In this day and age, there are two approaches when a company is hit with bad PR. On the one hand, a company can stay fully committed to their agenda, even after considerable gamer backlash (see: King and their trademark claim against The Banner Saga). Or, they can backtrack — doing their best job to calm gamer fears concerning one issue or another.
Such backtracking has apparently taken place at Alienware, who have since changed their stance on upgrading their forthcoming Steam Machine. Now, according to Alienware, it appears the Steam Machine models will have customization options, but there is a catch.
In an official statement released today, Alienware CEO Frank Azor provided further clarification regarding his company’s Steam Machine being non-upgradable. According to Azor, the Steam Machines will support upgrading. However, doing so will not be easy.
Because Alienware’s Steam Machine is much smaller than an average PC, getting to the various components will apparently take some additional effort and wherewithal. At the same time, Alienware will not seek to prevent any Steam Machine owner from upgrading their device.
“Enabling customers the opportunity to upgrade components has been a core tenet for Alienware since the company was founded, and that remains true today. The Alienware Steam Machine, announced at CES, is designed to deliver a great gaming experience in the living room and we will enable customers to upgrade components. Considering we’ve purposefully designed the Alienware Steam Machine to be smaller than the latest generation consoles, upgrading the internal components will not be as easy as compared to other platforms, such as the Alienware X51, but we will not prevent a customer from upgrading.”
Azor wanted to again stress that those gamers who are looking for a truly upgradeable machine will likely want to look elsewhere, as that is not the true intent of the Alienware Steam Machine. Nowadays, the common PC is built with plenty of plug-and-play components that upgrading is fairly easy.
Unfortunately for casual or console-only gamers, the Steam Machine conversation is only getting more confusing. While the end-goal of the device is supposed to be ease of use, as well as perfect integration with the Steam platform, that doesn’t appear to be the case…so far. If some devices are upgradeable and others are not, and some are annual releases and others are not, how are consumers supposed to know which Steam Machine best suits their needs?
Moreover, if Valve is not developing their own Steam Machine that may cause even more confusion. Valve is responsible for Steam, but a company like Alienware makes a Steam Machine? For some gamers that might be very confusing.
Yet, it’s still early, and only Alienware has come forward to offer additional details about their Steam Machine. The 13 or so other manufacturers are still keeping quiet, so perhaps they might better communicate the benefits of their Steam Machine.
How important is upgrading when it comes to the Steam Machine? Which Steam Machine are you most interested in?