Valve officially announced Wednesday that it is getting into the hardware business with "Steam Machines" after much speculation over the past year. The news follows an earlier reveal this week that the company is releasing the SteamOS next year.
"Entertainment is not a one-size-fits-all world. 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," the company wrote on its website.
Steam Machines are gaming PCs designed for the living room but Valve is not ready to announce specifications yet as it is still working on various prototypes that it plans to send out to 300 people as part of a beta test starting this year.
"While these products are still in development, we need your help. 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," Valve said. "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."
Those interested in taking part of the beta should register before Oct. 25 by joining the Steam Universe community group, agreeing to beta terms and conditions, have at least ten friends on Steam, create a public Steam Community profile and play a game using a gamepad in Big Picture mode.
Valve founder Gabe Newell has expressed his disappointment with Microsoft over Windows 8 multiple times and the announcement of the open-source and free SteamOS plus Steam Machines is a direct shot not only against the software giant's entrenched operating system but gaming consoles from Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo as well.
There is one more Steam Universe announcement due on Friday, Sept. 27.
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