Do you remember when Valve had grand aspirations of taking over the gaming PC scene with Steam Machines? Not only did that never happen for various reasons, but it looks like Valve is finally ready to put the initiative in its right view mirror. Without any sort of fan fare, Valve has gone and removed the Steam Machines section from Steam, as well as from the Hardware pull-down menu at the top of the Steam store.
Now when you click or hover on Hardware, it only shows links for the Steam Controller, Steam Link, and HTC Vive. You can actually still find Steam Machines by doing a search in Steam or by loading up the old landing spot manually. However, the actual hardware is gone, now replaced by a search list with links to external websites where they can be purchased outside of Steam.
It is the end of an era that never really began in the first place. Part of the reason that Steam Machines never took hold is that Valve fumbled the launch after considerable hype. Following plenty of rumors and speculation, Valve officially unveiled its Steam Machines initiative in September 2013, along with SteamOS and its Steam Controller. It would take another two years before they would finally be available to the public at large—Valve had hoped to release Steam Machines to consumers earlier, but delayed things so it could tweak the controller.
The delay seemed to have caught Valve's hardware partners off guard, which ended up releasing console-sized Windows PCs with hardware that appeared allocated for Steam Machines. On top of it all, consumers did not show a lot of interest in SteamOS, choosing instead to trust that Microsoft would not build a walled garden within Windows, as some feared it would do.
Probably the final nail in the coffin is Steam Link, a relatively inexpensive streaming device that allows users to tap into their Steam libraries on their PC, and play those games on their big screen TV in the living room (or wherever).
It just was not meant to be, and Valve is seemingly acknowledging that with the unceremonious removal of Steam Machines from Steam.