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Valve Plans Lineup of Steam Machines

300 prototypes to ship out this year to a select group of beta testers.

The Steam Machines are coming in 2014.

What we have previously called the Steam Box should now be called Steam Machines, according to Valve. The company’s second announcement (of three) this week concerns the hardware its been working on internally, in addition to partnering with manufacturers.

“Entertainment is not a one-size-fits-all world,” said the company. “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 machines are not finished, and Valve is looking for help. It’s looking for 300 people to test its “high-performance prototype that’s optimized for gaming.” It is not a locked box, though, and can be upgraded.

In order to become part of the 300 golden ticket winners, there is a “hardware beta eligibility quest,” to be complete, the details of which Valve has outlined on its website.

The machine Valve sends to its testers are not the only machines that will be available in 2014, and it won’t change anything about the gaming PC you may or may not have right now. There is something very specific about this machine, though, a machine we don’t have specs for yet.

“The specific machine we're testing is designed for users who want the most control possible over their hardware,” said Valve. “Other boxes will optimize for size, price, quietness, or other factors.”

Prototypes are scheduled to ship this year, with the final boxes coming sometime in 2014.

Valve may have tipped its hand regarding the final announcement, too.

“Steam and SteamOS work well with gamepads, too," said the company. "Stay tuned, though--we have some more to say very soon on the topic of input."

The waiting game begins anew.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
141 Comments
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Posted by wimpelmeesje

Not a suprise at all.

Posted by masterpaperlink

Well that was anticlimactic

Posted by rasko_the_brave

Its a magic box!

Posted by Bats

Woo, this is pretty awesome. Kinda makes me wanna re-think my upgrades going forward, but we'll see how it goes. Regardless, this is even more great news.

Posted by fearxloathing

Can hardly wait for the final announcement. The more I feel out if I really want a PS4/Xbone at launch, the more I just want to put more money into my PC gaming set up.

Posted by joshwent

Amazing! Next time fanboys say, "Hey, all that DRM stuff you whined about MS doing, Steam does it too", just link to this:

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.

Openness is good for everybody. They get it.

Also, weird name, but good associations at least...

Posted by Linken

Hoping Friday's announcement will be a sweet controller/mousekeys hybrid thing.

Posted by de_la_penta

What's up with all the sun imagery on these pages? Also it looks like potentially a sneak peak of the SteamOS UI on this new page?

Posted by Nightriff

Well color me interested...

Edited by Stevemax

-

Posted by ghostyTrickster
Edited by BBAlpert

Valve really missed out on a great naming opportunity. Why didn't they call the boxes "Steam Engines"? I suppose that could have lead to confusion if people were to also refer to Steam's software and service with the word "engine," though.

Edited by shinboy630

@joshwent: Was about to post that song, but you beat me to it! Kudos to you, good sir.

Posted by BluPotato

Valve should call the boxes Boilers.

Posted by Sin4profit

I feel like Valve has to show something along the lines of Source Engine 2 and what the licensing policies for developers are for Source before anyone gives a shit.

Posted by Winternet

And Friday announcement is that you can play video games with yo mind!

Posted by de_la_penta
Posted by RetroVirus

Just like that Daft Punk song!

Posted by DonPixel

Nice! I'm so happy for Linux, I've been dual booting for a couple of years now... seriously IMO you can't beat UNIX for development. They day I can scape windows might be close.

Posted by Toug

It's a something!

Edited by djhworld

I'm hoping they release a cheap box that's just powerful enough to stream games from my Desktop PC.

I've invested a lot of money into my desktop machine so I don't see any point in buying a second machine that does the same thing.

However I am VERY interested in buying a cheap enough box that lets me stream to the TV without any configuration.

Posted by Tidel

Valve should call the boxes Boilers.

I like this idea so much.

Posted by porjos

This is great, this could be the seedlings of a paradigm change in the market. Even if peeps are not into it, it's another choice, and choices are good. Always good. Never bad.

Posted by jimmyfenix

Friday 27th September 10am PST - We are proud to announce that development has begun on a well loved franchise. Many of our steam users have requested this game and i am so proud to announce that in 2014 Team Fortress 3 will be arriving. We are also proud to announce that this product will be launched exclusively on the SteamOS on a free to play model.

Sincerely Gabe Newell.

Posted by gaftra

jesus christ, they gamified applying to the beta test. for all the good things steam does, the gamification of everything is just rotten.

Posted by HerbieBug

I think what Valve is working on right now with this is the most exciting possible new approach to video games in development right now. This and the Oculus Rift. Major success from either of these could significantly change the industry.

Posted by Forcen

@gaftra: They have to have some kind of protection from smurf accounts. Kind of like they require you to play the tutorial in dota 2 to matchmake.

Posted by 617_jbug

Yeah today's announcement is disappointing. If you are going to do your own "console" announce your "console"

Posted by joshwent

@gaftra said:

jesus christ, they gamified applying to the beta test. for all the good things steam does, the gamification of everything is just rotten.

I don't know if you can call entering a drawing to be picked at random "gamification".

Edited by Crunchman

Krazy Ken is rolling in his digital locker.

Posted by devilzrule27

No thanks Valve.

Posted by Hef

@gaftra: It's not really a game, you fill out a form and join the steam group. And they make you play a game in big picture so they know you have a controller. Yeah, what a game.

Posted by kablui

I am a bit surprised by the timeline..

0) Valve announces a chain of announcements
1) announces upcoming release announcement of not-yet-available OS with next to no real technical info
2) announces upcoming release announcement of not-yet-available hardware with even less real info
3) Seems they will announce "we have a controller now!" the same way

This feels like taking the worst pages out of the sony pre-E3 playbook, and, moreover, does not really feel like Valve - I think that in the past they used to make real "buy this then" annoncements.

I'm just not getting the strategy here, the overall timing felt like "cut in before Ms/Sony console releases", but now..? Since they do not actally have anything to show (really show) right now I don't really get why they did not wait until the OS or the Box or whatever was finished /beta-released..

What did they gain by announcing what they announced right now?

Posted by Hazeboy420

Major disappointment.

Posted by vikingdeath1

a controller with Backtouch, That's what it'll be, the FUTURE!

Edited by Coolarman

I need more details on what the hell this thing is. Mr. Newell says that I will have control over this piece of hardware. That sounds interesting but does that mean I can get a better video card and replace whats already inside? A lot of the details are really vague. Its too early for me to dismiss this or embrace it.

P.S. also the most important thing I want to know is how much will it cost?

Edited by nukethewhalesagain

They're basically doing what Google did with Android. I don't think it will work. A smartphone is an easier sell than what basically is an HTPC. It's really only going to appeal to hardcore gamers unless they price them at cheaper than the next-gen consoles with better specs. I think it's more likely that, like with Android, we'll get some great implementations of it that will have a high price tag and a lot of quick cash-ins that won't be able to run anything but the indie games. This will piss off a lot of crowd just looking to play Call of Duty.

Still, if it runs XBMC, I'll buy one and stream games from my computer.

Edited by Levio

I'm still going to call it the Steam Box. Maybe the SB for short? Gotta work on that.

Either way, it's interesting to hear there will be numerous models to choose from. I wonder if any will actually be sufficient to replace a person's self-built PC?

Posted by gbrading

Steam Machines... why on earth aren't they called Steam Engines!?

Posted by gaftra

You're totally right! It isn't a game. So why is it called a 'quest' then?

It's a matter of concept, not application. Most things that are gamified aren't actually games, they're simply a hollow 'achievement' for participating in a system. The idea is that if you present someone with a reward it will entice deeper participation.

See how many stamps you can lick in an hour, then try and beat that number.

All that aside, it'll be exciting to see another party mixing up the game platform market.

@hef said:

@gaftra: It's not really a game, you fill out a form and join the steam group. And they make you play a game in big picture so they know you have a controller. Yeah, what a game.

Posted by exfate

It's a shame we didn't get any names of hardware partners for the commercial boxes. A big part of my decision to buy one of these is ultimately going to be how well designed they are. Not interested in anything along the lines of a micro PC like Xi3's Piston prototype.

Posted by AMyggen

Ah well, I guess I'll wait for more details. This is pretty light on specifics. I'm still not sure about what this is exactly (what does it mean that we'll have "Control" over it, exactly?), price etc.

Posted by Nadafinga

@kablui said:

What did they gain by announcing what they announced right now?

It might get some people who were on the fence with the next gen systems to wait on buying one day one to see how these Steam Machines end up being. If you're someone who can really only afford (or are interested in buying) one console.

If they wait until next year to announce, a whole bunch of people have just bought new consoles, and might not be interested in buying another. This timing at least allows them to "bookmark" a few more customers who are willing to wait.

Posted by Tychoid

@gaftra: Aren't all games just hollow 'achievements?' You can make a game out of pretty much anything. Its a subjective term. Think about it maaaaaaaaan.

Posted by mrfluke

meh

Posted by gaftra

@tychoid said:

@gaftra: Aren't all games just hollow 'achievements?' You can make a game out of pretty much anything. Its a subjective term. Think about it maaaaaaaaan.

whoa dude, mindblow. and what if god, was like, a LADY? duuuuuude :p

Posted by AndrewPerkins

I guess I need to get me some Steam friends.

Posted by GiantLizardKing

I'm suddenly a lot less interested in picking up a PS4. One of the main use cases for me was the eco system between PS4, Vita and Vita TV. If I like what I hear before November I will probably cancel my pre-order.

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