Valve has announced preliminary hardware plans today for its recently announced Steam OS. In an announcement on its website, the company unveiled its intent to produce Steam Machines for 2014 -- consoles capable of running its Steam OS gaming platform. Valve plans to build its own Steam Machine, while allowing several other unannounced manufacturers to create their own.
If it all sounds a little bit like Google's Android platform, you wouldn't be wrong for thinking so. Built upon similar principles, Valve hopes to tackle living room gaming with "openness" that allows the hardware industry to "iterate at a much faster pace." Valve is building its Steam OS on the open source operating system Linux, similar to how Google builds its Android platform as an open source project. In another similarity, Valve will create its own hardware to set the standard (a la Google's line of Nexus to devices), but hopes manufacturers will guide the specifications themselves.
Hardware details haven't been announced, nor have hardware partners. Valve faces an interesting battle as it attempts to standardize PC gaming hardware with Steam Machines. Time will tell if Valve's plans will pay off. The company has long inched towards the living room. It launched Big Picture mode last year, allowing PC's to use the current Steam software on televisions with an optimized interface. Today's announcement solidifies its plans to take on the likes of Sony and Microsoft.
A third countdown timer launched following Valve's Wednesday announcement. The timer ends on Friday, when Valve is expected to make another announcement regarding Steam OS and accompanying Steam Machines.