At GDC this month Valve announced that they will finally ship the Steam Controller and Steam Link later this year, opening up the possibility for third party manufacturers to ship their own Steam Machines with a Steam Controller. This again brought out a multitude of articles questioning who would want a Steam Machine; everyone who wants to game already has a gnarly PC and people that don’t want to set up a PC or want to play in their living room have a console. However ,I want one. I don’t have a console or a serious PC and I think there are plenty of people like me that could consider buying a low-mid range Steam Machine.
In the last year I got into some casual gaming on my laptop, starting with Valve’s own classic - Half Life - and then moving on to some GTA, Portal and Half Life 2. Even though these games are well aged, they still manage to push my wee MacBook Air a bit harder than I would like. What would be great is if I had some way of playing any game I wanted (within reason, I wouldn’t expect it to be able to push GTA V in VR or something crazy like that) without worrying about compatibility or performance.
Notice the key word I used there: compatibility. Buying an XBox One or PS4 today would mean I could play most games realeased in the next decade, but at the moment there are plenty of games I would like to play that are from the previous console generation, or even before that (Far Cry, the original GTA ‘trilogy’). For this there is little better than a mid-range PC, and while you’ve got that why not make your life easier  and get a Linux based OS that is built for gaming: SteamOS? (Obviously if I wanted to play older games I would have to dual boot Windows, which would take away a lot of the streamlined appeal.)
So while everyone is ragging on Valve for introducing something that they don’t want to buy because they can’t imagine anyone without a beast of a gaming PC or a shiny new console, I honestly think that if SteamOS is picked up by some decent indie developers it could entice a lot of casual gamers.