It has been a little over half a year since the release of Valve’s Steam Machine, and Valve recently announced that it has shipped over 500,000 units of its new Steam Controller — a number that seems somewhat low in comparison to the machine’s console competitors. But in addition to the already low figure, Ars Technica has confirmed that the actual number of Steam Machines sold is much lower, because that 500k number corresponds to the number of Steam Controllers sold, not actual console units.
Valve created the Steam Machine to tap into the living room console market. Machines made by third party companies like Alienware, Maingear, and Syber allow for console competitive prices and performance that utilize the extensive games library associated with Steam.
Steam Machines seem to target a very limited niche in the gaming market — users who solely game on consoles but who might want to dabble in PC gaming without completely abandoning the comfort of a controller. The livelihood of the Steam Machine was further complicated by Valve’s creation of the Steam Link. The Steam Link is a much cheaper option ($50) for those looking to play games in their living room. The Steam Link uses your existing computer and games library to stream games over Wi-Fi to any TV connected to the Steam Link. Freedom of controller choice allows for even more comfort in playing games from your couch.
Steam Machine sales numbers may seem woeful for PC users that seek to play their massive PC game library from the comfort of their couch, but fear not, the answer lies in a much smaller, much cheaper option; the Steam Link.