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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.

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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+