While we all jumped the gun expecting Valve to release a dedicated living room PC of their own, Gabe Newell’s not-so-subtle hint that his company didn’t need to manufacture hardware to get into the hardware business was proven as a truthful point with this evening’s announcement — they’ll simply get current popular PC manufacturers to make their own Steam Machine contraptions!
Valve will be testing the concept of a living room gaming PC with a beta version of SteamOS and a prototype Steam Machine made in-house to be given a good going over by 300 randomly chosen Steam Community members. You can opt yourself in to the program by following these simple steps.
With the past release of Big Picture Mode it was clear Valve wanted to make the gaming PC a more prominent force against the next-gen consoles allowing the legendary PC gaming hub to be controlled with ease through a standard controller — but without a dedicated machine to run the armchair-friendly interface, the mode goes unloved by most. That’s where SteamOS comes into play.
Just like Linux, SteamOS is left wide open for users to customize and improve with their own needs rather than those of a standard OS developer meaning you’ll theoretically be greeted by everything you love and need the moment you dive on a couch — controller in hand — and flick on your SteamOS machine whether it’s an official Steam Box or just your own creation running on Valve’s new operating system rather than having to switch between a mouse, keyboard, and controller before settling down to dig deeper into your heavily modified Minecraft cavern.
The Steam Machines are expected to come out in full force next year with manufacturers open to design their contraptions based on cost, size, efficiency, raw power, or any other standard they typically focus on during their concept building process. Steam Machines are about a completely open platform just like Android, Linux or Firefox.