Why Valve Isn’t Releasing Its Own Steam Machine… For Now

By Nathan Grayson on January 8th, 2014 at 3:00 pm.

And poof, just like that, there were a hundred-billion Steam Machines. Or, well, maybe not quite that many, but a lot – ranging in price from reasonable to WHAT HOW YOU HAVE TO BE JOKING. But while Valve’s CES catwalk was littered with sparkling boxes from every manufacturer under the sun, one was missing: Valve’s own. It was powering demos off in the background, but it received no spotlight during our brief peek inside Gabe Newell’s magical toy factory. Why, you ask? Well, because Valve has no plans to ever release it. At least, for the time being. Many figured a standard Valve system spec would give PC gaming a lower barrier to entry, but that’s not how the digital juggernaut sees its role in all of this. 

Gabe Newell himself set the tone for the night when he shot down a random journo’s release date query. (Yes, someone asked Valve for a release date. Look, it’s just– I know, I know. As a PHD in Valve Time Studies, I’m the last person you need to explain this to. Just roll with it for now.)

Right now we’re not planning to bring the prototype to market.

“We’re going to continue to make that decision [about releasing our own Steam Machine] as we go along,” Newell said. “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.”

“I mean, we’ve made 300 [of them], which is very tiny stuff. You know, we’ll make what we need to. 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. 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.”

SteamOS/Steam Machine designer Kassidy Gerber echoed Newell’s sentiment in an interview with RPS, explaining why Valve’s keeping clear of the giant Steam Box boxing match: because it doesn’t really know what it’s doing.

“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.”

While Valve’s open door hardware policy is admirable – especially in light of Microsoft, Sony, and even Apple’s hyper-proprietary efforts – it does take some wind out of Steam Machines’ sails. A centralized system spec (presumably in addition to all the others offered by Valve’s third-party partners) could offer developers something to shoot for. It probably wouldn’t be the highest of the high-end, but a functional, convenient mid-range experience would suffice for many developers who struggle with optimization or players who fear complexity. For now, however, that’s simply not Valve’s goal.

“In the first year of Steam Machines, our main audience is people telling us they want to bring their Steam library into the living room,” Gerber noted. “Right now, there’s no way for people to really do that well.”

“The consistent OS helps,” she added. “That at least gives developers a consistent target in some ways. And then we think there will be a place for reviews on how various hardware configs work for various games. [Some kind of feature] where, when you go and look for a Steam Machine, you’ll have an idea of how certain games will perform on possible configs.”

Between that, choosing a box in the first place, and the fact that the grand majority of Steam games still aren’t Linux compatible (necessitating Windows streaming from a separate machine), the initial batch of Steam Machines have quite an uphill battle ahead of them. But instead of knee-sliding onto center stage and praying for the best, Valve has decided to lurk in the background.

Over-cautious? Perhaps not. Honestly, it’s kind of an ideal position when you think about it. Hardware manufacturers and early adopters will hash things out, and then Valve will make its next move once the dust settles. That’s the rub of it, really: Valve doesn’t seem to know where Steam Machines are headed, but it’s not panicking or attempting to force a course. Its plan? To go with the flow, whether that means eventually releasing a Steam Machine of its own or sticking to its role as the software-based tie that binds.

“The machines are very connected, so we’ll be able to harness community for a lot of that,” said Gerber. “We’ll be able to figure out which things are best for price, performance, and the way it works in the living room. We’ll always be listening to our customers and giving them what they want.”

“We definitely have some challenges ahead of us,” she confessed. “And really, that’s a big part of why we’re putting out these prototypes, getting feedback from people, and giving ourselves a date to put Steam Machines in the hands of our customers.”

Success isn’t guaranteed by any means, and I personally am still more than a bit uncertain. But it’s better than loading down your box with a million and one “features” nobody ever asked for. Valve has unleashed a veritable tornado-swarm of canaries into this coal mine, and it won’t venture down itself until it’s good and ready. A cautious approach, to be sure, but perhaps a wise one. Or maybe the “boss-free” brain tank’s failure to really lead the charge will result in a confused, inconsistent battle strategy that leaves everybody on the losing team.

It’s impossible to say at this point. But then, this is Valve we’re talking about. Patient to a fault and nearly impossible to dissuade once it’s set its collective yet hyper-fragmented mind to something. The rise of the Steam Machine is upon us. But will it establish the next great living room empire, or will it crumble as countless moving parts pull in every conceivable direction? Who knows?

Behind each door, another question.

Check back soon for more SteamOS and Steam Machine coverage from Valve’s big event. Still to come, we have Valve trying valiantly to make a case for why someone like you or me would even want a pre-made Steam Machine when we can, you know, just use our PCs. We also have a lengthy SteamOS interview (including a brief Half-Life discussion) and a chat in which Valve defends its haphazard approach to communication during incidents like Diretide despite its plan to rely on community interaction to shape SteamOS’ future. 

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63 Comments »

  1. Didden says:

    This is going to be an interesting experiment. PC’s are definitely shrinking, but I’ve still not seen a great example yet, and I’m getting a whole sort of mid 80′s PC vibe from the variety and quality of different setups we’re seeing. The controller looks awful.

  2. Brosepholis says:

    They’re not doing it because it’s expensive and risky, and they would have to hire a machinist (possibly even more than one).

    They’ve successfully dumped all the risk on the gaggle of boutique PC companies that have actually built Steam Machines, so why would they bring unnecessary risk and expense on themselves by building their own one?

  3. Harold Finch says:

    Valve should have partnered with one manufacturer, shared the risk and sold the machines for zero profit (maybe even a slight loss). As it is there are going to be a lot of products out there which make no financial sense to buy.

    • Didden says:

      That has definitely been a good model for Google on their phones / tablets.

      • Slazer says:

        I think the chance for abuse is too high here.

        If they sell at a loss, what would stop me from saving money by buying their machine and using it as a Windows desktop?

        • Riley Lungmus says:

          Why is that problematic?

          So long as you use Steam, and continue to support the platform that they’ve created, I’m pretty much positive that Valve couldn’t care less how you use their machines.

          Perhaps even that just buying one at all would be enough. Windows is just as Steam compatible as their own Steam OS — I even use Big Picture on Win7 sometimes.

    • InternetBatman says:

      If they wanted to subsidize the price of the machine while making sure it wasn’t used for workstations / cheap super-computers, they could have a $100 steambux code with every steambox.

      That way Valve is only taking at most a loss of 70% of whatever they offer, and they’re tying more people into the steam store.

  4. newguy2012 says:

    Really hard to see the point of this. Its a pc with a controller? Why would core gamers buy this? Maybe they hope to catch some of the console players?

    • Premium User Badge

      bills6693 says:

      I’ve always thought, its probably aimed not at ‘core gamers’ i.e. people who build their own PCs. Its aimed at-

      1) The people who buy pre-built PCs already, or who get someone else to build them a PC. Not everyone knows how or has the confidence to build their own PC, knows what a good motherboard is for these components and if a XV3895 is better than a MW5834 graphics card – for me at least its just random numbers and letters for most of these comonenets, and a higher number doesn’t necessarily mean better!

      2) The people who run on low-end machines currently and kind of overlap with group 1. Those who want a cheap box with good enough hardware – the essensial part being low price and hassle free. For example the lower-range ‘steam machines’ unveiled for about £300 or just over. Thats pretty cheap, the specs are decent enough (i5 processor, ok video card). I can tell you that its better than the laptop I game on currently (i3, intel HD graphics 3000).

      So no, the market isn’t people who build their own machines because you have total freedom to build the kind you want and the know-how to make it work. Its aimed at those who DON’T build their own PCs but do want to game on PC, and I think that is a good market to go for.

      • Volcanu says:

        Where I struggle is that for only a little bit more these people could buy another ‘box’ entirely optimised for games, with superior gaming performance and an idiot proof interface (i.e. a PS4).

        I cant see how any hardware manufacturer can offer consumers only wanting to spend £300-400 a level of performance on a par with the big consoles and still make a profit. Valve could potentially take the (up front) hit and sell a box at cost and gamble on recouping the investment through all the software sold on Steam – but thats clearly a risk and one they seem unwilling to take.

        As it stands, these steam boxes look too pricey versus a console without offering the additional benefits that a dedicated PC would offer. I just dont see it working.

        • Obc says:

          exactly.

          also those people who dont know how to build there own pc, will probably also have troubles installing windows on it just to be able to open office or play most games, things you can already do on a “normal” pc.

          so why buy this when you can buy something that is equivalent to it and offers much more games, can be used for stuff other than games and is about in the same price range.

          the only pro i can think of is that people who have NO clue about PCs AND also don’t know anyone who can advice them at all, will most likely have a well optimised and built pc (because of valve standards). but still, the cons outweigh the pros by laaaaaarge.

        • Shuck says:

          “Where I struggle is that for only a little bit more these people could buy another ‘box’ entirely optimised for games”
          Even worse, the Playstation is going to cost a bit (or more than a bit) less than the equivalent Steambox, since the hardware prices are subsidized. If Valve were releasing their own boxes, they could plausibly subsidize the hardware costs to their own advantage, but they’re not. So the Steambox faces an uphill battle in that it’s trying to convince people to buy a living room PC that happens to run a minority operating system on it, and thus relatively few games. They vary widely in power, so they’re either dumb terminals for streaming games from another (Windows) machine, or they’re fully powered game machines ready for any AAA game (or mid-range machines for running some games). As a developer, is this ambiguous situation going to convince me that it’s worth developing for Linux if I wasn’t already so inclined? I think not likely. So it’s the same Catch-22 that Linux was in previously as a game platform.

        • Premium User Badge

          phuzz says:

          I’ve built a lot of PCs and I couldn’t tell you right now what is a good graphics card to get, they’re just strings of numbers and letters to me too.

          (When it’s time to buy I go off and do some research first. Understanding the terminology eg PCIe etc is really all you need).

        • Premium User Badge

          bills6693 says:

          In regards to consoles, I for one don’t think thats a good option if you want to play anything other than first-person/third person games. For me at least, I play almost exclusivly strategy, sims, and indie games of various breeds. You can’t play Wargame or Civ on a console, you can play CoD and Battlefield and Ryse. No thank you, I may not be able to build a PC but I don’t think I’ll ever get a console.

      • newguy2012 says:

        I am kind of one of those people myself, all of my pcs are pre-built. I can run a pc fine and I know the different components and what they do, but I cannot assemble one. Still do not see the appeal of these, when a console is better and all the games for it is designed for that specific system.

    • Koozer says:

      I’ll be much more excited when they start doing the PC/TV steambox streaming shenanigans.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        Yuppers. Seeing as how only a small amount of titles are currently available for Linux, the streaming function is what’s going to make or break the Steambox’s success in the short-term.

    • Premium User Badge

      cpt_freakout says:

      I’m certainly not gonna buy a Steambox, because I can just do it myself, but what actually does attract me is the controller. I’ve always had a console at home, but the new ones don’t really excite me as much as they used to, and I see a much better future in PC gaming. I would love to play all my games on a TV without the hassle the KB+M combo implies when trying to get comfortable on most couches, and the Steam controller solves that, as well as being perfect to combine with a gamepad for co-op games and stuff like that. With that in mind, I think the target audience is really, really wide. There’s probably some people who are only excited about a SteamOS, and so on, so I think they’re kind of praying n’ spraying into the market.

  5. jealouspirate says:

    As you mention in the article, I think this is a smart move for Valve. They get to experiment with this idea and their own OS while 3rd party manufacturers are the ones saddled with the majority of the risk. Which is quite a lot of risk, given what we’ve heard so far about Steam Machines. I’m not sure there’s an audience for this.

  6. XhomeB says:

    Ah, so this is the plan – “we’re utterly cluless at this point, have no vision whatsoever, the first batch of SteamBoxes has been created solely with the intention of testing the waters and getting an idea of what we should actually do with these things”.
    That’s great for Valve I suppose, but it pretty much means whoever decides to get a Steam Machine will simply be treated as a guinea pig, and he’ll have to pay for it. Doesn’t that send the message along the lines of: “don’t bother, it’s not a proper product yet, no point in wasting your money”?

    • Premium User Badge

      bills6693 says:

      As with every early adopter ever, no? Take things like the iPad 1, where the early adopters pay a high price and a year or two later a much better version comes along based on the feedback from those early adopters, and a bit after that an even better one comes along. Those early adopters paid just as high a price for an inferior product than if they waited a year or two – but they were the ‘first’.

      Early adopters are a market in themselves, wanting to be at the forefront of technology and with the money to back it up normally. They will generally get the short end of the stick in the long run, but they get the fancy new things while we wait patiently for a better version – presumably valve’s own version plus 3rd party second or third iterations, to come along.

  7. Moraven says:

    Did they not fire half of their hardware designers?

    My concern is to have setting some standards on what makes a PC a SteamBox. Only allow 3-4 tiers that benchmark they must meet.

    Right now all they are is a PC in HTPC cases…maybe with better cooling?

    • Ich Will says:

      I think being shipped with SteamOS installed and the Steam pad is the standard, what else do you want?

  8. Zhiroc says:

    It would be just WAY too expensive for Valve to gear up manufacturing, and more importantly, support, for a single h/w platform. And partnering too directly would damage their relationships with other vendors. Right now, when the concept still needs a lot of tuning in all probability, having a number of vendors experimenting and having a diverse marketplace to see how it fits with consumers is potentially the best solution. But if it falls flat, then that’s when Valve will be able to/have to step in directly.

  9. fencenswitschen says:

    I appreciate Valves effort to emphasize the use of PCs in console environment. An Out-of-the-box solution is nice, especially for new users.

    However, the PC is versatile enough already to make it usable in the living room with no hassle. I run my PC at my 50+ inch TV over HDMI at 1920×1080 with remote keyboard/mouse. Perfect setup for me, not only for games.

    Are there others running such a setup? Dedicated SteamBoxes seem to me quite redundant – Steam OS will be nice though. I only cling to windows because it still has the highest compatability rate yet.

  10. DizzyCriminal says:

    This is where they’re dropping the ball. They NEED to start with a standard for this to work. It helps developers who are interested in SteamOS, and it helps the consumers get to grips with the new platform.

    Without that standard they’re just creating a new arm of the PC market with a less stable, less functional and less well supported OS.
    I’ve got a comment on the controller article that expands on this but decided against pasting it here.

    • XhomeB says:

      My thoughts exactly. Some kind of standardisation, even at this point, should be their priority. Flooding the market with billions of SteamBox variations doesn’t help anyone, it only scares everyone away. The PC market is fragmented enough already.

      • Obc says:

        i agree, i thought that was the whole point of it. 4-6 different steam boxes at max with increasing quality and price and everyone can choose which one they prefer or can afford and they get a well built pc and the few different models will allow developers to better optimize whatever they create for it.

    • DanMan says:

      As opposed to the, say, the TV market where you also have hundreds if not thousands of different TVs to choose from, right?

      PCs games have always been scalable. That’s why there are graphics options. If you then also consider that every PC has either an AMD, Nvidia or Intel graphics chip in them, which all have unified drivers IIRC, then where’s that huge hardware fragmentation? On the software side we have Direct3D and OpenGL, with the latter getting more and more traction (again) because of mobile devices.

      That leaves all the other APIs you have to address like for sound and inputs, but that’s exactly what SteamOS (and SDL) is trying to get a grip on. A fixed environment you can build on/towards.

      • XhomeB says:

        Except the quality of the signal doesn’t depend on the TV you happen to buy…

    • C0llic says:

      It worked for android. I’m not saying the two are directly relatable, but theres no reason why these things aren’t going to exist on the periphery for a while. This isn’t a huge hardware launch sold at a loss. The steam box doesn’t need to succeed or fail in a year or even two years from now. I expect these to be around for a long time, and that the enthusiast market will be enough to keep them present as something talked about.

      After that, theres a good chance they could gain some traction as the new console gen loses its shine. We’ll see though. Steam OS and steam boxes are now a thing – that alone is quite exciting. If valve are good at one thing it’s playing the long game. That’s exactly what this is.

      • dorn says:

        Android is a completely emulated environment. It’s not something that will work with performance intensive games.

    • xaphoo says:

      I agree completely. Valve’s a rudderless ship.

  11. bangalores says:

    Honestly would have preferred only valve produce one standard model, then just let people replace the components to their liking…The thing hasn’t even been released yet and it’s already suffering from over-saturation.

  12. joa says:

    The main problem with this is the use of Linux. The Linux model of programming is not compatible with performant games, because of the way memory and various things are working. The separation of the operating system into components and modules (which is necessary due to open source collaboration) adds too much overhead, as these components and modules must communicate. In Windows, the closed source nature means that everything can be the same module, and be better integrated and much faster.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I don’t quite understand, wouldn’t that mean that linux had greater overhead, and wouldn’t that mean that linux would have greater system requirements?

    • Pliqu3011 says:

      You’re the first person I’ve ever heard saying that.
      Do you have a source for this overhead in Linux?

    • mukuste says:

      Disclaimer: all of the above is utter bullshit.

      It’s not even congruent with performance numbers we’ve seen, Linux ports of games have mostly performed about on par with their Windows versions, barring bad drivers etc.

      • InternetBatman says:

        I am interested to see Steam OS performance compared to a standard linux distro. I hear they changed some of the basic xorg stuff to make it more game oriented.

        • mukuste says:

          phoronix.com did a series of benchmarks a couple of weeks back, you can trawl the archives if you like (or use Google). The short story was that the changes to Linux didn’t really have much of a noticeable positive effect on performance thus far.

    • C0llic says:

      This is frankly the biggest load of misinformed nonsence I’ve read in a long time. Linux has far less overhead than Windows, and can be heavily customised and stripped down as required. By definition it tends to be less resource hungry, and a stripped down Steam OS is no different whatsoever from a typical Console operating system.

      The big challenge is getting more games on linux; it’s never been making linux perform as well as windows, since comparable versions of native nix games tend to be easily on a par or noticably faster than their windows counterparts.

    • Archangel says:

      And how. You only needed to notice the word “performant” to know that the comment was a crock.

      Valve’s tests with L4D2 show it actually running faster under Linux than Windows 7, mostly due to OpenGL.

  13. Sathure says:

    My prediction at with the currently shown “Steam Machines” there isn’t going to be enough market penetration for Steam OS to pick up much “Steam”.. Without that I can’t see many developers going out of there way to target a still relatively minute and unexistant Linux Market.

    The current Steam Machines are priced and built to target PC gamers. That’s exactly who isn’t the target for a Steam Machine. They need a lower price point to appeal to a broader audience. Consoles are typically subsidized. Valve or one of the SteamBox Manufacturers may need to do this in order for this to go anywhere. However Valve is the only one who would have incentive to do this as it’s their ecosystem they’re trying to expand. With them unwilling to do that I don’t see much of a future here.

  14. Junkenstein says:

    “The consistent OS helps,” she added. “That at least gives developers a consistent target in some ways. ”

    Erm, like Windows?

    “And then we think there will be a place for reviews on how various hardware configs work for various games. [Some kind of feature] where, when you go and look for a Steam Machine, you’ll have an idea of how certain games will perform on possible configs.”

    Erm, like every PC review ever?

    I dunno, looks like Steam Box isn’t anything like what anyone thought it was meant to be. It’s literally just a ‘new’ form factor. The only way it would have worked is if it was standardised to, at most, 3 tiers.

    • HadToLogin says:

      Because most people wrongly assumed SteamBoxes are for hardcore-PC players, while they obviously from start were made for console players who always wanted to play Skyrim with mods (or buy Humble Bundles), but “you must buy new GPU for $500 every month :(“.

      They COULD be useful for hardcore PC players if Valve would announce weakest SteamBox – then we’d know what would be standard for years to come. But since they said “SteamBox is anything with SteamOS”, there is nothing valuable in them for “hardcore PC players”.

      SteamOS is different story, through.

  15. Loque says:

    I don’t get this: how are those Steam machines different from any custom-PC with its (free) SteamOS copy?

    • Pliqu3011 says:

      Nothing, and they’re not meant to be any different.
      A custom PC with SteamOS installed _is_ a Steam Machine. These are just pre-made and pre-configured ones.

      Valve’s main aim is not to get these manufacturer-made boxes in everyone’s living room, but to launch their own operating system and make “a Steam Machine” as much a household name as the Xbone and PS4 are right now. Consider it an “open console”: it has the ease-of-use you’d expect of a regular console, but it fits within the context of a normal PC and has the same power and functionality.
      This last part is mostly my own speculation I admit, but the fact that they’re not planning on making any boxes themselves makes me even more sure of it.

      • Loque says:

        Well, considering the average price for most of the Steam machines I guess people will stick to PS/Xbox consoles :-|

  16. Pliqu3011 says:

    Quite a shame. The case of Valve’s own Steam Machine was very well thought out and looked great IMO. If they’re not planning on producing any more of them, they should consider making the design open-source and letting other manufacturers make them. That’d be great.

  17. InternetBatman says:

    I’m markedly less excited about the prospects of the steambox after this reveal. Valve seems to be doing things in Valve time while time is actually critical here. They don’t have a finished controller ready to show off, they don’t have a target hardware spec they’ve announced, Steam OS is only for “intrepid linux hackers,” they don’t have a new AAA game to show off on the new systems, at this rate they’re going to have a product that’s ready to compete with this console gen in three to five years after the whole issue has been settled.

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      We’re supposed to be seeing fully capable Steamboxes by the summer. Valve seem woefully unprepared to meet this date — they’re still fiddling with the OS and the controller, they don’t seem to be pushing publishers very hard to get them on board with the necessary transition to Linux, and they seem intent on letting the boutique dealers do whatever they want without any thought to oversight and standardization. Six (or so) months can be a long period in the real world, but reality and Valve Time don’t mix too well.

      Not sure why I felt the need to point all that out when you’ve already done it, but there it is. I guess I’m just venting.

  18. Danny says:

    I only want the in-house streaming-from-a-monster PC in the closet-to-a-connected-device in my living room!

  19. mukuste says:

    A shame too, the thing looked rather sleek and not, for a change, like a miniature alien bordello.

  20. Premium User Badge

    ffordesoon says:

    This is an absurdly smart plan on Valve’s part, because it can focus on the controller and the OS while still garnering the press that launching a console nets you.

    If the first wave of Steam Machines flops hard (sub-1% of nextgen console userbase at the time of release, I reckon), SteamOS and the Steam Controller will still garner an insane amount of press coverage. Valve can then pivot and focus on iterating on those projects and undermining the tyranny of Windows in other ways. The market says there’s no need for a box, so Valve doesn’t have to make a box. They’ve still created an innovative controller and gotten more people interested in Steam. It’d be a misstep, but one they can easily bounce back from.

    If the Steam Machines sell moderately well (2-5% of nextgen console userbase at the time of release), then Valve can play the long game and incentivize purchases. I hear they’re pretty good at those things. An official Steam Box may be part of that, but I doubt it. Too much risk for too little potential profit.

    If the Steam Machines are a smash hit (6% or more of nextgen console userbase at the time of release), Valve doesn’t have to make a box. It’s achieved what it wanted to achieve, and successfully disrupted the hardware space. More Steam Machines are made with more partners, the market continues to grow.

    Honestly, the worst-case scenario for Valve would probably be launching a Valve-made box. Consoles are an absurd drain on every resource at a company’s disposal.

  21. DrManhatten says:

    Maybe Gabe finally realized this was a non-starter in the first place. But to not completely loose face he is slowly abandoning the whole project!

  22. edna says:

    I wonder how users are going to sort out those complicated linuxy problems. I’ve given Linux a go several times and I always end up having to type obsure stuff into the terminal in order to get things like drivers/conflicts/software sorted out. With a load of different configurations out there, Valve are going to have their work cut out resolving issues and issuing standardised patches.

    Maybe if there are only, say, 15 offical hardware configurations out there then they’ll be able to keep on top of it. Sounds challenging though.

  23. fish99 says:

    Shame. I think this pretty much dooms Steam boxes to being expensive niche devices.

    If Valve were making a few models, they could mass produce them, (and therefore) get the prices down, and consumers would know what they were getting. This way though, there’s going to be loads of them, some of which won’t even run games well, and because the sales will be spread over so many devices they’ll end up no cheaper than a regular PC.

    I’d actually even question what will be unique about the devices. I could build a small form factor PC for under the telly right now, put linux and steam on it and use a wireless 360 gamepad, so what else does a steam box or steam OS bring to the table? Just the streaming?

    It feels like Valve had 2nd thoughts about the whole thing.

    • XhomeB says:

      They fired a lot of people a while ago, the majority of them working on the hardware side of things. That pretty much confirms your suspicions.

    • RProxyOnly says:

      It’s not just streaming these boxes are trying to do.. they’ll also play games natively on Linux.. using Steam, yes.. but if/should devs start making linux versions of games instead of just steam linux versions then they’ll also run natively on the OS itself, plus quite a few older windows games can be run on linux now.. with some fiddling about.

  24. racccoon says:

    If only valve would stop being such an super glued arsehole and start being more valve.
    The PC is a PC but with Steam attached the freedom in gaming choice is gone.

  25. dorn says:

    They’ve gone bonkers to have so many models. With that much competition none of them can build up the volume to sell really cheap. Not to mention sending the consumers screaming in horror from options-overload.

    This was a great idea but they’ve really screwed up the execution.