When Valve announced Steam Deck, the concept of a handheld gaming PC, many could not help but think back to the Steam machines.
Announced in September 2013 and finally released in November 2015, these were pre-built small PCs that ran Valve’s SteamOS and came with the Steam controller. Initially, Valve received support from various PC vendors such as Alienware, Origin PC, Zotac and Maingear; However, most of them had already discontinued Steam machines by the end of 2016, and it is estimated that less than half a million units were sold in total (although Valve never released official sales figures). Even Valve itself finally removed Steam machines from Steam back in April 2018.
But to IGN, the engineers behind Steam Deck explained that Steam Machines, along with other products, helped Valve nail the upcoming handheld.
Greg Coomer: Steam Deck feels like the culmination of much of the previous work. Steam Link has proven really valuable in figuring out what it means to stream games from PCs. The Steam controller was really valuable, it taught us a lot about what is needed and valuable for a customer. So all the previous products really feel like they have informed this one.
Lawrence Yang: When we say culmination, we really mean that it is not only the combination of the hardware we built, but also the experience that our team members gained while making hardware products. All of these are things we’ve done before, and we’ll just draw on all the previous experience to make this device as good as we can.
Greg Coomer: Steam Machines was a very good idea. The operating system was not quite there, the number of games you could play on the system was not quite there. Actually, we have looked at a lot of what we have learned as boxers that we had to check if we were ever to talk to customers about that category again. We did not really want to bring this device to the customers until we felt that it was ready and that all the boxes were marked, essentially. But definitely, by doing so, I do not think we would have made as much progress on Steam Deck if we had not had that experience.
Given the Steam machines, do you still believe in Valve to deliver a great product with Steam Deck? Tell us in the comments.