While Alienware’s take on the Steam Machine looks to be the most appealing at present (in my opinion, at least), prospective buyers may not be so happy to know that they will be unable to simply rip out hardware components at their leisure after receiving one.
Frank Azor, General Manager of the Dell-owned hardware vendor, stated that “there will be no customisation options, you can’t really update it”. Interestingly, however, Azor did make mention that Alienware will instead announce a new revision of their Steam Machine each year.
Although we haven’t acquired any specific pricing details for this machine, yet, we can assume that purchasing a brand, new box every twelve months may not be the most cost effective method of keeping your gaming rig up-to-date. Arguably, anyway.
However, for those customers who find appeal in small form factor PCs and want some customisation options available on purchase, the Alienware X51 may be a viable alternative.
The idea of replacing one’s PC (whether it be a primary box, or otherwise) every 12 months is in stark contrast when compared to the typical service lifecycle enjoyed by current popular gaming consoles– we’re talking six to eight years, here– but, having said this, it can also be argued that SteamOS simply isn’t destined to be placed inside a box that sits on your entertainment unit for several years on end.
Valve has made it more than clear that Steam Machines, whilst being solid options for those seeking to purchase a device optimised (I say this nervously, of course) for the experience, are not the only way to enjoy SteamOS in your home. In fact, it almost goes without saying that many users will prefer being able to build their own Steam Machine from scratch!
What do you think? Is an annual upgrade considered reasonable for console owners? Genuinely take into account the fact that these are really only just PCs with a customised software ‘skin’.
How do you believe this machine will stack up at launch when compared to the competition (most of which have an array of components that are user-serviceable)? and how should Alienware price this forthcoming device if it wants to make the impact required to have units flying into the homes of gamers? Discuss…