Liam Dawe is killing it. Here’s his list of what Valve needs to get done in order to get SteamOS back on track, One thing that has been really bothering me, where’s the support for Linux/SteamOS with the HTC Vive?:
Their own VR device is not yet Linux compatible. I don’t know what the issues are and I don’t care. I think it’s utterly ridiculous that Valve made a Linux push with SteamOS and Steam Machines but their flagship VR device doesn’t even support it. I’m not a fan of VR–yet–mainly because I haven’t used a proper one before to change my mind. I would have personally purchased a Vive, but Valve and HTC seem to be reminding me again how Linux is still a low priority for them.
Having Linux/SteamOS locked out of a major new platform for playing games has already hurt us and the longer it doesn’t support us the more people will switch over to their Windows installs (or re-install Windows) because “VR is not on Linux”.
The only communication I can see from Valve on this was a one liner:
We are working on it but it’s not ready yet.
That was back in March and no official update since then.
The Vive also listed SteamOS right up until launch, then suddenly, Windows only. What happened to communication?
One VR developer I spoke with was has been wondering the same thing.
Valve’s first foray into home computing hardware, the Steam Machine collaborations with various computer makers, have sold fewer than 500,000 units since they were released last November. A figure estimated by Ars Technica via the number of Steam Controllers sold which includes Steam Machines as a portion of that total:
Half a million might not sound like a bad sales number for a brand new hardware platform, but it starts to look pretty tepid in the context of the wider gaming market. Both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One sold over a million consoles in their first day on the market in 2013. After just over seven months on store shelves, Microsoft was up to about 5.5 million Xbox One sales and the PS4 had racked up 10.2 million worldwide sales. That’s what a successful gaming hardware launch looks like these days.
Valve is often guilty of starting something and then just giving up on it without iterating to find success. Their cousins at Microsoft would have had the same issue if they gave up on the original Xbox which sold only 24 million consoles over its first 7 years and was another system frequently referred to as a failure.
Sales figures of hardware over the course of a few months aren’t necessarily going to make or break a company, but I believe that Valve still needs SteamOS.
Quantum Break, the remastered Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, Forza Motorsport 6: Apex, the upcoming games Halo Wars 2 and ReCore are all exclusive to Windows 10’s built-in app store. SteamOS and Steam Machines continue to be a hedge against Microsoft’s built-in Windows app store restrictions that Valve will need to remain competitive in the event of even more anti-competitive changes to Windows.
Liam Dawe of Gaming on Linux is right on about the lack of advertising hurting sales of the nascent Steam Machines and SteamOS/Linux games:
We are facing real issues, like a lack of bigger platform-pushing titles and performance. Valve do need to up their own advertising a bit too, not just of Steam Machines, but of new Linux releases. They give big homepage banners to plenty of new Windows releases, but only a few SteamOS releases have been graced with such advertising. Valve haven’t even managed to get their own VR device with HTC on Linux yet, they need to up their own game.