Yes, I was 16 when the 3DO came out. Also, I know that some great franchises, like NFS, started on 3DO.
From a business and financial standpoint, the 3DO and Steam machine are pretty much identical.
On the hardware front, company A creates the design, builds a prototype, and licenses the technology so companies B, C, D, and E manufacture it and assume all the risks and costs in the supply chain (manufacturing, sales, etc.) while company A laughs all the way to the bank to cash the licensing fee checks.
On the software front, company A builds a middleware in which games will run, and sells licenses so that companies W, X, Y, Z can write games for said machine while assuming all risk and costs associated with game development. Meanwhile, company A laughs all the way to the bank to cash those licensing fee checks. At least, Valve also has its delivery system to avoid inventory and shipping expenses.
No wonder hardware builders that signed up for this never went past the prototype stage.