Valve Not Releasing a Steam Machine... for Now

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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  • chumly
    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.
  • Jgriff
    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.
  • 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.