The Premise. The Steam Box platform is gearing up to offer top-of-the-line PC gaming experiences in the living room with set up and convenience similar to that of your standard gaming console. One of the apparent strengths of the Steam Box/Steam Machines platform is its flexibility – there are already at least a dozen proposed models, each offering different components, different designs, tailored to fit any budget, any gamer’s requirements, and any entertainment center.
The Product. The Nano Vapor looks to hit the low end of two of those. The Vapor is designed to be small and convenient, both to set up and to purchase. Though it looks small, it’s packing serious heat under the hood currently operating with a 3.8 GHz quad-core processor, a Radeon 7750 graphics card, and plenty of RAM and storage. Any USB controller is expected to be supported, whether it’s an Xbox 360, PS3, or Steam Controller, or a good old keyboard and mouse.
The Pitch. The campaign is asking for a mere $5,000 (The company needs only 10 system pre-orders to move forward with production?) The campaign is designed to help the company pay for the system’s cooling units and to 3D print the prototype cases, in addition to funding the designers’ hunger for pizza as well as innovation. The price point of the Nano Vapor is expected to go up as they the device moves closer to production, so early adopters are getting in on a discount. There are no marketing materials yet aside from an early render of what the system looks like – a router with lots of vents.
The Perks. The project creators are keeping it simple. The $499 tier is both the highest reward tier and the lowest tier that offers a Nano Vapor at this time. Included in the cost is an HDMI cable to connect it to a TV, but no controller for the system.
The Potential. For the price, this is a solid, competitively priced performance option for gamers looking to get a Steam Box without paying full gaming PC prices. While it seems pretty commonplace to imagine seeing it on shelves of electronic, gaming, and department stores, it’s not without competition. Not only are there going to be scores of SteamBox models, but companies like CyberpowerPC and iBuyPower have announced models with similar power, and size at identical price point. The Nano Vapor could take off, but the company will have to figure out a way to stand out from the crowd, and really ought to try and bundle some kind of controller to compete.