Well, almost. The self-proclaimed PC master race still looks on at the console battle with great disdain. "Our glorious gaming machines are already far more powerful" they cry. "The next-gen consoles are already outdated" they'll tell you. "Join us" they'll chant…
The thing is, they're not wrong. Both on paper and on-screen, a PC that's marginally higher in price than the Xbox One will walk over both consoles, pumping out shinier graphics at higher resolutions. Sounds good, right?
The trouble is, many mainstream console gamers see PCs as big, loud, scary machines which only veteran geeks with soldering irons are able to put together and use.
In essence, though, the PS4 and Xbox One are PCs themselves. Processors, RAM, graphics cards, floating points, power supply – they have the whole lot.
Despite that though, the confusion around PC gaming remains – but Valve hopes to rectify the situation with its upcoming Steam Machine and Steam OS. And here's how…
What exactly is a Steam Machine?
A Steam Machine is a PC with components that meet Valve's minimal performance requirements to run Steam OS – Valve's open source Linux-based operating system that's designed and optimised for gaming.
In essence, there's nothing separating a Steam Machine from a regular PC; you could install Windows on it if you wanted to and still access Valve's packed games library on the excellent Steam store. Valve has already released an update which optimises Steam for the big screen, and Steam OS will take this experience much further.
The only thing that makes a Steam Machine a Steam Machine, then, is the sticker of approval that Valve slaps on it – indicating that it meets their minimum requirements.
While those exact requirements remain a mystery, Valve has released the specs of various low, mid and high-range Steam Machines, which it will send out to 300 lucky beta testers.
The full specs below feature processors and graphics cards which vary in power, and the price and performance differences between them can be massive.
The least powerful graphics card – the GTX 660 – will set you back RM816 and is a close equivalent to the graphics cards found within the next-gen consoles.
Compare that to the Nvidia GTX Titan with its RM3,926 price tag and ability to play games at above-full HD resolutions on multiple monitors, and you begin to get an idea of the degree of variation and power that PC gaming (and therefore, Steam Machines) have to offer.
Unlike the PS4 and Xbox One, Steam Machines will vary in appearance, as manufacturers will naturally imbue their machines with their own design preferences.
Valve's own reference Steam Machine lacks an optical drive, for example, but there's nothing stopping another manufacturer from installing an optical drive into its own Steam Machine, or swapping out a hard drive for a faster SSD.
Valve will even release CAD files for its Steam Machine cases, just in case you want to make your own from scratch.
UPDATE: Valve has spoken with Forbes and has confirmed that AMD and Intel will also be providing graphics hardware for Steam Machines next year.
Update 26/11/13: iBuyPower has revealed a prototype of its very own steam machine. The white rectangular device comes complete with an ominous red glow (though the colour is cusotmisable) and sits between the size of a PS4 and an Xbox One.
Specs-wise it offers a multicore AMD CPU and a dedicated AMD Radeon R9270 graphics card (which is worth US$180 (RM580) on its own), along with a 500GB hard drive and Steam OS pre-installed. All that for US$500 (RM1610).
The lack of Windows means that you'll be limited to Linux-compatible games only, but there's no reason why you couldn't install it yourself for full compatibility with all PC games.
The Steam Controller
Valve's new controller is a mix between a traditional console gamepad and a laptop trackpad.
It has two large clickable circular trackpads which Valve believes offers greater fidelity than traditional joysticks. There's also a clickable touchscreen nestled in the centre which can also display actions and additional controls.
With 16 buttons in total, as well as the ability to reconfigure controls (useful for lefties), the open sourced hackable controller has certainly sparked our curiosity, and compatibility with existing Windows PCs is a plus too.
UPDATE: Valve has released a video showing the Steam controller in action, with first person shooters and a real time strategy game being used to demonstrate the level of control offered by both trackpads.
The Steam Machine could, at some point, also support virtual reality hardware similar to that of the Oculus Rift headset pictured above.
While it sounds like a rumour fuelled by the wishful thinking of gamers, Valve itself has fanned the flames by announcing that it will show off a prototype of what it thinks affordable virtual reality hardware will be capable of at its Developer Days conference next January
Two virtual reality sessions called "What VR Could, Should, and Almost Certainly Will Be within Two Years" and "Virtual Reality and Steam" have been scheduled for the conference, which strongly suggests that virtual reality is, at the very least an area which Valve is dipping its toes in, if it hasn't already changed into its trunks and jumped in behind closed doors already.
Valve also stated that it will demonstrate Steam VR overlay software alongside its prototype, as well as specific changes to the Steam store to accommodate the new VR interface.
Will the Steam Machine launch with a VR headset? It's too early to say, but it's definitely more than just wishful thinking at this stage. We guess the Oculus Rift will have to keep us buys until we find out more info next year.
Price and release date
Valve is a notoriously secretive company (just try asking them when Half-Life 3 will be out), and it's keeping its lips tightly sealed regarding release dates and prices for the various Steam Machines. We'll be updating this preview with new information as and when we get it, so stay tuned.