If you were wondering why we haven't heard much about Valve's Steam Machine living room gaming PCs for a while, it seems there may be a good reason for that: Windows 10.
When the first Steam Machine was revealed in 2013, there was plenty of buzz around Valve's plans to launch console-style PCs focused on gaming, and some speculated that they might even become a serious competitor to Xbox and PlayStation. But Valve delayed the launch of the first Steam Machines until 2015, to work on improving its Steam Controller, and it wasn't until last November that Alienware launched its version. Benchmarks showing that gaming performance on Valve's SteamOS was far from remarkable did little to boost the appeal of the platform.
In an interview with PC Gamer, Alienware co-founder and general manager Frank Azor noted that there was a considerable shift in the market between Valve's original Steam Machine announcement, and when the devices were finally ready to go on sale - and things have changed even more since then.
"I think the landscape two years ago was very different to what it is today," Azor said, adding:
The catalyst for the Steam Machine initiative was really around what Microsoft’s decisions were with Windows 8, and if you remember that operating system, it really stepped away from gamers in a big way. We were concerned as an industry that we were going to lose PC gamers on the Windows platform to any other platform that was out there, whether it was console, Mac OS X, Android.
"We had to take matters into our own hands," he continued, "because we couldn’t rely on Microsoft. So we did that, and we started pursuing the path that we did." But Valve's delayed launch gave Microsoft time to reassess its approach to gaming, and it did so in a big way with its latest OS.
"Valve ran into some delays with the controller, and while that was occurring, Windows 10 was being released,” Azor explained. "I think Microsoft learned a very valuable lesson – a lot of valuable lessons – with Windows 8 and tried to correct those with Windows 10. It’s more gamer focused, I would say. Every subsequent release has focused on gamers. Although their execution isn’t perfect, it’s definitely improved compared to Windows 8.”
Microsoft's renewed focus on the gaming experience appears to have made Valve's proposition far less relevant today - at least as far as Azor is concerned.
"I think the need right now, for Steam Machines and for SteamOS, isn’t as great as it was two years ago," he said, "and that’s contributed to the reason why the momentum has faded. We still offer SteamOS and the Steam Machine platform with the new version of the Alpha – the new Steam Machine R2 – and we still sell hundreds of units, thousands of units every month. But it’s not a major initiative for us like it was two years ago because it’s not necessary right now. We’re in a good place with Windows."
Source: PC Gamer