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Third-party Steam Machine manufacturers express concern

Third-party Steam Machine manufacturers express concern

May 19, 2014 | By Mike Rose

May 19, 2014 | By Mike Rose
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More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing



"It's going to be very challenging. This will absolutely be the least profitable system we ever sell."
- Frank Azor, general manager of the Alienware game division, talks about how tricky the Steam Machine space is going to be.

Valve unveiled the Steam Machines initiative last year, with the idea that third-party manufacturers can choose to build and sell their own Steam Machines -- essentially living room PCs that come with the Steam OS installed, and support for the Steam controller.

While we've heard Valve talk about the potential of Steam Machines before, we've not heard so much from the various companies currently considering or putting together these machines.

Talking to the Wall Street Journal this week, Alienware's Azor said that his company does not expect to make a great deal of money from building its own Steam Machine, but that the decision to go ahead with one was based on Valve's prior success in the PC game space.

Kelt Reeves, president of Falcon Northwest Computer Systems Inc., agreed with this sentiment, adding, "If anyone can do this, Valve can do it."

But other producers of Steam Machines are a little more wary. Tuan Nguyen, director at iBuyPower, is worried that fragmentation in the Steam Machine space will be a big issue.

"It's like the Android phone marketplace," he noted. "You have phones all over the place with wild specs and pricing." This will lead to confusion among consumers, he added, and he's concerned that if Valve were to release its own Steam Machine (Valve has confirmed no such plans), third-parties would be left out in the cold.


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