Steam Machines may have disappeared from the Steam navigation bar, but that doesn’t mean they are dead.
Ever since Valve launched the Steam digital distribution platform there’s been growing frustration with the platforms it runs on, notably Windows and macOS. It got to the point where Gabe Newell decided to refocus on Linux, created SteamOS, and then kicked off a project to offer pre-built gaming computers running SteamOS called Steam Machines.
Earlier this week, the link to the Steam Machines page quietly disappeared from the main navigation bar on Steam. The reaction to this from gamers was to assume Valve is killing the project. But that’s not the case, and Valve has been quick to jump in and clarify the situation.
In a post to the Steam Community, Valve’s Pierre-Loup Griffais explained that the link on the navigation bar disappeared simply because user traffic to it was low. That in itself isn’t a good sign, and Griffais admits, “it’s true Steam Machines aren’t exactly flying off the shelves.” However, Valve is definitely not giving up on Steam Machines, SteamOS, or Linux. Far from it, in fact.
Work is continuing at Valve to push Vulkan as a graphics API and ensure first-class support for it on Linux, which includes SteamOS. So far this has meant both macOS and iOS have received a Vulkan-compatible driver called MoltenVK. Valve also released Steam Shader Pre-Caching, which both speeds up load times and reduces runtime stuttering when using the Vulkan API.
Griffais ends his post by hinting that there’s much more to come, “We also have other Linux initiatives in the pipe that we’re not quite ready to talk about yet; SteamOS will continue to be our medium to deliver these improvements to our customers, and we think they will ultimately benefit the Linux ecosystem at large.”
Clearly Steam Machines aren’t going anywhere, improvements are being made for those who choose to game on Linux, and Valve may have some interesting SteamOS-related announcements to make later this year.