Back in 2014, the concept of the Steam Machine seemed like a great idea for some people: a powerful, console-like machine built with PC components which could play thousands of games in the comfort of your living room.
The reality proved to be quite different though, and in the end the Steam Machines failed to take off for a myriad of reasons. Amongst these was the fact that there were many makes and models of Steam Machines in the pipeline, some boasting state of the art components from renowned vendors like Alienware, while more modestly-specced models were available from lesser-known brands too.
This helped create confusion amongst console gamers used to no more than two variants of the same machine (the PS4 and PS4 Pro for instance), while PC vets wondered (and rightly so) what all the fuss was about when they could just build a budget media / gaming PC with off-the-shelf components, and connect it to their living room TV if they so wished.
Also, Steam Machines were designed to be upgradeable, but not as much as PCs are, something that did not make them so appealing to hardcore PC gamers and which drew traditional console players (who shy away from upgrading their gaming hardware) away. These machines also ran their own proprietary OS (dubbed the “SteamOS”) which sadly wasn’t compatible with much of Steam’s huge game library. Another problem with the Steam Machine is that Valve never really understood whether the thing should be marketed and sold as a console or a living room PC, and its cause suffered greatly as a result.
Read more: 5 Reasons Why the Steam Machine Will Fail
Plus, Valve itself made it hard for the Steam Machine to succeed with their own Steam Link device. This is a streaming device which lets you play Steam games in the living room, and it’s definitely way cheaper (and simpler) than getting a Steam Machine ever was.
It’s no surprise then, that Valve recently removed the Steam Machines section from the Steam platform as reported on PC Gamer, less than three years after their launch in November 2015, an acknowledgement on the part of the US corporation that this is an idea that never really took off.
Nonetheless, will we see some variant of the Steam Machine hit shelves at some point in the future? This remains to be seen, but for the time being it seems Valve won’t be competing much with Sony or Nintendo in the living room, even if there’s still hope that the US company may come up with a new idea for a “Steam console” that manages to offer something new and succeeds where the Steam Machine failed.
Steam Machine (Alienware Corporation)