Valve has published an update on its range of Steam Machine branded third-party PCs, prompted by recent reports the initiative was dead in the water.
To be fair, these reports were prompted by Valve itself - specifically, by the company's recent, quiet removal of its Steam Machine category from Steam's front page.
In short, yes the range was removed from the homepage because of lack of interest - and yes the range has failed to sell, although statistics to that effect are old news.
Here is Valve's statement in full:
"We've noticed that what started out as a routine cleanup of the Steam Store navigation turned into a story about the delisting of Steam Machines," Valve's Pierre-Loup wrote via a Steam blog post. "That section of the Steam Store is still available, but was removed from the main navigation bar based on user traffic. Given that this change has sparked a lot of interest, we thought it'd make sense to address some of the points we've seen people take away from it.
"While it's true Steam Machines aren't exactly flying off the shelves, our reasons for striving towards a competitive and open gaming platform haven't significantly changed. We're still working hard on making Linux operating systems a great place for gaming and applications. We think it will ultimately result in a better experience for developers and customers alike, including those not on Steam.
"Through the Steam Machine initiative, we've learned quite a bit about the state of the Linux ecosystem for real-world game developers out there. We've taken a lot of feedback and have been heads-down on addressing the shortcomings we observed. We think an important part of that effort is our ongoing investment in making Vulkan a competitive and well-supported graphics API, as well as making sure it has first-class support on Linux platforms.
"Recently we announced Vulkan availability for macOS and iOS, adding to its existing availability for Windows and Linux. We also rolled out Steam Shader Pre-Caching, which will let users of Vulkan-based applications skip shader compilation on their local machine, significantly improving initial load times and reducing overall runtime stuttering in comparison with other APIs. We'll be talking more about Shader Pre-Caching in the coming months as the system matures.
"At the same time, we're continuing to invest significant resources in supporting the Vulkan ecosystem, tooling and driver efforts. We also have other Linux initiatives in the pipe that we're not quite ready to talk about yet; SteamOS will continue to be our medium to deliver these improvements to our customers, and we think they will ultimately benefit the Linux ecosystem at large."
There's no suggestion Valve is working revive the Steam Machine brand anytime soon, then - although we're intrigued to find out what those other initiatives it has in the pipeline.