I suspect that Steam is part of Atari's unannounced news that has been alluded to several times on the Atari VCS Founders Discord channel times by the Atari moderators who are telling us that there will be some big news revealed after the console has officially launched. When Steam CEO, Gabe Newell replies "You'll have a better idea of that by the end of the year." to the question "Will Steam be coming to console or staying on PC?" I can only think this must mean the Atari VCS.
Atari announced a partnership with Ultra last Sept, but we have seen nothing of that so it is not a new announcement, but more of unfulfilled partnership. We have already seen Atari add a couple gaming services to the VCS so why would Atari not also add Steam. It seems Atari's strategy is more partnerships & services than making their own content and Steam has a huge library (new, old and indie) so this would fit that model. Personally I would rather have Steam than Ultra.
- Barring additional delays it is the only new console that is launching this year that would be capable of running Steam what else is launching this year that would be a platform that could easy integrate Steam since by design the Atari VCS has standard PC components and runs Linux so that would make it easier to implement adding Steam and getting games to run that are in the Steam library than it would be with closed platforms with highly customized hardware & software such as the PlayStation, XBOX or Switch.
- Why would Sony, Microsoft or even Nintendo be interested in Steam on their consoles as they have plenty of content and adding a third party game store like Steam would essentially take the cut of the sale from them since their ecosystem is profit from their own stores.
- Amico which might release this year is ARM based, PS5, XBOX Series X/S and Switch have already launched and also are closed platforms in term of architecture OS. Atari has the only console with standard PC architecture.
- Steam in the past few years has made moves to make the platform it own service by creation of the Steam OS and introduction of Steam Machines that promote Linux as a viable alternative Windows. Steam also wants to reach gamers who sit on the sofa as opposed PC gaming. Unfortunately Steam Machines didn't sell well as generic devices. The Atari VCS would give Steam a dedicated platform that opens a direct market to console gamers on a device from a company that is long established with console gaming and who is now selling a device that promotes Linux as a viable platform for gaming.
- It is a logical and beneficial pairing for Atari since it gives VCS the steady stream of content that it needs.
To me such an arrangement of adding Steam to Atari VCS OS would be a huge win for the traditional console gamers, since it in effect opens up PC exclusive titles to those gamers who miss out on a such titles since they cannot easily play them from the comfort of their sofas in front of their HD TV.
The Atari VCS trolls will still knock the console and say that this just makes Atari VCS a Steam Machine and offers no value as video game console should Steam be added a service to the Atari OS. What they don't want to acknowledge is that there are many console gamers who aren't playing games that are on the PC since many of them have no desire to go through the hassle to to setting up a PC or some number of those gamers who are not technically proficient enough to do that or even those would find PC mode to be a challenge to get up & running on the Atari VCS. Overall Steam running as its own service on the Atari VCS OS would be much less clunky & confusing for those type of gamers. The Atari VCS can with Steam can make those games easily accessible to those type of gamers and open a market to publishers of a whole new audience they have no direct access access to on traditional video game consoles.