Dell is up to the challenge of pushing Steam Machines through its Alienware arm
After much hype, the hoopla surrounding Valve's Steam Machine initiative seems to have died down, though it's only the calm before the storm. They're coming, and though Valve won't receive royalties from PC makers who build Steam Machines around its Linux-based Steam OS, there is sufficient pressure to keep pricing on the level of traditional game consoles. This is something Alienware admits will be a challenge, though it's one the company is more than happy to tackle.
"It's going to be very challenging," Frank Azor, general manager of Dell's Alienware division, told The Wall Street Journal. "This will absolutely be the least profitable system we ever sell."
If that's the case, the obvious follow-up question is why even bother with the Steam Machine initiative? Alienware's answer is the power of Valve and the impact Steam has had on PC gaming. Azor expanded on that sentiment to our sister publication, PC Gamer.
"Alienware is very optimistic about PC gaming's future and its opportunity to extend to the TV. We have been partners with Valve since the inception of the Steam Machine over 2 years ago," Azor explained. "Our decision to invest in developing the purpose-built Alienware Steam Machine, pairing it with incredible performance and pricing it as aggressively as possible has everything to do with how much we believe in this vision and want to see it materialize."
In some ways, Alienware and the other dozen or so OEMs jumping on board are taking a leap of faith that Valve's vision is spot on. If Valve is right, everyone involved will benefit -- OEMs, gamers, game publishers, and of course Valve.