Rock Paper Shotgun, one of the premier PC gaming websites, posed the above question to Valve.
Yes, that’s right: You. That is who this article is for. Absolutely, positively nobody else. And by that, I of course mean Yousef Johnson, the world’s most average PC gaming enthusiast. He spends much of his leisure time playing on his own custom-built PC, largely by way of Steam. According to Valve, You (and perhaps by extension, also you) are who the initial line of Steam Machines is aimed at. And yet, so far it’s difficult to find many reasons to care. There’s the living room appeal, sure, but what’s to stop You from simply installing SteamOS on his own machine, buying a Steam controller, and doing a bit of quick (not to mention free) legwork? I asked Valve to justify its massive yet arguably over-cautious endeavor both now and in the long run. Here’s how the PC juggernaut replied.
“We have 65 million users with value in Steam accounts, and they want those games – their libraries – in the living room,” claimed SteamOS and Steam Machine designer Kassidy Gerber. “I think part of the value proposition is that we’ll be able to support all those excellent titles in the living room. I think we’ve proven we’re committed to holding onto your library for you.”
“A lot of these titles, traditional PC gaming titles, they actually move really well into the living room if you have the right controls. Like Civilization V is actually a really fun experience. So if you open this stuff up, you get a good cross between console and PC.”
That is a complete non answer if I ever saw one. It really sounds like Valve itself is not sure who these myriad of machines, none of them cheap, incidentally, are aimed at. Why would anyone buy them? Why would a hardcore gamer not just use HDMI and Steam Big Picture Mode (or heck, just install Steam OS on their existing PC), if they were so desperate for the Steam Big Screen Experience? Why would the more casual PC gamer purchase such a limited machine, one that would lock him out of some of the most popular PC games (League of Legends, Starcraft, Diablo, Battlefield, The Sims), instead of just picking up another pre-made PC on the market?
The entire thing sounds like a mess to me.