Are Steam Machines launching too late, or will they be a hit? - PC Retail

Are Steam Machines launching too late, or will they be a hit?

The PC gaming systems launch this November, but PCR editor Dominic Sacco isn't fully convinced
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Back in 2012, the CEO of PC gaming developer Valve declared the launch of Windows 8 “a catastrophe”.

Gabe Newell, the man behind the hugely popular PC gaming download platform Steam, wasn’t happy with Microsoft’s OS. He began toying with the idea of launching what the media dubbed at the time a ‘Steam Box’ – a device similar to a games console with a more open operating system designed for living room playing.

Last year Valve announced the initial line-up of computer vendors and system builders with their own Steam Machines, generating excitement in the market.

But these were delayed, and Steam Machines have only recently been given the official release date of November 10th 2015 (with customers who pre-order early able to get theirs on October 16th).

However, by that time we’ll already be familiar with Windows 10, complete with impressive graphics API DirectX 12. 

And PC gaming is much bigger now than it was three years ago, with more affordable desktops and more efficient GPUs – so will there still be a strong demand for Steam Machines?

Retailer GAME is certainly confident. It will be exclusively selling the Steam controller and Link streaming device in the UK, with both priced at £39.99. So will GAME stock the systems themselves? They refused to talk to PCR about this at this stage. 

Regardless, there are others in the PC gaming channel are excited by the potential of their own Steam Machine-like systems.

Steam Machines: What kind of a sales opportunity is there for retailers?

DinoPC is working on a custom case for a Steam Machine; Utopia Computers has its own take on it – the Hero 4K system; plus Ebuyer is working with Cyberpower to promote a range of specialist gaming desktops, including the Syber range. 

DinoPC marketing manager Nic Carnelutti tells PCR: “When I think of a Steam OS I see a Linux-based OS
that can be installed right now on most of the computers currently on the market, consequently I feel
it’s safe to say that pretty much every small form factor PC could be considered a steam machine.

“In the last few months we noticed an increase in sales of mini ITX based systems, people are looking for powerful and compact computers with a stylish looking that can take pride of place in their living rooms.”

 YoYoTech MD CK adds: “Steam can offer the power of desktop PC gaming – the challenge will be to see if gamers really want to be playing in their living rooms with others.

“Also, if TV manufacturers will begin to integrate more and more powerful PCs into the screens themselves possibly with GRID gaming capability.”

Full list of official Steam Machines

Here are the 14 official partners which will be releasing their own systems approved by Valve. The individual products are all named ‘Steam Machine’ unless stated otherwise: 

- Alienware
- Alternate
- ASUS ROG GR8S
- Digital Storm Eclipse
- Falcon Northwest Tiki
- Gigabyte BRIX Pro
- Maingear DRIFT
- Materiel.net
- NextBox
- Origin OMEGA
- Scan 3XS ST
- Syber
- Webhallen S15-01
- Zotac SN970

What do you think? Will you be stocking a Steam Machine - will it be a hit?

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