A few days ago, Valve ended up removing the Steam Machines section from the main navigation page of Steam. Many users noted of this change, and have wanted answers as to why it was removed. Today, Valve’s Pierre-Loup A. Griffais gave a small statement on why their Steam Machines were de-listed from the main navigation bar.
A Steam Machine is an entertainment system built around SteamOS, an operating system based on Ubuntu Linux. Steam Machines were designed to not only serve as a gaming rig, but to also be the center of entertainment in a living room rather than a proper desk setup, and be intuitive for programmers and designers. While these machines can play games, they are not as beefy as their gaming-built counterparts. Due to their average performance with modern AAA games, high price relative to building or buying a gaming PC, lack of future hardware upgrades, and technical issues, Steam Machines have not had the best track record with sales.
“While it’s true Steam Machines aren’t exactly flying off the shelves, our reasons for striving towards a competitive and open gaming platform haven’t significantly changed,” says Griffais. “We’re still working hard on making Linux operating systems a great place for gaming and applications.” To stand by that statement, Valve has updated Steam Machines to game a little bit better with Shader Pre-Caching, a Vulkan-based application that will skip shader compilation.
Although you can no longer access the Steam Machine page via the navigation bar, “that section of the Steam Store is still available, but was removed from the main navigation bar based on user traffic,” states Griffais. You can still access the page to purchase a Steam Machine, but it will now be a little more roundabout in order to access the Alienware, Materiel.net, Scan 3XS ST, and Syber Steam Machines, and the Maingear DRIFT.
Although sales are poor, Pierre-Loup insists that Valve is not giving up hope and has “other Linux initiatives in the pipe that we’re not quite ready to talk about yet.” Valve will continue to deliver updates to the SteamOS and their Steam Machines with the hope that it will benefit the general Linux ecosystem at large.