It isn’t quite what I was expecting from the latest Valve reveal. Rather than detailing what we thought would be the Steam Box, they instead talk about Steam Machines entering beta and drop a big hint that controller input will be next on the agenda for Friday’s reveal.
So they’ve clarified a few bits, but I can’t be the only one who thought Valve might have revealed something more concrete. Nevertheless they do mention that they are ” working with multiple partners to bring a variety of Steam gaming machines to market during 2014, all of them running SteamOS.”
Crucially, Valve say that as the products are still in development but that they are opening a “high-performance prototype” for beta testing for 300 lucky Steam users who complete a little quest:
THE HARDWARE BETA ELIGIBILITY QUEST:
Before October 25, log in to Steam and then visit your quest page to track your current status towards beta test eligibility
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
The actions can be completed in any order and once completed, you will be awarded a special badge and will be added to pool of eligible people for the beta. You have until the 25th October which is when the list will be locked down.
In the FAQs for the Steam Machine, Valve reiterate that in 2014 there will be multiple SteamOS machines to choose from, constructed by different manufacturers.
– You don’t need to buy new hardware as Steam on the PC will continue to move forward.
– The machine Valve will be testing is designed for “users who want the most control possible over their hardware” while “Other boxes will optimize for size, price, quietness, or other factors.”
– Out of the 300 beta participants, 30 or less will be chosen based on past community contributions and beta participation.
– Valve will tell us more about specs and what the device looks like soon, but the prototype they will be testing will ship this year.
– Beta testers will be able to share their thoughts.
– You will be able to build your own box to run SteamOS and if you want you could do various things to Valve’s eventual box. Hack it, run another OS on it, change the hardware, install custom software and even use it to build a robot.
– Eventually anyone will be able to download the OS, including the source code.
– “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.”
– You can use a mouse and keyboard in the living room with SteamOS if you want.
So, is this what people expected?