Valve announced today that the launch of the Steam Machines have been delayed until 2015 at the earliest. The company stated that they needed more time to perfect the rather unique Steam Controller. This controller features two haptic-feedback trackpads as opposed to conventional thumbsticks and has already undergone drastic redesigns. This announcement will definitely impact the 14 manufacturers currently planning on selling Steam Machines.
The delay for the controller is understandable. With no traditional thumbsticks, the input needs to be extremely precise. The initial prototype for the Steam Controller was quite controversial as it featured no face buttons or a D-Pad of any sort. Valve claims that this form of input will replicate the precision of traditional thumbsticks, which compared to a mouse aren’t particularly precise. The company has stated in the past that this form of control is actually more precise than a joystick. Whether or not this is true is yet to be seen as very few people have had extensive time with the controller or any Steam Machine for that matter.
Valve initially planned on releasing the Steam Machines earlier this year running Steam OS as a new way to bring PC’s into the living room. Many of these machines were designed to target the console market. A select number of Steam Machines have retail prices that very closely match those of a PS4 or Xbox One. These machines would also come with the benefits of the Steam service including massive sales that are virtually unseen on consoles.
This news has upset a good number of Valve fans looking forward to the release of the Steam Machines, with many claiming they would have purchased a console if they new these devices were going to be delayed so extensively. This delay may have an affect on the overall sales of these devices as they will no longer hit the holiday season release date. However, it is more important for the Steam Machines to release fully functional instead of early and unfinished.
Currently, about 474 games on Steam are compatible with Linux, the OS running underneath Steam OS. Valve claims more games will become compatible as time progresses, and the company will likely support the Steam Machines with their own titles. Half Life 3 perhaps?