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Meet Alienware's Alpha console, a Steam Machine without SteamOS (for now)

Brad Chacos | June 10, 2014
What will happen to the big push to bring PC gaming into the living room now that Valve's delayed the Steam Controller that's oh-so-crucial for the Steam Machine vision? That was the question on everyone's lips leading up to E3, and Alienware--whose Steam Machine has been called "a console that encapsulates the full potential of what a Steam Machine should be" by Valve boss Gabe Newell--answered the question by fully unveiling the $550 Alienware Alpha, a sleek-looking Steam Machine that will still launch in 2014--but without SteamOS.

"We're not trying to build just another box that plays Battlefield 4 and Call of Duty," Azor says. "Even though this box'll do that, you have plenty of solutions out there already that are very capable and very successful at playing those games today, whether you want to play them on your PC or in your living room. We're specifically designing this box and going after this initiative for the indie guys. For the games that people have yet to discover, that aren't available on consoles, or that are available but the pricing has been prohibitive, or there hasn't been an easy enough way to experience the games. Either there isn't a demo of it, or [players] aren't aware of how many of their friends are playing the game.

"Steam is phenomenal at fostering all that," he continues, "At giving you demos, and giving you sales and things that get you pretty motivated to experiment, and try out new games. The indie infrastructure is phenomenal, and the catalog base is exceptional."

Bold words, and words designed to stir emotions of solidarity among PC enthusiasts. Will the reality match the Alienware Alpha's deep ambition? We'll know soon enough. Alienware previously said the Alpha console will ship in September, and Azor mentioned no new date in our prebrief. Several Alpha consoles will be set up in the Alienware booth for hands-on demos during E3; we'll spend some time with the SteamOS-less Steam Machine and let you know what we think.


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