Yeah, I don't get this. Just get (or put together) a really nice PC and throw Steam on it.
I'm not saying SteamOS doesn't make sense, but this particular box doesn't make much sense. The disruption of having to shut down your main OS to boot into your gaming OS seems annoying. I can see people getting this and just staying in Windows to play their Steam games.
It makes a lot more sense for a hardware company to release a console-replacement box and not a desktop PC. I do feel that there's a UX difference between a home theater-focused console and a computer hooked up to a TV.
Not 100% certain, but isn't one of the advantages of steamOS is that it will be able to be completely controlled via the steam controller?
I don't understand this product, as one of the initiatives behind the steam machines is that itit'ss open, so, in a sense, you can slap windows on it and call it "hybrid",
IIRC Valve is working to make the Steam Controller similar to the Xbox controller in that it will be mappable when games are built.
I'm with you on the build+install front. As much as these may be getting heralded as a way to disrupt the home console they still feel way to niche to me. All the manufacturers are known gaming companies, the OS is installable on its own, and the controller will be sold separately. I don't think these are for "consumers" so much as its Valve trying to make a more unified gaming experience.
So I am just stabbing in the dark here, but can't you just save the money you would spend on this and upgrade your PC into a kickass PC for games? I only say that since it dual boots for windows and steamOS. Technically can't you do the same thing with a powerful PC and just hook it into your HDTV like how many people do so already?
I like that they're going for power, and I think dual booting Windows and SteamOS is a good idea, but I'm not sure it's really what Valve is looking for from partners. A powerful, $1900 desktop PC is nice, but SteamOS seems to be about console competition, something this PC doesn't really accomplish.
It looks really nice though, that's for sure.