The Steam Machine isn't quite dead yet. Valve delisted the hardware on its digital storefront earlier this week, leading to speculation that the company was giving up on it. But, in a post on the Steam community forums, Valve's Pierre-Loup Griffais says its removal was just a "routine cleanup."
"While it's true Steam Machines aren't exactly flying off the shelves, our reasons for striving towards a competitive and open gaming platform haven't significantly changed," he says. "We're still working hard on making Linux operating systems a great place for gaming and applications. We think it will ultimately result in a better experience for developers and customers alike, including those not on Steam."
Valve launched the first line of pre-built Steam Machines in 2015 as an alternative to Windows PC, but it failed to find a wide audience. It reportedly sold less than 500,000 units in its first seven months. Compare that to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, which both sold over a million consoles on launch day, or to the Nintendo Switch, which sold more than 10 million in 2017.
Valve says the Steam Machine section is still available on its store, but it was removed from the main navigation bar based on user traffic. Despite the tepid reception, Valve says the Steam Machine initiative taught it quite a bit about the Linux ecosystem. "We've taken a lot of feedback and have been heads-down on addressing the shortcomings we observed," Griffais says.
Valve says it's also working on other Linux initiatives, but it's not ready to talk about them 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."