Valve has confirmed it’s making its own games machine for a 2014 release. And it wants 300 gamers to test the console this year.
The specifics of the “Steam Machine” are still under wraps. Valve has said its aimed at people who want to play on their TV screen and that it plans to eventually release a range of machines. The idea is that the first release will emphasize users having as much control over the hardware as possible. Later releases will vary to put the emphasis on size, price and other factors. The boxes will be manufactured by a variety of hardware partners.
Valve has also noted that it will eventually make both the operating system and source code available for people to build their own systems. It says that “hundreds” of games in its library will be available to run directly on the new machine itself, with the rest available through “in-home streaming.”
At least 270 of the 300 beta consoles will be given out randomly among everyone who meets the eligibility criteria. The main rules are that you must create a public Steam Community profile, make 10 friends on the service, and play at least one game in “Big Picture” mode, which means using a gamepad and hooking your computer up to a TV. Creating multiple profiles apparently won’t increase your chances.
The remaining consoles will go to users who’ve either helped out with beta testing in the past, or have a good record of contributing to the Steam community.
Those who get the console are not banned from talking about it: in fact, Valve specifically asks that users not only feedback directly to them, but share their experiences and problems online.
The company is also planning another announcement tomorrow morning. It’s hinted that this could be more details about the controller for the new machines, though some optimists are holding out hope it will be an announcement of Half-Life 3.