The Steam+ console is a home video game console developed by Valve Corporation and Novascopic Digital Networks. It was unveiled in April 2013 and was later released worldwide on June 2, 2014, currently competing with the Nintendo's Wii U and Switch, Sony's PlayStation 4, and Microsoft's Xbox One S. More than 129.76 million units were sold in America, surpassing former Wii’s 101 million sales in 2009. A handheld equivalent, the Steam Portable, was released on July 13, 2015.
The launch of the Steam+ console marks the first time Valve has stepped into home consumer electronics. Additionally, the Steam name is also shared with Valve’s software distribution system, which has also began carrying some of Steam+ titles.
The Steam+ Controller, unofficially called the Miracle Worker by fans, bears striking resemblance to that of the Xbox and Nintendo Switch Pro Controllers. The controller features features the following buttons:
- two shoulder buttons (L1/R1)
- two triggers (L2/R2)
- two analog sticks
- a D-pad.
- four digital actions buttons (A,B,X,Y)
- a Home button mapped with the Steam logo
- a Start button on the left of the Home button
- and an Options button on the right of the Home button
The right face of the controller features four digital actions buttons (A,B,X,Y), while the lower right houses the right analog stick, the D-pad in the lower left, and the left analog stick on the left face. The home button is on the upper middle face, with the Start and Option buttons on each side. There are several input and output connectors, including a stereo headset/earphone jack (3.5 mm CTIA TRRS connector), a micro-USB port, and an extra port for extensions.
Main article: Steam+ system software
The Steam+ user interface features games already inserted into the console, apps, and downloaded games in circle-based icons. On the bottom is a tab featuring buttons accessing news from the online Steam service, settings, power options, customization, and shop access. The console can hold up to 10 user profiles, which can be identified by given icons and a user ID or gaming account. the time and date are displayed on the top of the screen, along with the user ID.
Alongside the Steam software distribution service, Steam+ features online multiplayer, downloading and purchasing games via the shop, an online lobby service, and voice chat. Access to online lobby and voice chat services must be purchased with a subscription to Steam. In addition, a Steam+ headset must be utilized for voice chat to operate.
All major streaming services, including Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video, are available for download on the store. VRV was added to Steam+ on July 11, 2016. Steam+ will begin releasing popular live-action programs, animated series, and Japanese anime under its Steam+ Video app, in partnership with Crunchyroll and Funimation. The app is expected to roll out in early 2018.
Games and applications specifically designed and developed for the system are released under the SteamWare banner, which can be downloaded via the shop. Retail copies of Steam+ games are stored on DVD-type discs in which are packaged in keep cases with instructions. At the initial launch, retail games costed $50, which was later lowered to $30-35, as it would be cheaper in comparison to Xbox and PlayStation 4 games, which usually cost $60 at retail price.
At its initial unveiling, over 100 third-party titles from 60 developers and publishers were announced for the system, including the following:
- console versions of Valve's Portal and Portal 2 games
- Jet Car Racers (a recreated version of the original Jet Car Stunts by True Axis)
- Soccer Smash, a soccer simulation series produced in partnership with Next Level Games and EA Sports
- Battle Crushers, a fighting game based on the 2014 animated series of the same name
- a pending console version of Minecraft
- upcoming Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi games
- an untitled series of puzzle-platforming games