Valve Software has evidently delayed the release of its Steam Machines platform for non-Windows gaming in the living room. But, in classic Valve fashion, it didn’t announce the delay to the press.
Rather, Valve staff member Eric Hope posted a message in a forum in the Steam games-store app. In the message, he talked about improvements to the platform and then added, “Realistically, we’re now looking at a release window of 2015, not 2014.”
Some 13 other companies are affected by this announcement, including Dell’s Alienware division. Valve is designing the SteamOS operating system and the Steam Controller, but those hardware partners are making the actual Steam Machines. The whole point of the Linux-based Steam Machines is to create a PC-focused platform that can be extended to the living room without being dependent on Microsoft Windows software.
Hope wrote, “We’re now using wireless prototype controllers to conduct live play tests, 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. Of course, it’s also keeping us pretty busy making all those improvements.”
He added, “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. Until then, we’ll continue to post updates as we have more stories to share.”
Such a move could have a disastrous effect on Valve’s hardware partners, who may have been counting on revenue from the Steam Machines in their financial plans. So, as casual as Hope’s message sounds, it’s pretty serious business. When a console launch falls out of its planned launch window, it affects an entire ecosystem of partners. We haven’t seen much information come out of Valve since a press conference at the Consumer Electronics Show and a Steam developer event in January.
We’ve asked Valve for additional comment.