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Valve Not Releasing a Steam Machine... for Now

By , video by Alex Davies - Source: Rock Paper Shotgun | B 11 comments

Valve could release a Steam Machine, but not anytime soon.

Gabe Newell Talks Steam Machines

Valve Software's Gabe Newell confirmed Monday night during the Steam Machines event that the company has no current plans to release its own Steam Machine despite the 300 prototypes shipped off to testers. He indicated that Valve hasn't positioned itself as a "console" maker; that's what the Steam Machine partners are for. Thus consumers will have a variety of options rather than a single hardware set that becomes obsolete in several years.

"We're going to continue to make that decision [about releasing our own Steam Machine] as we go along," Newell said when asked about a commercial release date for Valve's prototype. "We have plans to build more machines, but we also expect that users will be really happy with the range of offerings from these hardware manufacturers."

"We really view our role in this as enabling. So we'll do whatever is going to be helpful to other hardware manufacturers – whether that's with controller design or something specifically tied to boxes," he continued. "It's very much about how we can collaborate with the chip-makers and the system integrators. What's the most useful thing for us to do? Part of the reason for holding events like this is to get feedback from them about what are the next problems they'd like us to take on."

In a separate interview with Rock, Paper, Shotgun, SteamOS/Steam Machine designer Kassidy Berger echoed Newell, revealing that Valve is obviously a newbie in the hardware world, and has no plans to compete with the heavy hitters. However, just as Microsoft decided to launch Surface tablets despite what partner OEMs were doing, Valve may one day take the same path.

"Right now we're not planning to bring the prototype to market," she explained. "It doesn't mean we never will, but right now we're really working with third-party hardware to build their own Steam Machines. We think they know their customers and they know hardware better than us right now."

According to Berger, the main audience in the first year of Steam Machines will be the developers wanting to bring their library to the living room. Unfortunately, there's no real way for them to do that really well right now. However, having a consistent operating system helps; they have something to target. Berger also mentioned a review system that will show how a specific title will perform on possible configurations.

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  • 0 Hide
    chumly , January 8, 2014 4:29 PM
    The biggest problem they are going to face with these Steam Machines is marketing. None of these brands are household names with the exception of Alienware.Honestly, I think this is a big win for the little guy, and independents everywhere. The benefit of the Steam box vs. the traditional console is easy to see: The prices are wherever your budget is, you aren't pigeonholed into bad graphics so they can make an affordable machine, likewise, you can go smaller. The game selection is immense, and you could play A-list games completely for free, if you wanted to. Not to mention, the gamer community is huge.I'm really excited to see how all of this plays out this year.
  • 0 Hide
    Jgriff , January 8, 2014 6:12 PM
    I really do believe steam should take on the consoles and make steam a semi closed Eco system, just support processors i5 and up and gtx 6 series and up. They could further optimize with a smaller pool of hardware. And plus, amd has their stuff in all 3 consoles, and they have no mini itx boards for their high end chips, leave them out.
  • 0 Hide
    deadmeow , January 8, 2014 7:57 PM
    Leave AMD out? haha, what an intel fan boiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii The Atari 2600 still has and will always have more people buying games for it than a silly steam box.
  • 0 Hide
    rulejunior , January 8, 2014 9:41 PM
    Truthfully, I am a bit disappointed in the fact Valve won't be manufacturing the boxes themselves, but I can see why. The hype over them is huge, but they run into the fact they may not sell well (which is always a possibility) and that could be a loss for them. Now if I am correct, they contracted it out to the 13 developers because 1) if they don't sell well, then they won't be losing large amounts of cash, and 2) If I am correct, they will be receiving a royalty on each one sold since this is based off their general design. Also, they need to get AMD drivers out for Steam OS. Really interested in dual booting it.
  • 1 Hide
    Jgriff , January 9, 2014 3:15 AM
    @deadmeow after 3 amd CPUs fail on you in an unacceptable amount of time I'm sure you would be too. Tho they were laptop processors, still...makes no difference to me. They have some quality issues in my eyes.
  • 0 Hide
    damianrobertjones , January 9, 2014 3:17 AM
    Clever... Let other FOOLS run the risk for them.
  • 0 Hide
    back_by_demand , January 9, 2014 5:18 AM
    Get SteamOS to run 100% of the games catalogue, or as a bare minimum all current and future AAA titles and it may take off. Restrict what a gamer can play, then as a gaming platform it is not fit for purpose.
  • 1 Hide
    WithoutWeakness , January 9, 2014 7:34 AM
    @back_by_demand: So, by your logic, nobody would ever buy an Xbox because Xbox has a restricted library of AAA games and can't play The Last of Us or Uncharted. And nobody would buy a PlayStation because they would miss out on Halo and Gears of War. And neither of them play any Nintendo titles like The Legend of Zelda franchise or any PC games like DOTA or ARMA so I guess nobody is buying any consoles until there is one machine that can play everything. Gamers will never buy anything that has restrictions on what they can do with it.
  • 0 Hide
    JD88 , January 9, 2014 8:13 AM
    Quote:
    Get SteamOS to run 100% of the games catalogue, or as a bare minimum all current and future AAA titles and it may take off. Restrict what a gamer can play, then as a gaming platform it is not fit for purpose.


    They would need Microsoft proprietary software in order to make that work. This is open source and thankfully won't have anything to do with Microsoft whatsoever. This is a huge plus in the long run, even if it means a smaller library at first.

    As to why Valve isn't building their own is the same reason why Microsoft didn't build it's own hardware until recently and why Google doesn't build it's own phones and tablets (other companies still make Nexus devices). Leaving hardware to multiple OEMs is a much better way to achieve widespread distribution and adoption.
  • 0 Hide
    JD88 , January 9, 2014 8:23 AM
    Quote:
    I really do believe steam should take on the consoles and make steam a semi closed Eco system, just support processors i5 and up and gtx 6 series and up. They could further optimize with a smaller pool of hardware. And plus, amd has their stuff in all 3 consoles, and they have no mini itx boards for their high end chips, leave them out.


    Quote:
    Leave AMD out?


    The interesting thing will be that it will be up to AMD and Nvidia as to which one wants to do better in the Steam Box market. The one who provides the best Linux driver support and thus best performance will likely be used most often. Valve has no control over this since it's a completely open platform. I have to say though, Nvidia has a sizable lead currently in this area so it would make more sense to use them until AMD catches up.
  • 0 Hide
    LePhuronn , January 9, 2014 1:42 PM
    AMD better get SteamOS drivers sorted out soon because I got me plans for a Kaveri A10 tied to my Titan rig!Overall I still don't really see the point beyond geek novelty, and the Linux-compatible library is still pretty weak, but I'll keep my eyes and mind open. Could be interesting, could be a total bust.But I do want a cute little Steam Box for the crack of it ;-)