If you live in the US this may be some relevant news for you: according to Wired, GameStop will be the official distributor for Steam Machines in the USA. GAME UK will do the same in the UK, as well as EB Games in Canada. I am not sure how many folks actually still shop in such games retail shops, since Online Shopping is progressively becoming more practical and cheaper for about everything, but this may bring some additional visibility of Steam Machines to a wider audience. After All this is part of Gabe’s strategy:
Creating a ‘store within a store’ across North America and the UK is a significant win for getting the first generation of Steam Hardware products into gamers’ hands.
The partnership between Valve and GameStop was not that surprising, since pre-orders were already started back in June. What is surprising, however, is that it seems to be an exclusive deal:
GameStop will be the exclusive brick-and-mortar retailer of Steam Machines and the Steam Controller
This is a little bit surprising since Valve’s stance is that “every manufacturer can build Steam Machines” – it’s a little strange to see the retail of hardware limited to specific shops. It probably makes sense for Valve as they have to provide some kind of support (especially for the Steam Controllers) and having a single distributor makes things easier for them.
You can also expect GameStop to be the place to go to for the upcoming VR Valve-HTC Hardware, since Paul Raines, the CEO of GameStop, recently declared he wanted ot make his shops the “destination for VR“.
What about other countries and geographies? Well there’s nothing clear at this stage. The Steam store itself is showing the Steam Controller as unavailable for pre-order if you do not live in any of the supported locations (like me). That is a shame since you could believe international shipping would be an alternative to local distribution, but so far it’s not the case at least for pre-orders – hopefully the situation will change once the hardware is officially available.
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