It's the week of high-profile Valve announcements: On Monday, we got news of a new Linux-powered operating system called SteamOS. And on Friday, we're likely to see either a new game or a new peripheral. In the meantime, we've got the Steam Machines, a line of devices that Valve says comprises a "powerful new category of living-room hardware."
On a landing page for the Steam Machines, Valve said the consoles – the emphasis is very much on a line of devices, rather than a single machine – would launch in 2014, and would run the SteamOS.
In the meantime, consumers can sign up for a chance to be one of 300 beta testers of the devices; details are here, if you're interested (although the odds are not particularly good).
"While these products are still in development, we need your help," Valve wrote on the Steam Machines landing page. "As always, we believe the best way to ensure that the right products are getting made is to let people try them out and then make changes as we go. We have designed a high-performance prototype that’s optimized for gaming, for the living room, and for Steam. Of course, it’s also completely upgradable and open."
So who will actually manufacture these Steam Machines? Well, the only thing we really have to go on is the 'Steam Box' prototype teased a few months back. But over at TechCrunch, Romain Dillet has some ideas as to how the product line might shake out.
"It could be pretty similar to the Chromebook lineup," he writes. "Customers will be presented with multiple performance tiers – it should make it easier to buy a traditional gaming computer. Hardware will be hackable and you will be able to install another operating system for example."