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Op Ed

Joystiq - Steam Machines are nonsense and Valve is cool with that.
When someone asks whether they should buy a gaming PC or hold out for a Steam Machine, I struggle to find a reason to wait. It's certainly not in the price or the power. Maybe it's in the design, but that's a small market to attempt to capture, considering the competition in the PC space. It's not so much that I'm confused what a Steam Machine is – that's been clearly, yet oddly, defined – it's more that I'm unsure where Valve's market lies.

And there's the rub: It's not Valve's market. Valve has SteamOS and the Steam Controller, things that will exist regardless of the actual Steam Machines, and they'll probably be worth the effort. They have clear uses and markets. Valve has not made a Steam Machine of its own, and so it has nothing to lose in this first-year gamble. Valve licenses use of the Steam logo and the name, meaning it's already bringing in cash from other companies' Steam Machines. The risk belongs to the hardware manufacturers – iBuyPowers and Digital Storms alike – while Valve can collect the data and see if hardware really is a good investment. It's genius.

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