Thirteen hardware makers threw their hats in the Steam Machine ring at CES 2014, kicking off a key component of Gabe Newell and Co’s push to bring PC gaming to the living room.
One name not in the lot was Razer, which this week unveiled its own spin on democratizing PC gaming called Project Christine.
We asked Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan point blank if his company will make a Steam Machine, and while he didn’t provide a point-blank answer, he’s certainly on board with what Valve is trying to do.
"One of the biggest [comments] I keep getting is, ‘It would be insane for you to do a Steam Machine’ and stuff like that because we lead the ID and the design, and they are huge leaders on the software level.
"I’m really passionate about Steam Machines, but the difference for us is we run on our own schedule. Just as Valve runs its own schedule, we run our own schedule.
"But I will put myself on the record to say I’m extremely passionate about what they do. Hugely passionate. That’s where I am."
While Tan told us some have referred to Razer as the hardware version of Valve, he said the two companies are different.
"We’re more from a company that creates product," he said, also noting that "we wouldn’t put ourselves in the league of Valve."
And there’s nothing but admiration from one CEO to the other.
"I think Gabe [Newell] is an incredibly smart person," Tan said. "Steam is the first thing I installed on all my PCs."
Can Steam Machines succeed?
There are similar threads between what Valve is attempting to do with Steam Machines and Razer’s Project Christine concept. Both are looking to open the technology they specialize in to a broader audience.
The similarities aren’t lost on Tan.
"I think [Valve opening Steam Machines to other manufacturers] is great," he said. "It’s likewise for us. We want to open up the hardware spec. That would be incredible for us. We’re also a really flat organization, and we’re also highly secretive over everything.
"But we’re also a much younger company, and we’re a much smaller company. I think they have a huge amount of depth, but we’re growing really fast. I think our philosophies are really similar, and I’m excited about what our thoughts are for SteamOS."
Though Tan didn’t say it, Project Christine could potentially run SteamOS, along with any number of operating systems. Christine could then become the company’s Steam Machine, per say though the project’s release date (if it ever has one) is far down the road.
More immediately, Tan’s of the opinion that what Valve is doing with its Steam Machine partners won’t fail.
"If anybody can do it, it’s Valve," he said. "And I’m pretty sure that it’s got a good shot at being really successful. It’s going to be difficult, don’t get me wrong. But if I were a betting man, which I’m not, I would bet on that."
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