If Microsoft is serious about PC games, Xbox One should be the real Steam Machine. Here's some interesting reading from VG247 on how Valve's living room centric Steam Machine plot failed, and how Microsoft—fresh off a years-long stint of pretending PC gaming doesn't exist—could partner with Steam and pick up where they left off.
"Let's be honest here, Valve has blown its chance with Steam Machines. Last year was supposed to be the start of a campaign to shuffle Steam into the living room, and, for a few moments, it looked as though Steam could challenge the entire console concept. But it hasn't. Steam Machines has already failed. While manufacturers did what they were bid and put together some suitably sci-fi-ish hardware, the entire initiative has been confused from the start. Multiple specs, multiple price-points, no clarity. No one ever knew what would play what, and "that controller" is still nowhere near, well, anything. Steam Machines died before it even lived."
"Whatever the reason for Valve's failure as regards Steam Machines – an ill-fated step outside of core competency, or merely a lack of adequate scale are most likely to blame – the truth is that Microsoft could score a mammoth exclusive and revolutionise the PC experience in one fell swoop: if Phil and the gang can broker a big-ticket deal to stream Steam games onto TVs via Xbox One, we could be looking at a mould-breaking move. Steam featured in the presentation last night, as did the Steam logo in the Windows 10 taskbar, and Microsoft said in post-event interviews that talks are ongoing to allow game streaming from PC to Xbox One. Magic space goggles? Come back in five years. This is the development you should be watching."
Am I hopeful? Not really. Microsoft's video game announcements, even while focusing on PC, were heavily slanted in favor of Xbox. The software behemoth might have finally fe-fi-fo-fummed it's way back into the PC gaming arena, but this feels more like consolidation than expansion. Instead of focusing on PC's strengths, announcements so far have been about sticking Xbox One and PC in a room together until they pop out some kind of strange Frankenstein mutant lovechild.
That said, it'd be incredibly rad if Microsoft did partner with Steam to stream tons of weird, offbeat games to the living room—to fulfill some of the promise of Steam Machines but without all the complicated hardware configurations. I suppose we'll see.