stream content you have on any computer running Steam in your home network. The Steam Controller looks like a hybrid between mouse and controller, and I have to say, seeing it used in the trailer is inspiring.
It pretty much solves my current issues (as long as there’s the necessary throughput). I want both pieces of hardware. Well played, oh mighty overlord of my PC gaming experience.
Of course it’s Steam, which means European buyers get punished again. In the past, Steam used a 1:1 pricing scheme for selling PC games. Game cost 4.99 USD, it would cost 4.99 EUR, even though that was quite a bit more money converted. Now that USD and EUR are pretty much even, they’re not even bothering anymore. The Steam Link and Controller are both priced at 49.99 USD.
At the current conversion rate, that means we’re currently paying around 62 USD per item. Just a slight difference, eh? But who am I fooling, I am going to buy both of those puppies. The only question is: why is November so far away?