Following the announcement of SteamOS, Valve just unveiled the long-anticipated Steam Box — sort of. Instead of releasing a Valve-branded Steam Box, the company will actually work with multiple manufacturers to release a series of Steam machines for your living room.
Yet, Valve also presented a specific prototype, a Steam machine designed by Valve. This particular machine is closer to what everyone expected. For now, only 300 copies will be produced and sent to lucky beta testers. The company doesn’t say whether those prototypes will eventually become the Steam Box, but it wouldn’t surprise anyone.
As for the Steam machines, Valve promises “an array of specifications, price, and performance.” It could be pretty similar to the Chromebook lineup. 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.
As a reminder, SteamOS is a Linux-based operating system for your living room. It is optimized for gaming, movies and music. While many games are not available on Linux, SteamOS allows you to stream your games from your Windows or Mac machines using your local network
Today’s announcement is very short and doesn’t say which OEM will actually build Steam machines. All we know is that they will ship in 2014. The Valve-branded prototype could come to beta testers earlier as the company will select beta testers on October 25th.
On Steam’s website, users can find a teaser page with three icons that represent three different announcements for the living room — SteamOS and the Steam machines were only the first two announcements. Valve hints at a new input method for the third one. On Friday, Valve should answer the last standing question — which game controller will ship with the Steam machines?