Alienware will release new Steam Machines each year

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CNET Editor

Nic Healey can usually be found on a couch muttering about aspect ratios and 7.1 channel sound - which is helpful given that he's the home entertainment guy at CNET.

The idea behind Valve's Steam Machine is to take the best aspects of the gaming PC and place it in the console-dominated territory of the lounge room.

The Alienware Steam Machine seen at CES 2014.

(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

Certainly most PC gamers would regard customisation and the ability to upgrade components as two of the better aspects of a PC, so it seems a little odd that Alienware has chosen to give its Steam Machine neither of these features.

Alienware was one of the more high profile names to debut Steam Machine designs at the recent CES 2014, all of which generated a great deal of buzz and excitement.

However, in an interview with TrustedReviews, Alienware's GM Frank Azor has revealed that the company's Steam Machine is neither customisable, nor can any element of it be upgraded.

"We will be updating our Steam Machines every year," Azor told TrustedReviews, later adding that "there will be no customisation options — you can't really update it".

He clarified that there will be some configuration options when buying an Alienware Steam Machine — "maybe you can get a faster CPU, maybe some more memory, something like that" — but said that people wanting a fully upgradeable experience should look to the standard Alienware range.

Given that many Steam Machines are expected to be priced just under the current next-gen consoles, this seems like an odd decision. Consoles are certainly an initially expensive outlay, but the length of the product's life cycle (and the non-gaming entertainment functionality) makes them ultimately a worthwhile proposition.

The life cycle of PC components, on the other hand, is far quicker. Would consumers really feel comfortable buying a whole new Steam Machine each year in order to keep up with advancements in game design? Alienware may think so, but we'll wait and see on that front.

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BlakeE1 posted a comment   

Even if they released a new Steam Machin every 12 months, the hardware would be far from obsolete, I know people with GTX 550s that can still play Battlefield 3 on decent enough settings. Console hardware only lasts as long as it does between upgrade cycles because the games are tailored to the crappy hardware, having to play at lower resolutions upscaled and on lower details. Don't make the general population dumber by feeding them this crap.

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