"I think the need right now, for Steam Machines and for SteamOS, isn’t as great as it was two years ago, and that’s contributed to the reason why the momentum has faded."
- Alienware cofounder Frank Azor.
When Valve debuted its Steam Machines initiative in 2013, excitement ran high for the notion of console-like PCs for the living room that would run on SteamOS and tie directly into the Steam platform.
Now, over 3 years later, the venture seems to have lost some steam, and in a new interview with PC Gamer Alienware cofounder Frank Azor suggests it's directly tied to the rising popularity of Windows among PC game players.
"I think the landscape two years ago was very different to what it is today. The catalyst for the Steam Machine initiative was really around what Microsoft’s decisions were with Windows 8," said Azor. "We were concerned as an industry that we were going to lose PC gamers on the Windows platform to any other platform that was out there, whether it was console, Mac OS X, Android."
According to Azor, that fear was one of the chief reasons Alienware made a deal with Valve to release its own Steam Machines ("We had to take matters into our own hands because we couldn’t rely on Microsoft") running SteamOS.
But when Valve ran into trouble with the Steam Controller in 2014 and delayed the Steam Machine rollout until 2015, Alienware refitted its Steam Machines to run as Windows PCs -- and soon found that with the debut of Windows 10, customers were less eager to give up on Windows for SteamOS.
"“I think Microsoft learned a very valuable lesson – a lot of valuable lessons – with Windows 8 and tried to correct those with Windows 10," said Azor. "We still offer SteamOS and the Steam Machine platform with the new version of the Alpha – the new Steam Machine R2 – and we still sell hundreds of units, thousands of units every month. But it’s not a major initiative for us like it was two years ago because it’s not necessary right now. We’re in a good place with Windows."
You can find more of his comments on the topic, as well as his thoughts on where Alienware sees the high-performance PC market heading in the near future, in the full interview over on PC Gamer.