Steam Machine Incoming

Posted by eternalrift (79 posts) -

I got an email on Wednesday which I immediately regarded as spam. The title had that familiar soulless tone to it:

Oooh, I can't wait to see what I was selected for! A free cruise all over the world? Dick pills? MONEY?

You will forgive me if I have become a little cynical in my years on the internet. I decided on a whim to read the email, and as it turns out I actually did win something!

A few months back, Valve announced that it would be sending out 300 "Steam Machines," the prototype set-top box that is being developed to run SteamOS, to beta testers around the world. To apply, one only needed to follow a few simple steps in Steam, such as running Big Picture mode with a controller. At the time I figured "what the hell," chances are slim-to-none that I'll win, but it never hurts to apply. Seems I was right.

That email from Anna was a notification that I had been selected, along with 299 others, to be beta testers for the new hardware. In total, 421,847 people were eligible for the beta, though that number is a little misleading as Valve limited access to only U.S. residents right before selection (due to the regulatory problems involved with shipping hardware outside of the U.S.).

As part of the program, each tester will be given a few linux-compatible games on steam to try out on the new hardware:

  • Metro: Last Light
  • Bastion
  • FTL
  • Arma Tactics
  • Serious Sam
  • Hotline Miami
  • Beatbuddy
  • Strike Suit Zero
  • Don't Starve
  • Painkiller: Hell and Damnation

The boxes shipped -- for the most part -- on Friday. I personally received my tracking info this morning, and it looks like it will arrive on Tuesday. The box weighs 35 lbs (~16 kg), which for comparison is about 25 lbs heavier than an XONE shipping box (11.3 lbs). I wonder what's inside...

Expect more soon.

-JT

#1 Posted by jimmyfenix (3753 posts) -

Will you be under NDA?

#2 Posted by eternalrift (79 posts) -

@jimmyfenix Nope, they have specifically stated that we can share whatever we want. The only restriction we have is against selling or giving away the hardware.

#3 Posted by BigSocrates (409 posts) -

Very cool. It's interesting to me though how few of those games are graphical powerhouses that will let you test the limits of the system. Does it run FTL is decidedly NOT the new "Can it run crysis" (No offense to FTL, I like that game, but it could probably run on a PS2 no problem, and you could downport it to the SNES without losing much.)

#4 Posted by eternalrift (79 posts) -

@bigsocrates: I agree, but the systems that they are shipping all have varied specs, with some being more powerful than others. Valve probably wanted a range of titles for the testers who don't have any linux games, in case they end up with a lower-end system.

#5 Posted by mordecaix7 (657 posts) -

I am also one of the few selected. It still feels unreal. I think the main point of interest for me is seeing how the Steam Controller interacts with various titles against an Xbox 360 pad.

#6 Posted by HotelDon (90 posts) -

Hey, have either of you guys gotten invited to the 300 Club yet? I feel that a (user created) steam group is totally superfulus, but I just think it's funny how elitist the name sounds.

#7 Posted by Humanity (10137 posts) -

US only huh Gabe? Yah well we ALL knew Steam couldn't be that great for long.. just follow the money! Down with Steam! Only Origin can save us now..

#8 Edited by Franstone (1156 posts) -

That's awesome, congrats!
Impressions on that controller immediately.

#9 Edited by eternalrift (79 posts) -

@mordecaix7: Grats! I'm planning on spending a lot of time messing around with different controller configs.

@hoteldon: Yup! It's about the stupidest thing on Steam right now, but that isn't gonna stop me.

@franstone: Thanks! Truly luck of the draw.

One of the guys got his early, by the way, if you want to watch his unboxing.

#10 Posted by RonGalaxy (3271 posts) -

Sweet! Glad a community member got one.

Also, do you get to keep it??

#11 Edited by mlarrabee (3064 posts) -

But you're not me, so this sucks!

But really, congratulations! I'm interested to see just what this thing is, and while I imagine you're under some kind of NDA (or not!) at least impressions about the feasibility of the thing will be in the wild.

#12 Posted by joshwent (2353 posts) -

Very cool. It's interesting to me though how few of those games are graphical powerhouses that will let you test the limits of the system. Does it run FTL is decidedly NOT the new "Can it run crysis" (No offense to FTL, I like that game, but it could probably run on a PS2 no problem, and you could downport it to the SNES without losing much.)

I think you might be inferring the wrong thing, though. It's easy to get the impression from that list that, "Uh oh, these gizmos won't run the fancy games well.", but the more important distinction is that they're Linux compatible games. Most graphics intensive AAA games never get Linux ports, so there will just naturally be less of them to test on these early Linux only machines.

#13 Posted by eternalrift (79 posts) -

@naru_joe93: Thanks! I believe there are a few of us that got one, so hopefully we can answer any questions. We get to keep it indefinitely, I think; in fact, we are told specifically that the only thing we can't do is sell it or give it away.

#14 Posted by HotelDon (90 posts) -

@joshwent said:

@bigsocrates said:

Very cool. It's interesting to me though how few of those games are graphical powerhouses that will let you test the limits of the system. Does it run FTL is decidedly NOT the new "Can it run crysis" (No offense to FTL, I like that game, but it could probably run on a PS2 no problem, and you could downport it to the SNES without losing much.)

I think you might be inferring the wrong thing, though. It's easy to get the impression from that list that, "Uh oh, these gizmos won't run the fancy games well.", but the more important distinction is that they're Linux compatible games. Most graphics intensive AAA games never get Linux ports, so there will just naturally be less of them to test on these early Linux only machines.

Also, Metro: Last Light is supposed to be fucking beautiful.

#15 Posted by Amafi (924 posts) -

@hoteldon: Significantly less so on linux than on windows at this point. I imagine it's something that'll get better with future patches.

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