Categories: News

Alienware say Windows 10 is Killing Steam Machines

While Microsoft was apparently eschewing gamers with its mobile/desktop crossover operating system Window 8, developer Valve, owner of the Steam digital distribution service for games, partnered with a number of PC builders to create a PC box specifically aimed at gamers, the Steam Machine. Running the SteamOS, Steam Machines not only filled the gap left by Windows 8, but were intended to bring the PC gaming experience into the living room.

While expectations for Steam Machines were high, an unexpected factor swung gamers’ favour back to Microsoft; according to Frank Azor, Co-Founder and General Manager of Alienware, which created a Steam Machine in collaboration with Valve, SteamOS boxes became redundant the moment Windows 10 was released last year.

“I think the landscape two years ago was very different to what it is today,” Azor told PC Gamer. “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.”

“So that’s where the partnership between Valve and Alienware really initiated around the Steam Machine concept,” he added. “We said: ‘Hey, we can’t lose Windows as a gaming platform.’ We had to take matters into our own hands because we couldn’t rely on Microsoft. So we did that, and we started pursuing the path that we did.”

Azor also blames delays in getting the Steam Controller released for the Windows 10 effect; had the controller been released in conjunction with Steam Machines, Valve’s venture may have gained a greater foothold before Microsoft’s new OS wooed gamers back.

“Valve ran into some delays with the controller, and while that was occurring, Windows 10 was being released,” Azor said. “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.”

“I think the need right now, for Steam Machines and for SteamOS, isn’t as great as it was two years ago, and that’s contributed to the reason why the momentum has faded,” he explains. “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.”

With Windows 10 catering to gamers in a way that Microsoft has never done before, is there any reason for the Steam Machine to exist?

Ashley Allen

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