In a recent interview, Gabe Newell himself spoke to the future of the Steam Machine, and why Valve, at least at this point in time, has now plans to develop their own. As of now there are several different computer manufacturer companies who have produced their own prototype versions of the Steam Machine, but none from Valve. Newell commented:
“We’re going to continue to make that decision [about releasing our own Steam Machine] as we go along,” Newell said. “We have plans to build more machines, but we also expect that users will be really happy with the range of offerings from these hardware manufacturers.”
“I mean, we’ve made 300 [of them], which is very tiny stuff. You know, we’ll make what we need to. We really view our role in this as enabling. So we’ll do whatever is going to be helpful to other hardware manufacturers – whether that’s with controller design or something specifically tied to boxes. It’s very much about how we can collaborate with the chip-makers and the system integrators. What’s the most useful thing for us to do? Part of the reason for holding events like this is to get feedback from them about what are the next problems they’d like us to take on.”
Kassidy Gerber, a Steam Machine designer was also quoted in a recent RPS interview, and she more or less echoed Newell’s words:
“Right now we’re not planning to bring the prototype to market. It doesn’t mean we never will, but right now we’re really working with third-party hardware to build their own Steam Machines. We think they know their customers and they know hardware better than us right now.
“In the first year of Steam Machines, our main audience is people telling us they want to bring their Steam library into the living room. Right now, there’s no way for people to really do that well.
“The consistent OS helps. That at least gives developers a consistent target in some ways. And then we think there will be a place for reviews on how various hardware configs work for various games. [Some kind of feature] where, when you go and look for a Steam Machine, you’ll have an idea of how certain games will perform on possible configs.”