Ultimate Setup: Steam Machine

Ensure that your PC games' first foray into the living room happens in style

The time has come - Valve's long-anticipated steam machines have finally landed and are bringing the platform's vast library of games to living rooms around the world. 

While we weren't entirely sold by the melting pot of PC playables and console control that the Steam Machine has to offer, we still believe the platform has promise. Valve houses some of the greatest minds in the industry and we'd be very surprised if its efforts to conquer the console market end here.

We also know that there's a huge contingent of PC gamers sick of being relegated to the study, and giddy with anticipation about their transition to a more communal space. As such, here is our list of must-have list items for anyone entering a brave new world of Civilization on the couch.

Couchmaster Pro

Not everyone has been convinced by the Steam Machine's newfangled controller. Especially in online gaming, there are times when the precision and responsiveness of a mouse and keyboard are totally non-negotiable: you're not going to climb that DOTA 2 ladder with a gamepad of any sort. 

This means that a large amount of players will be seeking a practical method of bringing their mouse and keyboard into the living room. The Couchmaster Pro is probably the best setup they're going to get. Not only does it provide the stable, flat surface of a desk, but the side supports act as arm rests, just like a computer chair.

The central bridge features a USB hub for mouse, keyboard and whatever other peripherals you fancy hooking up to your new Steam Machine, and if you lift off its lid, it houses built-in storage space for all those unsightly cables and assorted thingymajigs. Nifty.


Roccat Sova

The Couchmaster Pro is a little ostentatious and bulky for more minimalist living rooms. The Sova, on the other hand, offers a more compact solution to the ‘sofa + keyboard’ equation.

This all-in-one setup is a keyboard, mousemat, USB hub and thigh-warmer (not advertised as such, but we’re hoping so) that brings the desk to your lap in one refined-looking slab.

One tiny snag is that the Roccat Sova won’t go on sale until early 2016, at which point it will be made available in both wireless and wired editions for around US$150.

Steam Link

If you can't afford to spend hundreds of pounds on a Steam Machine or you intend your new piece of kit to live somewhere other than the living room, then Steam Link is just the ticket.

This slender box streams Steam games from any computer on the local network to your television, much like PlayStation Now but within the confines of your home library. It costs the pitiful sum of US$50 and comes with only one proviso - a wired connection is required. But maybe the next entry can lend you a hand with that little problem....