So, yesterday I told you about the SteamOS, but now we have new news. Valve will be launching a new category of hardware – Steam Machines – and you can even join the hardware beta.
According to the announcement page, there will be a variety of machines to choose from:
Entertainment is not a one-size-fits-all world. We want you to be able to choose the hardware that makes sense for you, so we are working with multiple partners to bring a variety of Steam gaming machines to market during 2014, all of them running SteamOS.
Do you want one to take part in the Steam Hardware Beta? Check out the announcement page for all the eligibility details, which include making friends and going on a beta quest. The beta hardware won’t be the only Steam Machine available, though. A variety of hardware manufacturers will be able to make their own unique machines. However, you can also build your own box to run SteamOS, or hack these boxes to change to a different software.
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.
Also, it seems that Steam might also be working on a controller – according to the hardware beta sign-up page:
Valve Corporation (“Valve”, “We”, “Us” or “Our”) has developed and produced prototypes of entertainment system hardware and software, including a set-top box running custom software and a game controller (collectively: “Beta Products”). These Beta Products are currently being prepared for a limited beta testing program (“Beta Program”) involving select end users of Our online service known as Steam (“Steam”).
Yes, I want you to focus on the “set-top box running custom software and a game controller” section. So, we can expect a Steam Machine as well as a controller to go with it. Or you can build your own Steam Machine and use a keyboard and mouse. Or any other control mechanism. I’m excited to see the Linux approach combined with a free wheeling view of hardware. This could actually be a revolution in the living room. Or it could be a complete flop. But I must say that I have a pretty good feeling about how Valve is going about this. I certainly wouldn’t mind a Steam Machine, either a store bought one or a home-made version.