Valve has just made the second of its three announcements this week: Steam Machines.
The company is working with “multiple partners” to bring a variety of SteamOS-equipped PCs to the market in 2014, but will bring its own “high performance” prototype machine (which it doesn't once refer to as the Steam Box) to a limited pool of beta testers before the end of 2013.
Your quest for the first SteamOS hardware
Anybody can enter the pool to receive one of the (free) 300 beta boxes by completing an “Eligibility Quest” on Steam. To do so, they must join the Steam Universe community group, agree to the beta test terms and conditions, have at least ten Steam friends, create a public Steam Community profile and play a game using a gamepad in Steam’s Big Picture mode. This must all be done by 25th October.
30 or fewer testers will be chosen based on their past contributions to the Steam community, but the rest will be selected at random from those who have completed the above steps. So even if you’re not a Steam veteran, you still have a chance to get your hands on Valve’s SteamOS machine by the end of the year.
No spec or design info... yet
Valve is remaining tight-lipped on the specs and design of its box but says it will reveal more “soon”. It will, however, be able to play any of the 3,000 games already on Steam, with “hundreds” already running natively on SteamOS and the rest available via in-home streaming. The company also say that the hardware will be open and upgradeable.
You’ll also be able to build your own PC hardware and install SteamOS on it for free – but Valve hasn’t said when it’ll be available.
Yesterday we wrote about why we think SteamOS will be the platform to finally bring PC gaming to the living room. You can read the article here.
Meanwhile, Valve will make its final Steam announcement on Friday at 6pm UK time. Please be Half-Life 3, please be Half-Life 3, please be Half-Life 3...