Will Steam Machines be a success?

The upcoming Steam Machines have finally been given an official release date, but will these devices score points with retailers and gamers? Jade Burke takes a look at what the machines have to offer the gaming industry…

In 2012, Gabe Newell CEO and PC developer for the video game firm Valve, branded the launch of Windows 8 a ‘catastrophe’ and vowed to deliver a device similar to a games console, designed specifically for living room gaming. That device is now known as a Steam Machine.

The orginal release date for Steam Machines was sometime during mid-2014, however, they will now launch later this year on November 10th 2015.

But, now that Windows 10 has launched with gaming in mind with DirectX 12 and the availability of more affordable desktops and GPUs, will there still be a place for Steam Machines?

Ian Edwards, account manager at distributor Spire Technology, thinks so: “With many new game titles and the launch of Steam Machines coming later this year, I think now is one of the best times for PC gamers.

“For those who are serious about gaming, nothing really beats the freedom of a PC or the benefits of a keyboard and mouse when gaming, but it will be interesting to see how the Steam Machine controller does versus a keyboard and mouse.”

So far, a string of Steam Machine partners have been announced along with their own systems approved by Valve including Alienware, ASUS ROG GR8S, Scan 3XS ST and the Nextbox.

Other retailers are also signing deals with Valve, including GAME, who has struck up an exclusive partnership to sell the controller and Steam Link streaming device in the UK and Spain. However, the firm is yet to announce whether it will stock the machines themselves.

But, others remain sceptical about another edition to the gaming console market, as YoYoTech’s MD CK, explains: “I don’t think Steam Machines are the solution – they’re just creating another console. I think Xbox and PlayStation are doing a fantastic job. Especially with Windows 10 coming out as a PC platform using all those Xbox games – what will Steam do that’s different?”

But this isn’t stopping retailers and resellers creating their own take on the Steam Machine, including Dino PC who is working on a custom case for a Steam Machine, while Ebuyer.com has revealed plans to develop a range of specialist gaming desktops.

A mouse and keyboard are also still popular with gamers, and if Steam Machines start to take off there is a concern these peripherals may take a downhill turn, but Michael Groom, UK MD for Cherry, remains positive: “The concept of the Steam Machine is great – but for some games, wired peripherals are a must.

“However, if current console gamers have a Steam Machine next to their Xbox or PlayStation in their bedroom, I would hope that peripherals will be on the increase and Cherry will be able to take a slice of the pie.”

But until these new machines hit the retail space, we will have to wait and see how popular they will be. 

PCR’s Sector Spotlight on Gaming is running throughout September – click here for more articles

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