Valve announces Steam Machines coming 2014

Valve announced today that they’re “working with multiple partners” to bring SteamOS based gaming systems to living rooms in 2014.

A Steam Machine prototype has been made and Valve is offering YOU the chance to test it first by participating in their “hardware beta”.

While these products are still in development, we need your help. As always, we believe the best way to ensure that the right products are getting made is to let people try them out and then make changes as we go. We have designed a high-performance prototype that’s optimized for gaming, for the living room, and for Steam. Of course, it’s also completely upgradable and open.

Valve is shipping out “just 300 of these boxes to Steam users, free of charge, for testing”. In order to be eligible to receive one of these boxes you have to complete a few simple steps.

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“The Hardware Beta Eligibility Quest” is a simple set of objectives that work the same way as objectives you would need to complete to earn yourself a steam badge. Simply join the Steam Universe community group, agree to the terms and conditions, have at least 10 people on your friends list, create a public Steam Community profile and play a game using a gamepad in Big Picture mode. That’s it.

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Once you completed all the steps you will be awarded a special badge and you can officially count yourself eligible. You have until October 25th to complete the list of steps before the list will lock. Steam will then choose 300 candidates at random (30 people will be chosen based on their community contributions and beta participation in the past) to take part in the “hardware beta”.

Valve wants to give users as much control as possible. Recipients of this particular prototype will be able to hack it, swap out components and change the software if they want. Beta testers will be allowed to share their experience by posting pictures and opinions online and provide feedback through bug reports and forum posts.

Valve has not released the specs but has said there will be several different boxes to choose from in the future with a range of different specifications, prices and performance. For those that are happy with their current PC gaming setup there’s no need to worry, Steam Machines will in no way conflict with Steam’s current platform, which will continue to move forward as normal. Valve also said that we will be able to build our own box to run SteamOS if we so choose.

Seems like the topic of discussion here is “options”, which is far different from the topic of “restrictions” that we’ve been having over the past several months involving some next-gen consoles. This should shake the industry and as a gamer who plays on multiple platforms this news is refreshing. I’m not the only one who finds this exciting. Squid, one of our very own editors had this to say when he heard the news…

Wow. That’s really cool.

For all the details on this announcement and to see how you can participate in the hardware beta you can visit the official page on Steam.

Valve has one more announcement in line with living-room gaming and Steam Machines. According to the countdown timer, that announcement will arrive Friday, September 27th at 1pm Eastern.



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