At CES this year numerous manufacturers took the show’s floor to present their custom Steam Machines, including Alienware, creators of stupidly priced computers. A week after CES Alienware announced that their Steam Machine would launch in September of this year be priced to compete with current-gen consoles, which would be somewhere around £350-£450.
Sounds okay so far, right?
Here’s where things get a little surprising though: during an interview with PCR Alienware’s GM Frank Azor revealed that they’re planning on release a new Steam Machine every year, stating, “Lifecycle wise, consoles update every five, six, seven years, we will be updating our Steam Machines every year,”
Frank Azor continued by explaining that they intend on updating the platform in order for it to content with the latest hardware intensive games, “The platform will continue to evolve as the games become more resource intensive.”
Furthermore Azor confirmed that Alienware’s Steam Machine would be not be upgradeable after purchase, so if you want more powerful hardware you’ll simple have to buy a whole new machine. However, it was mentioned that there will be some configuration options to choose from when first buying the machine.
Azor pointed out that, “If you actually want to customise your Alienware Steam Machine, maybe change your graphics card out or put in a new CPU, you would be better off with the standard Alienware X51. This particular product is restricted in its upgrade options.”
And that’s the big question: if Alienware’s machine is locked, why bother buying if over a regular PC which you can update as and when you want? At this point Alienware need to reveal some serious specs for their machine for me to feel like it’s a worthwhile purchase, because not offering an option to upgrade removes one of the advantages Steam Machines hold over traditional consoles.