Valve has announced that it will delay the launch of its Steam Machine hardware range and the companion Steam Controller until 2015.
On the company's Steam blog, product designer Eric Hope, posting under his screen name of Axiom, said that the shift would allow Valve to improve the Steam Controller:
"We're now using wireless prototype controllers to conduct live playtests, with everyone from industry professionals to die-hard gamers to casual gamers. It's generating a ton of useful feedback, and it means we'll be able to make the controller a lot better. Of course, it's also keeping us pretty busy making all those improvements."
The controller has seen a few iterations, with the most recent design featuring a combination of dual trackpads and buttons. CNET's Eric Mack tried it out earlier in the year, noting that he "wasn't sold" on the trackpads and that a few other elements needed tweaking.
The controller is one of the three elements of Valve's strategy to take on dedicated gaming consoles in the lounge room, along with SteamOS and the Steam Machine itself. Arguably the controller is the most important element, needing to replace a traditional keyboard and mouse combination in a way that's intuitive and comfortable for a wide range of gameplay styles.
Valve didn't say what this announcement means for its hardware partners. At CES 2014, 13 companies announced that they would be making Steam Machines, including heavyweights such as Origin PC and Alienware. Given that, at its core, the Steam Machine is just a small scale gaming PC, third parties could choose to release these products, possibly just without any Valve or Steam branding.
CNET has contacted Alienware for a comment and we will update if more information comes to hand.
Update, 4.58 p.m. AEST: A spokesperson for Alienware said that the company had no comment to make regarding Valve's announcement.