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Valve pushes Steam Machines into 2015

Valve pushes Steam Machines into 2015

Wed 28 May 2014 8:10am GMT / 4:10am EDT / 1:10am PDT
HardwareDevelopment

User experience lead tells Steam forums not to expect Valve's hardware this year

Valve is likely to push back the release of its Steam Machine hardware until 2015.

News of the delay surfaced in typically cryptic fashion: in a casual "update" post on the Steam forums. Eric Hope, who works in user experience and design at the Seattle-based company, responded to persistent emails enquiring about progress of Valve's Steam Machines hardware.

"We're now using wireless prototype controllers to conduct live playtests, with everyone from industry professionals to die-hard gamers to casual gamers. It's generating a ton of useful feedback, and it means we'll be able to make the controller a lot better," Hope said.

"Of course, it's also keeping us pretty busy making all of those improvements. Realistically, we're now looking at a release window of 2015, not 2014.

"Obviously we're just as eager as you are to get a Steam Machine in your hands. But our number one priority is making sure that when you do, you'll be getting the best gaming experience possible. We hope you'll be patient with us while we get there."

Of course, Valve conceived of Steam Machines as a concept under which numerous manufacturers could create and market PC hardware for the living room - a space typically associated with consoles. This delay applies only to the hardware being developed at Valve, and not the variety of partners working under the Steam Machines banner. However, the controller that Hope mentions is intended to be a standard across the entire range.

8 Comments

Morville O'Driscoll
Games Blogger & Journalist

1,491 1,259 0.8
I would hope that the various partners take this delay on board, too, and check over their specs, prices, and above all marketing. That last point is going to be the key to all this, I feel.

Posted:2 months ago

#1

Julian Beck
HR Consultant

39 45 1.2
Although Steam-Machines are my key topic that news caught me off guard. If the Steam-Controller is really the reason for the delay, then Valve does the right thing in my view. Beside Steam, SteamOS it is definitely an "outstanding" input device which is an easy to recognize USP. So delaying it for making it really good or near perfect seems right for me.
Microsoft did wrong with Kinect, Sony with the touchscreen and light on DS4 and Nintendo with Tablet Gamepad. So Valve better doesn't do the same hardware input mistake as those companies. I literally could write pages over and over here. If you like to know more, you're welcome on my free-time YouTube channel called "Hugo Wildspitze". It contains lots of Steam-Machine related video reports.

To the point "Marketing": Don't know what you mean exactly by that. Generally spoken it's a misunderstanding that Steam-Machines need the total same approach as traditional consoles, also a big difference is the goal to success, they don't need like 50 or more million sales. They reach a self-propelled momentum when SteamOS gets bigger than the MacOS Steam user base, which is roughly 3 millions. So 4 millions is the goal for the 18-24 months after the initial release. At that point of time they get - like the Mac user base - in a circular-flow of attracting more developers -> more games on SteamOS -> more SteamOS users -> then again more developers. And the decisive thing is that Steam and SteamOS is a practically "endless" platform. While the traditional consoles all have a natural end and need to gather a very big installed base in a comparatively short time of a few years.

Nevertheless two distribution channels will be the key for gathering the SteamOS installed base - selling Steam-Machines in big electronic stores like BestBuy and MediaMarkt (market leader in Europe) and be present with an own "Steam-Machine" category within the Amazon games section. And that is an effort which both Valve and the key OEMs like Alienware, Zotac, CyberpowerPC have to make together in a coordinated way.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Julian Beck on 28th May 2014 10:33am

Posted:2 months ago

#2

Christian Keichel
Journalist

577 789 1.4
Does anybody really believe, they still haven't nailed the controller? The Steam Box is DOA, and I think it wasn't feedback of gamers about the controller, but feedback from possible manufacturers that lead to the delay. I don't think we will see a Steam Box in 2015, the project is pretty much dead.

Posted:2 months ago

#3

Nick McCrea
Gentleman

177 217 1.2
I view the Steam Box purely as Valve's hedge against Windows becoming more locked down. I don't think they're looking for any kind of break out hit, but rather are laying the foundations for a potential haven in the event that MS turn hostile to their business model.

Posted:2 months ago

#4

Morville O'Driscoll
Games Blogger & Journalist

1,491 1,259 0.8
To the point "Marketing": Don't know what you mean exactly by that. Generally spoken it's a misunderstanding that Steam-Machines need the total same approach as traditional consoles, also a big difference is the goal to success, they don't need like 50 or more million sales.
Oh, I quite agree. But when you have people questioning the reasoning behind a Steam Machine vs a PS4/XOne, then something's wrong with the public perception of them. It's one thing to say "I can build a cheaper PC than they can produce." It's quite another to wonder what market it's aiming for, when it's a gaming machine, media player, and even cable-box all-in-one, with the theoretical ease-of-use of a console.
Does anybody really believe, they still haven't nailed the controller? The Steam Box is DOA, and I think it wasn't feedback of gamers about the controller, but feedback from possible manufacturers that lead to the delay.
I think Valve has finally caught on to the criticisms levelled at them/the partners at the CES a few months back. It was a bungled reveal - even games have had better reveals - and there's been little-to-no marketing buzz/hype about the Machines. So, I think yeah, maybe the Controller could easily be pushed out by the end of this year, and the OS too, but they're not wanting to do things half-assed. There's been some dispiriting comments about OpenGL's potential progress, and news of a new DX version will have put the pressure on that even more. So they're taking more time, and (hopefully) going to come out swinging with a marketing blitz, a "true reveal" at next year's CES (Machines/Controller/OS), maybe better specs, and (also hopefully) more media partners (Spotify/Netflix/Amazon).

Either that or they're delaying so they can release HL3 alongside it. :p

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 28th May 2014 11:08am

Posted:2 months ago

#5

Julian Beck
HR Consultant

39 45 1.2
Although everything outside of the delay reason being the Steam-Controller is quite a speculation I continue the line :)

Calculations could be a strong reason; meaning, you have a Steam-Machine with certain specs and you release it 6 or 9 months later with the exact same specs, the manufacturer surely has a bit higher profit margin. Maybe some of the OEMs have put pressure on Valve. What's also possible could be a comparative thing to PS4 and One. Like, the delay to 2015 in order to be able to post "Our Steam-Machine outperforms PS4 significantly", and not only "equals" it, e.g. when you buy a 500 $ Steam-Machine in like 2 years it might as well have double the raw performance of the latest console generation.
So they're taking more time, and (hopefully) going to come out swinging with a marketing blitz, a "true reveal" at next year's CES (Machines/Controller/OS), maybe better specs, and (also hopefully) more media partners (Spotify/Netflix/Amazon).
Either that or they're delaying so they can release HL3 alongside it. :p
hope for that, too. It would be a perfect event to make such a "true reveal". Also for a potential Valve game, I like the idea of L4D3 (or a HL3, but I don't believe it) to be a free adition to every sold Steam-Machine. I mean Valve games are almost always top hit games, and that would surely draw a lot of attention to the Machines.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Julian Beck on 28th May 2014 11:45am

Posted:2 months ago

#6

Adam Campbell
Associate Producer

1,137 914 0.8
Last thing we need is more rushed consoles and controllers - something we've seen plenty of in the past.

On another positive note, we'll start to see 13nm Intel CPU architecture by the end of this year. A great thing for all form factor PCs to start adopting.

Posted:2 months ago

#7

Rick Lopez
Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 941 0.7
Honestly I never thought much of SteamBox, Steam controller or steam OS from the beginning. Steamboz would have been great if it offered gaming PC configurations for a low price, but as it is, for a bit more its just best to get a rigged up PC. Steam OS I fail to see the point unless its a completely new operating system tailor made to run games exclusivly for it that can run on top of any other OS. It would be cool If you had games formatted for steam and then you just install the steam OS, much like an app on any other OS. But that does not seam viable. Lastly the contoller, Im sorry but it doesnt look good aesthetically or functionally, everything from button placements and shape is just unpleasant. And I really need button feedback when I play games. All this touchy floating thumbs on a solid surface doesnt cut it for me.

Steam is fine the way it is. I use it on OSX. Im fine, Im happy with it. And while these are all nice ideas... it fails to acheive the affordability, ease of use and conveniance of home console platforms... and the power, features and versatility of PC's. It fails to find that middle ground between these platforms that would have made it relevant. Because the way it is now its not relevant.

Just Give me Half Life 3 and you can take my money.

Posted:2 months ago

#8

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