January 15, 2014
Valve Won’t Be Shipping Steam Machines Just Yet
They’ll be offering millions of copies of their newest open source software to gamers everywhere, but that doesn’t mean that Valve will be offering their own Steam Machine yet. All over the Internet, we’re seeing computer manufacturers distribute their own variant of a Steam Machine; different sizes, shapes, colors, designs and — of course — performance bars. To not offer their own Steam Machine might seem peculiar, but in reality this is an extremely smart business decision on Valve’s part.
Let’s dissect it.
Valve announced last year that they would make a new splash on the computer market with their own mainstream video game console, exclusive to the PC platform. This was very new from what previous contenders have tried to do; no one thought of unifying a console and a software release in the same year. All companies need rivals to define their purpose and Steam is no exception. They’ve clearly got Microsoft in their crosshairs for living room and PC dominance.
Making the Steam OS open and accessible to everyone means that Valve won’t have to worry about spreading their software’s name on the market (not to imply that they didn’t already own it) to both mainstream and Indie developers. This also makes them both the cheaper and more intelligent option when it comes to buying a new operating system for your custom rig. The exception to this is that the Steam OS won’t have support every program that’s been released on Windows (as in Adobe, Blender, etc.).
The upside to this for Valve is that the software is already perfected with source code used to make the Steam application itself. In hindsight they can have hundreds of different computer tech companies creating different versions of the Steam Machine to market to consumers. Be it blue, green, red, orange or the typical black, everyone can make the hardware for them. The millions that could’ve been spent on making their own hardware can go to software, leaving both Valve and other companies to do what they do best.
At this point Valve has nothing to lose with their latest endeavors. They’ve already got tens of millions of dollars pouring into their wallets from Steam sales. If Steam suffers any lack of momentum with the success of Steam Machine, then it really wouldn’t hurt them.
And there you have it! If you have a disagreement with Valve’s choice to concentrate on software budgets, leave me a comment below!
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