There have been a lot of rumours about Steam Machines and it looks like that this PC that doesn’t run Windows and that lets you play some Steam based games has been pushed back to 2015.
We have seen some prototypes including a Nvidia powered mock-up up Alienware system and we believe that these machines will have some success in the market. They are more or less a fully capable PC that won't run Windows unless you have a dual boot option with two separate drives, but the Steam OS will look good on your TV in the living room and it should be great for gaming.
Valve, the company behind Steam OS, has gone on the record saying that it will delay its machines to 2015. The exact quote was "Realistically, we're now looking at a release window of 2015, not 2014."
As long as you are not ready to hit the the back to school shopping timeframe, you have slimmer chances to make a significant impact on the market. Since Steam OS machines are tricky items to sell, Valve probably wanted to push them in order to add some additional functionality.
On the other hand the delay happens in rather awkward time as both Nvidia and AMD have functional drivers, but we guess that it’s tricky to make Windows based games stable on the Linux based Steam OS. First machines were running Nvidia hardware followed by some prototypes running Intel graphics hardware and AMD was shy to show its cards running in Steam OS machines for quite some time.
The recent Steam OS 105 update had updated AMD drivers to latest release called 14.4 which indicates that AMD cards should run just fine.
Silver lining for AMD?
On the other hand more than a dozen manufacturers have committed to manufacture Steam OS based machines including Alienware, Alternate, CyberPowerPC, Digital Storm, Falcon NW, GigaByte, iBuyPower, Maingear, Materiel.net, Next Spa, Origin PC, Scan, Webhallen and Zotac.
Oddly enough, AMD might even benefit from this delay, as it will have more time to prepare its hardware and driver for the final machine release. On the other hand there are no guaranties that Steam OS and Steam Machines will be successful, although we like the concept.
The way we see Steam OS machines is that this is nothing other than small factor PC that doesn’t run Windows. We would prefer a Windows option for added functionality, in a small form factor if necessary, but it’s hard to say goodbye to the Windows productivity option.
On the other hand since people mostly use PCs to surf the net, social not-working and content consumption, it is not necessary to have Windows on many of them. Steam OS will give users the ability to enjoy PC games without having to deal with Windows, or pay for the OS.
Whether or not this will be enough to make Steam OS machines successful remains to be seen.