Alienware Alpha price cut could signal big changes for the former Steam Machine

alienware alpha

Alienware's Alpha quietly received a price cut this morning. which could portend either good news or bad news for the Steam-Machine-turned-console-competitor.

The base-model Alpha was introduced in November at $550, including a wireless Xbox 360 game controller, dual-core Core i3 and GeForce GTX 860m graphics. That same Alpha is now being offered  for $500 with a "limited time pricing" tag.

Alienware didn't comment on the price change, but the possible reasons for the change range from good to bad.

The most obvious is the Alpha just isn't selling, despite fairly positive reviews. It is, after all, the company's Steam Machine, which was repurposed for Windows after Valve's gaming OS failed to materialize last year.

Alienware Alpha

Alienware's Steam Machine before it was turned into the Alpha.

Alienware threw a Hail Mary pass with the aging hardware and began selling it with its own 10-foot user interface as a console competitor.

Alienware, a part of PC giant Dell, hasn't released sales figures for the Alpha itself, and Dell rarely breaks out sales figures for individual computers. In conversations with Alienware executives as recently as CES, they seemed pleased with the sales and reception the Alpha received.

The price change could, in fact, be reacting to reception of that particular model and the company's intent to ratchet up sales of the Alpha—or even clear out models to make way for new ones.

Why this matters: When Steam OS failed to materialize last year, many believed Valve's Steam Machine initiative was dead. Some PC OEMs we've privately interviewed felt the same—but not all of them. This move also all comes ahead of the Game Developers Conference in March, which may showcase Valve's long-awaited Steam OS. 

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