Although Valve remains elusive when it comes to its plans for possibly selling its own hardware, it has confirmed that 14 others will soon be selling Steam Machines in 2014, and that it is planning on selling the Steam Controller as a standalone purchase at some point. It also discussed what it sees as its role in the development of Steam Machines, claiming that it is here as an “enabler.”
During its press event at CES in Las Vegas, Valve co-founder and Managing Director Gabe Newell proudly, and officially, introduced the 14 partners (which leaked earlier today.) The list includes:
Alienware, Alternate, CyberPower PC, Digital Storm, Falcon Northwest, Gigabyte, iBuyPower, Maingear, Material.net, Next, Origin, Scan Computers, Webhallen, and Zotac.
When it comes to first-party hardware hardware from Valve – consumer versions of the 300 Steam Machines that were sent out to beta participants, essentially – Newell would not confirm any release plans.
“We made 300, which is a very tiny step, but I guess everything starts with a small step. We make what we need to,” said Newell. “We really view our role in this as being an enabler. So whatever we can do that’s going to be helpful to other hardware manufacturers, whether it’s with controller design or building specific types of boxes, that’s what we are going to do.”
When asked about the feedback from the 300 prototypes, Newell said it had been overwhelmingly positive, almost problematically so. The devices are meant to be pushed to the point where problems arise so Valve can then learn how to fix them, and the company needs more feedback to help ensure the continued development.
Throughout the brief event, Newell was clear that the focus is on helping other manufacturers to develop Steam Machines, not Valve itself.
“It’s pretty much how can we collaborate with the chip makers and system integrators – what’s the most useful thing for us to do,” he said. “Part of the reason for holding events like this [unveiling the 3rd party Steam Machines] is for getting feedback on what are the next problems they’d like us to take on.”
Part of what makes a Steam Machine an official “Steam Machine” is the SteamOS, of course, as well as the Steam Controller. When asked about that, Newell confirmed that Valve was planning on selling its custom designed controller separately, and others would as well.
“We’ll be selling the Steam Controller separately, and then other people will be selling their version of Steam Controllers as well,” Newell said, although he did not have a release or price to give.
That means that as long as a computer meets the minimum requirements to run SteamOS and has the means to hook directly to a TV, and once you pick up a Steam Controller, any machine could potentially be a Steam Machine.
Newell was also asked what he thought about the recent Xbox One news that Microsoft sold 3 million consoles in just three months, and whether or not Valve could match that number in the same time frame, to which Newell joked, “Well, I mean it would take a while for them to catch up. We’re at 65 million.”
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