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Valve has removed the Steam Machine section from Steam

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[Update: We have new information see here.]

In a move that's not exactly surprising, Valve has quietly removed the Steam Machine section from Steam.

Previously on Steam, if you hovered over the Hardware category there was a Steam Machines link in the drop-down, which is now gone while the links to the Steam Controller, Steam Link and Vive remain. In fact, the entire Hardware page on Steam is now gone and anyone using the link (http://store.steampowered.com/hardware/) is redirected to a basic search page. Looking back on it and doing a bit of quick research, it seems the change came this month.

I'm not surprised they did this, since currently no one is announcing new machines and the whole Steam Machine idea from Valve never really gained any steam. While it didn't really do the big splash many were hoping, it has done quite a lot of good for Linux gaming overall. As a result of the initial push from Valve, many developers and game engines have moved into doing regular Linux support. This is important, because many of the barriers involved in getting games on Linux have been removed.

We know for a fact that porting companies like Aspyr Media (original interview) and Feral Interactive (original interview) started doing Linux versions thanks to SteamOS and Steam Machines, with them both still continuing the effort. It's also likely what pushed GOG to support Linux on their store too, since they didn't want to miss out on the possibility of more Linux gamers to buy games.

Realistically and looking back on it all, the time just wasn't right. There were long delays, not enough "big" games to make people truly interested in the platform (especially when the likes of The Witcher 3 was confirmed and then never happened—still hurts) and various other reasons.

We now have over four thousand Linux games on Steam, with more releasing every day. Of course, that's just a number and there's a fair amount of rubbish, but that's only natural to see. The good news, is that we get a lot of decent games arrive on Linux too and there's no signs of it slowing down.

It will be interesting to see if Valve do another SteamOS/Steam Machine push, with SteamOS still seeing updates this year it's entirely possible. Either way, Valve has done a lot of good and continues to do so. They're not a perfect company, not all their ideas work out and that's fine.

Linux gaming still faces an uphill battle—a large one at that. Thankfully, no one company "owns" Linux and so it can essentially go on forever, keep improving and gradually get better over a long time. We will still be here no matter what, we love Linux and we have so many good games already we don't know what to play half the time.

Thanks for the tip, kreativt. Article text was updated to be clearer after publishing.

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shelloflight 30 March 2018 at 3:25 pm UTC
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I love my Steam Machine. It makes me sad Valve wasn't able to successfully enter the console market. With a better launch and more AAA support, it really could have been great. I'm hoping they are going back to the workroom for now and will launch a bigger, better machine in the future.
GustyGhost 30 March 2018 at 3:42 pm UTC
Another Steam Machine/OS push probably won't be made again until Microsoft does something truly appalling. It's the ace for Valve to keep hidden in their sleeve and a second push would this time have the backing of a 4000+ library and matured ecosystem.
Kimyrielle 30 March 2018 at 4:00 pm UTC
With Steam Machines being more or less officially dead now, the one danger we now face is that some publishers who entered the Linux market -because- of Steam Machines could possibly decide to give up on us. Valve pushed Linux support as a long-term investment, as the upcoming chance to gain a foothold in a new console market not controlled by MS or Sony. This perspective is gone and we are still the 1% market we started with. I doubt this will help convincing studios who didn't try publishing on Linux yet to give us a chance. All this push and support we got, all the improvements Linux gaming has seen didn't change the fact that our market share didn't go up one bit. That's...bad. If we want to be a sustainable platform, we can't remain at 1% forever and hope bigger studios will take us for serious.

On the positive end: While a few years ago it seemed that the PC vs consoles war would eventually be won by consoles, this is no longer the case. PC gaming is stronger than ever, and PCs consistently remain the technologically superior platform. It's the -consoles- who seem to be the dying species of dinosaurs these days. Stationary consoles are fading even in Japan...the country that invented them. Smartphone gaming and hand-held consoles is the big thing now, and these aren't directly competing with PC gaming, in contrast to PS4 and XB1. Valve might have stopped pushing Steam Machines for the simple reason that they don't see them as a critical factor anymore. If we keep seeing them pushing SteamOS (at least in their typical Valve turtle speed), it is probably the latter. Valve's push -still- got Linux in a position where it can realistically replace Windows as a gaming platform. Which is what they wanted. But in order to maintain that looming pressure on Microsoft, Linux needs to keep going. Valves knows that. Who knows - I wouldn't be surprised to see SteamOS making a resurgence, one day: As a pre-installed OS on Steam-branded PCs.
ElectricPrism 30 March 2018 at 4:06 pm UTC
Could this mean they are preparing a official Steam Console? Perhaps Fall 2018?

HTC just dropped their revised VIVE.

Somehow i think VR is a component to their next move.
skinnyraf 30 March 2018 at 4:22 pm UTC
I love my ZOTAC NEN. Sure, it was quite expensive, but for that price I got a capable, tiny, quiet system with Linux and Steam preinstalled and configured, a form factor I would never be able to build myself. Two years later it's doing just fine for 1080p gaming.

Pity to see Steam Machines go, but perhaps another year, we will see a follow up, successful this time.
slaapliedje 30 March 2018 at 4:44 pm UTC
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PangachatExpensive hardware with no games aren't the recipe of a good console, so no surprise here.

Wait, what? Expensive hardware, yes. No games? Even by the time the Steam Machines were announced and shipping, there was at least 1500-2000 games for it. That was it's biggest strength.

We will have the Tacobox VCS coming soon for our Linux console gaming, right? erm, is that Atari VCS, TacoAtari? I know Tacos have something to do with it....

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/266480-new-atari-console-that-ataribox/
slaapliedje 30 March 2018 at 4:48 pm UTC
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shelloflightI love my Steam Machine. It makes me sad Valve wasn't able to successfully enter the console market. With a better launch and more AAA support, it really could have been great. I'm hoping they are going back to the workroom for now and will launch a bigger, better machine in the future.

So on that note...

Gabe very recently said they are now capable of designing and manufacturing their own hardware.

I tend to think one of the failures of a Steam Console was, oddly the good thing about Linux distributions, CHOICE. Console players don't want 3 different versions, and that was just from Dell/Alienware. They want one hardware standard that everyone who buys a game for will get the same performance. This helps with multiplayer and so forth.

But then that begs the question, if they did that, made their own console with a standard set of hardware, would they then limit people who play on their overpowered desktops? Since that is definitely an advantage when playing death match style games. Usually the ones who have no game lag are going to be winning. Main reason I couldn't get into Battlefield 2, every time someone would get nearby, my frame rate would drop to like 2, so by the time I turned around, I was dead.

But it's a good possibility they are closing up the steam machine portion of Steam to ready for their own release. But it sounds like they closed up the complete hardware tab? So no Link or Controller?
1xok 30 March 2018 at 4:49 pm UTC
jonbitzen 30 March 2018 at 4:59 pm UTC
I speculate that Valve may have some sort of Steam console up its sleeve. A few tidbits I've gathered from various articles on the web:

- Gabe Newell commented in an interview that he was interested in being able to provide a user experience the way Nintendo does, and that being able to do so meant hardware; and that unlike years ago he has hardware people (electrical engineers) now

- I've been following Phoronix for some time, and I think it's possible that there are between 3-5 Valve engineers making contributions to Mesa and the AMD open source graphics driver stack.

There are a lot of things that could mean, but one possibility is a Steam console. To compete on price with MS and Sony, and to leverage their existing users' library of games as much as possible, they need an x86 SOC with a reasonably good GPU. And only AMD can give them that. Nv can give them a great GPU, but not an x86 CPU. Intel could give them the CPU but they don't have a gamer-grade GPU on offer.

As other posters have mentioned, the Linux software stack wasn't nearly ready when Steam Machines came out. Its much better now, plus we can hope that with API's like Vulkan, there won't be so many game-specific optimizations that are in the platform-specific driver stack as there are now, which would (going forward) level the playing field.

With that said, I think they will still need to have something different to sell a Steam console, if that is their plan.

As a final comment, if they wanted this to get more traction, and supposing they're aiming at a Steam console, they could allow other stores to install onto the hardware to grow the platform. For example, it's probably not free for EA to be on Xbox and PS. But if they had their own store on a Steam console (they already don't sell games on Steam anyway, so its no loss to Valve I guess), then cutting the MS/Sony tax would be a compelling reason for them to get onboard an "open" console platform. It'd make the whole Linux/Steam console ecosystem more compelling to consumers, and cut the vendors loose from manipulation by MS.

jonbitzen
Salvatos 30 March 2018 at 5:00 pm UTC
FredOI'm sure they're just doing an Apple - taking the website down before the big announcement ;)
ElectricPrismCould this mean they are preparing a official Steam Console? Perhaps Fall 2018?

Something like this wouldn't surprise me. Silently removing the obsolete product to make room for the new thing's launch so it has all the focus when it lands. IF Steam were going to release a new, self-branded console, it would make sense to stop advertising the older-generation, third-party one first. It would be nice to see some renewal on that side, even if it's just announcing a partnership to buy gaming PCs or laptops pre-installed with SteamOS instead of Windows from some well-established vendors. After all, the original batch of Steam Machines must be getting outdated by now, but a vendor installing a different OS on its computers can stay fresh indefinitely.

Without being overly optimistic, I at least am not worried about Steam's commitment to Linux just based on this. After all they're still paying for developer time on a few Linux-related projects, and just a few months ago they added the wishlist features to separate OSes from each other - though it could be improved, in my opinion it's a clear indicator that they want to incite developers to think about non-Windows platforms.
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