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When will Valve release its own Steam Machine?

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At CES this year, Valve showed off 13 different Steam Machine models created by third-party partners. We saw models from CyberPowerPC, Digital Storm, and many others. One Steam Machine noticeably absent from the lot was Valve's own, an odd omission given that Valve is sort of spearheading this whole initiative. As I'm beginning to learn, though, Valve does what it pleases and company co-founder Game Newell revealed during the Consumer Electronic Expo that Valve will make the decision as to whether actually release its own Steam Machine "as we go along."

“We have plans to build more machines, but we also expect that users will be really happy with the range of offerings from these hardware manufacturers,” Newell said at CES 2014, attended by RPS.

“I mean, we’ve made 300 [of them], which is very tiny stuff," he said, referencing the 300 Valve-made Steam Machine prototypes that were sent out to select beta testers in December 2013.

"You know, we’ll make what we need to. We really view our role in this as enabling," Newell explained. "So we’ll do whatever is going to be helpful to other hardware manufacturers – whether that’s with controller design or something specifically tied to boxes.

"It’s very much about how we can collaborate with the chip-makers and the system integrators. What’s the most useful thing for us to do? Part of the reason for holding events like this is to get feedback from them about what are the next problems they’d like us to take on," he added.

Speaking directly to Rock Paper Shogun, SteamOS and Steam Machine designer Kassidy Gerber said Valve is opting to work with manufacturers because "they know their customers and they know hardware better than us right now."

“Right now we’re not planning to bring the prototype to market,” she said. “It doesn’t mean we never will, but right now we’re really working with third-party hardware to build their own Steam Machines. We think they know their customers and they know hardware better than us right now.

“In the first year of Steam Machines, our main audience is people telling us they want to bring their Steam library into the living room. Right now, there’s no way for people to really do that well.”

Steam Machines are expected to hit the market sometime in mid-2014. Are you content with the current Steam Machine offerings from third-party manufacturers or would you prefer a Valve-made machine?

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Matt Liebl You can follow Senior News Editor Matt Liebl on Twitter @Matt_GZ. He likes games, sports, musicals, and his adorable dog, Wrigley. And his wife.
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