Valve has talked about the removal of the Steam Machine tab from the Steam storefront, saying it was part of routine clean-up based on a lack of traffic.
Back when Valve announced the Steam Machine back in 2013, it seemed like a truly exciting concept. The idea of Valve getting into the console space was always exciting, with Steam practically owning a monopoly on the PC at the time. Seeing if they could bring that experience into the living room to compete with the PlayStations and Xboxes of the world was enticing. However, it quickly became clear that wasn’t necessarily Valve’s intention. There was no one box, but instead many from various manufacturers, acting as powerful systems, but also at a premium price. Their existence was a little confused by the messaging and in time, they’ve somewhat faded away except for very niche enthusiasts.
A little bit of a storm started recently though when the Steam Machine tab on the Steam storefront disappeared. You can still access the area, but it is not overtly advertised anymore. This had many claiming the death of the machines. Well, Valve has now responded saying that the removal was part of clean up but admitted it was driven by lacklustre sales.In a post, Pierre-Loup said:
We’ve noticed that what started out as a routine cleanup of the Steam Store navigation turned into a story about the delisting of Steam Machines. That section of the Steam Store is still available, but was removed from the main navigation bar based on user traffic. Given that this change has sparked a lot of interest, we thought it’d make sense to address some of the points we’ve seen people take away from it.
While it’s true Steam Machines aren’t exactly flying off the shelves, our reasons for striving towards a competitive and open gaming platform haven’t significantly changed. We’re still working hard on making Linux operating systems a great place for gaming and applications. We think it will ultimately result in a better experience for developers and customers alike, including those not on Steam.
On the positives of the machines and the power it gave to Linux, he continued:
Through the Steam Machine initiative, we’ve learned quite a bit about the state of the Linux ecosystem for real-world game developers out there. We’ve taken a lot of feedback and have been heads-down on addressing the shortcomings we observed. We think an important part of that effort is our ongoing investment in making Vulkan a competitive and well-supported graphics API, as well as making sure it has first-class support on Linux platforms.
It is a shame to see the Steam Machines more or less go quietly into the good night. The concept was solid, but the execution was confusing and not as accessible as it might have seemed in the early part of its reveal. Perhaps one day Valve will become interested in the idea again and give fans what they want. Or perhaps they won’t and they will chase whatever other interesting thing Valve wants to chase. Either way, I’m sure they will be will be just fine off the back of this.