In a blog post, Valve vowed to continue developing and supporting its Linux-based SteamOS even though "Steam Machines aren't exactly flying off the shelves." Valve delivered the message in the wake of news spreading that it removed the Steam Machines link from the Hardware pull-down menu in Steam, and is no longer selling systems through its storefront, instead now linking to external websites.
Valve chalked the removal of Steam Machines as part of a "routine cleanup." While there remains a section of a Steam Store that still shows Steam Machines, Valve made the decision to de-list the heading from its Hardware pull-down menu based on user traffic, or lack thereof.
"We're still working hard on making Linux operating systems a great place for gaming and applications. We think it will ultimately result in a better experience for developers and customers alike, including those not on Steam," Valve said.
Steam Machines were initially intended to provide a strong alternative to Windows desktops for gaming. For a time (and perhaps still), Valve was particularly worried that Microsoft would erect a so-called walled garden with Windows, essentially cramming the Windows Store and its Universal Windows App platform down users' throats, which if that were ever to occur would jeopardize Steam's position as the dominant digital delivery service.
Unfortunately for Valve, customers never really embraced Steam Machines, in part because of delays making the hardware available, and a general lack of interest in supplanting Windows with Linux for gaming. Having given it the good ol' college try, Valve says it "learned quite a bit about the state of the Linux ecosystem for real-world game developers," through its Steam Machine initiative.
"We've taken a lot of feedback and have been heads-down on addressing the shortcomings we observed. We think an important part of that effort is our ongoing investment in making Vulkan a competitive and well-supported graphics API, as well as making sure it has first-class support on Linux platforms," Valve said.
Going forward, Valve plans to continue investing significantly in Vulkan. It also has "other Linux initiatives" that it is working on, though nothing that it is willing to discuss at the moment. Whatever Valve has in store for gamers, it insists that SteamOS will be the medium by which they are delivered to customers.
Thumbnail and Top Image Source: Dell