Alienware will update its Steam Machine hardware every year, according to general manager Frank Azor. In an interview with TrustedReviews, Azor said a lack of upgradability on the recently unveiled model will basically require the company to keep pushing out new versions each year to keep up with games as they become more and more resource intensive. "There will be no customization options, you can’t really update it," he said of the company's first Steam Machine. Azor said some basic customization options may be available; you may be able to pick a faster CPU or upgrade the amount of memory, for instance. But for the most part, what you get is what you get. "Lifecycle wise, consoles update every five, six, seven years. We will be updating our Steam Machines every year," he said.
The Alienware Steam Machine is expected to be priced competitively with the latest pair of home gaming consoles from Microsoft and Sony. Still, in the years to come, developers will learn how to get the most from the hardware inside those devices and keep optimizing their games. Blockbuster games released five years down the line will still run perfectly on a day one PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. The same can't be said for PC titles, which again highlights the difference in approach between Valve and console makers. Will consumers be willing to upgrade their living room gaming PC every year or two? If they decide to bite the bullet, Azor points out that Steam OS makes it easy. "If you update your hardware, your games will still be there and work."
Update: Alienware has clarified that the Steam Machine will technically be upgradable. Just don't expect it to be a piece of cake. "Considering we've purposefully designed the Alienware Steam Machine to be smaller than the latest generation consoles, upgrading the internal components will not be as easy as compared to other platforms, such as the Alienware X51, but we will not prevent a customer from upgrading," writes the company.