Back in 2013, Valve sent out some Steam Machines to a lucky few beta testers, and recently at CES 2014, the company unveiled a whole host of Steam Machines that are being built by 13 different companies, giving gamers a wide variety of options to choose from. However the question remains, why doesn’t Valve just build their own Steam Machine? After all wouldn’t it be much easier for Valve to control the entire process from start to end? We have seen this method succeed with Apple where both hardware and software are controlled all the way through, so why not attempt to replicate Apple’s success? As it turns out, Valve revealed it was never the end goal to make their own machines, but rather to provide the groundwork and platform and let other companies take over.
Considering that Valve is primarily a software company, it certainly makes sense for them to license out the production of Steam Machines to companies who have already established themselves in the hardware manufacturing side of things, similar to how Google licenses out Android to companies such as HTC and Samsung who already have production plants and machinery all set up and ready to go. However Valve plans to be more hands-on in the production of Steam Machines, rather than just sitting back and raking in the cash. They admit that the success of the Steam Machines ultimately benefits Valve and the Steam platform as well and that it is in their best interest to ensure a certain level of quality in them.
Will Valve eventually make their own hardware? That’s hard to say and while Valve admits that this isn’t the goal at the moment, we have seen in the past how companies like Microsoft have shocked their OEM partners by creating and manufacturing their own hardware in the form of the Surface tablet. We guess we will just have to wait and find out.