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Steamboy project wants to turn Valve's Steam Machine into a handheld

Tom Morgan
17 Jun 2014
Steamboy handheld
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A handheld version of Valve's upcoming Steam Machine hardware is in the works, although don't it expect to play new releases

Valve's Steam Machine concept, due to arrive in 2015, was imagined as a Linux-based PC/console hybrid that would sit under a TV to bring PC gaming into the living room. Now one company is looking to take those games on the move, introducing the Steamboy handheld concept on the last day of E3.

The Steamboy project team showed off a concept video to cooincide with the world's largest gaming show, revealing a handheld device that looks like a cross between Valve's Steam Controller prototype and a Sony PlayStation Vita. According to The Escapist, the proposed hardware will include a quad-core processor, 4GB of RAM, a 32GB memory card for storage and a 5in, 16:9 touchscreen display. That means it should cope with a large number of the games available from the Steam catalogue, although brand new releases are unlikely to run smoothly.

"SteamBoy won't be as powerful as other announced Steam Machines in the same way [the] Nintendo 3DS or PS Vita performance is not comparable to Wii U or PlayStation 4," a Steamboy representative told the gaming site. "However, it will be possible to play the majority of current games in Steam."

Despite not having cutting edge hardware to play the latest games, the Steamboy could feasibly stream gameplay from a more powerful desktop PC using Steam's integrated in-home streaming function - giving it similar abilities to the Nvidia Shield Android-powered handheld.

A teaser video posted to coincide with the launch revealed the device, which has two touch pads, eight action buttons, four triggers and two additional rear buttons, matching the layout found on Valve's own Steam controller.

We're still waiting for further details, and will be particularly interested to learn how big a battery the Steamboy team manages to squeeze inside the handheld. Sony's PS Vita has graphics potential to rival the PlayStation 3 at times, but can only manage around 5-6 hours on a single charge. If the Steamboy handheld is going to play PC games, we would want it to at least last a similar amount of time between charges.

The Steamboy team expects to make more details available in the coming months, but the hardware itself is unlikely to launch until 2015.

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