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 (RM702)

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.

Buy the Couchmaster Pro here

Roccat Sova (RM640)

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 £100.

Take a closer look at the Roccat Sova here

TP-Link Powerline Starter Kit (RM209)

Even if you're not planning on buying a Steam Link to stream games in your home, a Powerline connection is essential. 

You might not realise it but data transfer speeds, and reliability, on a Wi-Fi connection are pretty naff when compared to what wired Ethernet has to offer. When streaming HD games from one part of the home to another, the stability and speed of wired is a must, but most people understandably don't fancy boring holes into their walls. 

Enter, stage right, Powerline. These adapters create a wired network using your home's power circuit. Simply plug them into wall sockets, then connect each to your chosen devices using Ethernet cables, et voila! You've just created your very own wired network with minimal fuss.

Buy the TP-Link Powerline Starter Kit here

Curse (free)

Whether you're playing Black Ops 3 or Team Fortress 2, you're going to want to chat with your mates while fragging away.

Curse is a VOIP system already used by millions of gamers. It's free, reliable, and setting up group chats on it is an absolute breeze. 

Here we've suggested the iOS client, as a SteamOS version is unconfirmed as of yet, but there is also a desktop client for PCs which lets you know exactly what your circle of friends is playing. 

Download Curse here

Razer Mamba (RM639)

Gone are the days when wireless mice were laggy and generally frowned upon in gaming circles. The Razer Mamba promises an ‘almost zero latency’ experience, coupled with luxuriant ergonomic comfort. A 1ms repsonse time, 16,000 DPI laser sensor, silly flashing lights, and high-quality ‘Razer build’ make this a must-have for those unwilling to abandon a keyboard and mouse.

Buy Razer Mamba here