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There may have been an Internet aww released when Valve officially said the Steam controller will “realistically” be delayed until 2015, but for those with skin in the game, the news couldn’t be worse.
The Steam Machines have been delayed until 2015.
According to numerous Steam Machine hardware vendors, official Steam Machines wouldn’t be sanctioned by Valve unless the PCs are shipped with the Steam controller. When you do the math, this essentially means the Steam Machines themselves are delayed from their projected Q4 2014 release until some unspecified time in 2015.
While that may be disappointing to hear from a consumer’s standpoint, it is the Steam Machine hardware vendors that are getting the short end of the stick. Valve officially unveiled its 13 Steam Machines back in January at CES 2014. While no specific release date was announced, one hardware vendor told us it got the impression Steam Machines would be on sale that same quarter, or Q1 2014. With this in mind, many of these hardware vendors have been prepping their Steam Machines for Valve’s then impending launch, but the launch period has been dragged out so long now that it will be easily beyond one year from what they were originally lead to believe. This essentially means that many of these hardware vendors have been sitting on finished hardware for several months.
Valve has been infamous for their "Valve Time" (i.e., multiple project delays)
But it gets even hairier. One Steam Machine OEM who asked not to be identified described the whole ordeal as “a huge mess,” adding, “It’s a joke of a situation.” When outlining the reasons for the complaints, the vendor listed ordering and sitting on inventory (GPUs, CPUs, etc.) as a main factor, and when you couple this with the fact that these computer components quickly depreciate in value over time, it turns out to be a major loss of investment that OEMs have to absorb. For instance, imagine forking over $500 for a GeForce GTX 680, but by the time the Machine launches, the graphics card is worth $350 street. Our contact reminded us that unlike Valve, OEMs make no revenue off of Steam game sales.
“Here’s another situation Valve doesn’t realize,” the person fumed, “because we’ve been planning with [several retail outlets] to launch this thing, every time Valve has delayed the controller, we have had to go back and say ‘oh, whoops… it’s not happening now.’”
“We’re pretty upset” they said, adding “I can imagine [the other Steam Machine OEMs] are too.”
“Maybe we have our heads in the wrong place," they said, adding, ''but Valve isn’t treating partners like partners.”