Technology

Valve Quietly Removes Steam Machines From Its Home Page

Steam Machines, Valve
See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Valve has quietly removed the Steam Machines link from Steam’s website, as first noted by GamingOnLinux. Valve’s decision must not come as a surprise, as it has been a while since the machine was last updated or last heard about. Prior to its removal, the link for Steam Machines was under the Hardware category on Steam’s site. Moving the cursor over the Hardware category previously showed Steam Machines as a drop-down option, but now, the drop-down list only includes Steam Controller, Steam Link and HTC Vive.

As of now, there has been no official announcement from the company about the link’s removal, but by not announcing anything, the company may want to save itself from an expensive hardware failure.

With Steam Machines, Valve’s aim was to move gaming into your living room, thereby taking PC gaming mainstream. Though the company had high hopes for the project, it failed to take off. Now, the company could be distancing itself from the failure by removing the link for it from its website.

Valve revealed its Steam Machines in 2013, and they were designed to look like home consoles. They were based on the SteamOS and came with a Steam Controller. Gamers could get a Core i7 CPU and high-end GPU that can run AAA titles. The first boxes of the machines from PC players like Alienware reached the market only in late 2015. However, Steam Machines offered too much variety in terms of specifications, resulting in different price points.

For instance, the base Alienware Steam Machine came with a price tag of $450, while a few others were priced over $1,000, notes DigitalTrends. It was probably their very expensive prices that mostly pushed buyers away. Even the least expensive Steam Machines cost more than a home console, and gamers can assemble a better PC for much less.

In addition to the myriad of price points, the gaming machines failed to gain popularity for several other reasons. Steam’s gaming machines faced several delays, leading to many cancellations. Initially, Valve announced that the Steam Machines would come from several vendors, including Asus, Alienware, Falcon Northwest, Gigabyte and more, but most of the vendors either backed out or delayed their launches indefinitely after they sensed that the project could fail.

Gamers were also not very excited about SteamOS. Initially, the Linux-based operating system attracted a few takers, but the delayed launch, bugs and relatively poor performance soon caused the charm to fade. Additionally, most of the games were not meant for SteamOS, and this same problem continues even now.

It probably wouldn’t be wrong to say that Valve itself, to an extent, was responsible for the failure of the project. At the time when third-party manufactures were making Steam Machines, Valve was busy working on Steam Link, which was launched around the same time and rendered the machines useless for gamers with a competent enough PC. Steam Link, which was released for $50, allowed users to stream PC games from a computer to a TV. This innovation, which featured Steam Controller support and came with Big Picture mode, was a much cheaper alternative.

All this led to the slow death of Steam Machines, which sold fewer than 1 million units in their first seven months, according to PC World.

Though the machines are gone from the Steam hardware tab, one can still find the listings here and there. The models that still exist include the Maingear Drift, which still comes with the old hardware, and Syber’s Steam Machine, according to PC World.

It can be said that Steam Machines have left their legacy behind. Even though they failed to make it into most gamers’ living rooms, Steam Link and Steam Controller gained popularity. Linux gaming also gained some momentum after Valve announced the gaming machines. Further, SteamOS recently got a major update, which added a new Linux kernel and other useful features.

Users meanwhile have expressed mixed reactions to Valve’s decision. One user commented on Liamdawe’s post that Valve could be following Apple’s path when it comes to announcing something big. Apple usually takes down its website hours before launching a new product. Another user said that the company could come up with a new console, while some hinted at repercussions from the Steam Machines failure, saying that Linux-based publishers could also exit the segment.