Gabe Newell, the force behind the Steam platform really turned up the heat at the launch of Windows 8, calling Microsoft’s modern operating system a catastrophe.

Although Valve recently decided to delay the Steam Machine platform until 2015, some other manufacturers have already announced their intentions to release these devices later this year.

And this list includes Alienware.

The company decided to launch its console, dubbed Alpha, with a custom Windows 8.1 interface that will integrate with the Big Picture mode of Steam — the big picture (pun always intended) here is that these early consoles will not be running SteamOS.

In the words of Frank Azor, general manager of Alienware:

“We can build our custom interface over Windows, but we don’t know what Windows 9’s going to be. Are we going to have to redo all that work in Windows 9? That’s why we feel that over the long term, SteamOS and the Steam gamepad are going to be the best solution.”

So long story short, the console will support SteamOS when it launches next year, and in the meantime, Alienware will sell the Alpha with an Xbox 360 controller, with pricing starting at $549.

This base price gets you an Intel Core i3 Haswell processor, a custom 2GB NVIDIA graphics processor based on the Maxwell architecture, 500GB hard disk drive, 4GB of RAM, and most of the usual ports and whistles. Customization options are also in, including processor, hard drive and memory upgrades.

You can check out all the details on the official website here.

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