Valve Announces Steam Machines, Free Hardware Beta

SteamMachines_LivingRoom

Valve teased that it would have three announcements to make this week. The first was its upcoming operating system, Steam OS. The second is less of a surprise, but an important step for the company.

Steam Machines have been announced. While no specifications or images have been released, Valve has confirmed that they will be bringing their own streamlined unit to store shelves in 2014. In addition, they have several participating hardware manufacturers making setups of their own which they will market with the Steam name.

In essence, Valve is making a heavy push to tear down the wall between consoles and PCs by providing affordable and non-convoluted solutions that run Steam's growing list of games with keyboard & mouse or gamepad inputs.

In order to prepare for the unveiling of the Steam Box, Valve wants 300 Steam users to test out what they have later this year and offer valuable feedback. If you'd like a chance at becoming a lucky participant, do the following:

1. Join the Steam Universe community group

2. Agree to the Steam Hardware Beta Terms and Conditions

3. Make 10 Steam friends (if you haven't already)

4. Create a public Steam Community profile (if you haven't already)

5. Play a game using a gamepad in Big Picture mode

If you're disappointed that Valve hasn't shown the hardware, you aren't alone. Valve promises it'll debut the looks and specs of the Steam Box "soon". Now, is that Half-Life 3 reveal soon, or the real definition of soon?