Portal and Half-Life studio Valve has announced they will be working on delivering living room hardware for video gaming. Following their SteamOS announcement, (a new operating system), Valve will be working with several manufactures to bring several different models for purchase in 2014. Valve described their announcement as a “powerful new category of living room hardware.”
“Entertainment is not a one-size-fits-all world,” Valve said. “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.” Valve went on describing that they have designed a “high performance” Steam Machine prototype that is upgradeable and open.
Valve has also announced that they will need beta testers to test out their new product. “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,” Valve said. Valve will ship 300 of these Steam Machines to Steam users free of charge, all for testing.
Consumers can make themselves eligible for participation by completing an Eligibility Quest on Steam. Users have to log into Steam and complete the following steps:
1. Join the Steam Universe community group
2. Agree to the Steam Hardware Beta Terms and Conditions
3. Make 10 Steam friends (if you haven’t already)
4. Create a public Steam Community profile (if you haven’t already)
5. Play a game using a gamepad in Big Picture mode
Users can complete these steps in any order, and once completed they will receive a badge of eligibility. The list will be finalized on October 25. Valve will handpick a small pool of 30 Steam users for participation based off of past community contributions and beta participation. The other remaining users will be randomly picked.
“Your help is critical to our design process,” Valve said. “Your feedback will shape both the new OS version of Steam and the new category of gaming machines that will run it.”
The Steam Machines can be used with a mouse and keyboard but Valve has stressed that the Steam Machines will be very much compatible with controllers. Rumors are swirling around suggesting a controller announcement will be made soon. Valve has teased one last announcement that will be revealed this coming Friday, “We have some more to say very soon on the topic of input.”