Steam Machines set to take over the living room

Valve has unveiled the second part of its trio of bombshells, seemingly revealing a revamp of the Steam Box project. The company is now talking about Steam Machines – not one, but “multiple” hardware solutions, because “entertainment is not a one-size-fits-all world”.

(Probably not an accurate look at a Steam Machine.)

(Probably not an accurate look at a Steam Machine.)

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.

These PCs are designed to work in your living room as a dedicated gaming machine, playing games on your television in exactly the same way as other big-name consoles. They will be made by different manufacturers, so we’re hoping you’ll be able to find one that suits your needs, no matter what they may be. No word on specs yet, of course, but the company is listening to feedback and tailoring the product appropriately.

(It’s also worth remembering that even if you can’t find a Steam Box that suits you, you can always build your own, using Steam OS.)

Allowing that “Valve time” is an entity unto itself, and often bears little resemblance to real-world time, Steam Boxes are set to start appearing on shelves as early as next year.

If you want one earlier, there’s a way you can sneak ahead of the queue. Valve has 300 Steam Machine prototypes that it wants you to help beta test. The prototypes – like the eventual device – are designed to show off what the hardware is capable of, by running “hundreds” of games natively and accessing the rest of your Steam library via “in-home streaming”.

Want in on this? You’ll need to successfully complete a quest – this is a games machine, after all!

Before October 25th, you must log into Steam and then visit your quest page, to check on your current beta test eligibility status. If you’re up for it, follow these 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

…and remember, you must complete this all before October 25th to be eligible.

For more information on these Steam Machines, head to the Steam Living Room website – there’s a handy FAQ there that will fill you in.

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