Valve announces Steam Machines – Beta registration begins

Valve has today announced what many have expected for quite some time now, is their entry into the console market with tailor made consoles that aren’t simply a one size fits all approach – Steam Machines. Gamers will be able to choose a console that suits their needs as the company works with partners to make it all happen. The consoles will be running Valve’s newly announced SteamOS. Head on over to the official Steam Machines page for more details about the Beta participation where 300 lucky users will be sent a console.

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Questions!

When can I buy one?!

Beginning in 2014, there will be multiple SteamOS machines to choose from, made by different manufacturers.
I’m pretty happy with my PC Gaming setup, do I have to buy a new piece of hardware now?
No. Everything that we’ve been doing on Steam for the last 10 years will continue to move forward.
If you guys are delivering an OS to hardware manufacturers, why is Valve also making its own box?
We’re conducting a beta of the overall Steam living-room experience, so we needed to build prototype hardware on which to run tests. At Valve we always rely on real-world testing as part of our design process. The specific machine we’re testing is designed for users who want the most control possible over their hardware. Other boxes will optimize for size, price, quietness, or other factors.

How will you choose the 300 beta participants?

A small number of users (30 or less) will be chosen based on their past community contributions and beta participation. The remainder will be chosen at random from the eligible pool.

Should I create lots of Steam accounts to increase my chances of getting selected?


No, that won’t work.

What are the specs of the Valve prototype?

We’ll tell you more about it soon. Remember, there will ultimately be several boxes to choose from, with an array of specifications, price, and performance.

Where’s a picture of it? How big is it?

We promise we’ll tell you more about it soon.

When will the prototypes ship?

This year.

Will beta testers be allowed to share info about their experience and post pictures and opinions online?

Yes, that really is the whole point. The input from testers should come in many forms: bug reports, forum posts, concept art, 3D prints, haikus, and also very publicly stated opinions.

Will I be able to build my own box to run SteamOS?

Yes.

Can I hack this box? Run another OS? Change the hardware? Install my own software? Use it to build a robot?

Sure.

Can I download the OS to try it out?

You will be able to download it (including the source code, if you’re into that) but not yet.

If I’m not in the beta, how can I help and contribute feedback?

The Steam Universe Group is where feedback is being collected. Most areas of the group will remain open for participation by all Steam users. Some may be limited to beta participants only, but there will be plenty of ways to contribute feedback for everyone.

What games will be available during the beta?

The nearly 3,000 games on Steam. Hundreds already running natively on the SteamOS, with more to come. The rest will work seamlessly via in-home streaming.

What is SteamOS? What’s included?

Here’s a link to what we said earlier about SteamOS. We’ll have more details to tell you, soon.
Am I going to be using a mouse and a keyboard in the living-room?
If you want. But Steam and SteamOS work well with gamepads, too. Stay tuned, though – we have some more to say very soon on the topic of input.

 

Written by: Rob Cram

Rob Cram has hundreds of video game reviews, thousands of articles under his belt with years of experience in gaming and tech. He aims to remain fair and free from publisher/developer influence. With his extensive knowledge, feels his gaming opinions are valid and worth sharing. Agreement with his views are entirely optional. He might have a bias towards cyberpunk.

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