Valve announces Steam Machines; opens beta testing sign-ups

On Monday, Valve made the first of three scheduled announcements this week concerning their plans to expand their reach from the PC to the living room. The first was SteamOS, a Linux-based operating system that can not only run games and applications made for the OS but can also stream PC games from Valve's Steam library.

Today, Valve announced the second phase of its plan, called Steam Machines. These will basically be PCs that will run SteamOS and will be made by several different, but still unnamed, companies sometime in 2014. Valve has a prototype Steam Machine of its own that it will be sending to 300 outside beta testers.

People who wish to be considered for the Steam Machines beta can sign up at its website. The process includes going on a kind of quest to complete different achievements within the Steam community. Once all of the quests have been accomplished, users will get a special Steam badge and will be eligible for being picked for the Steam Machines beta. The deadline for entering the beta is October 25th.

Valve does say that anyone can build their own Steam Machine box using SteamOS, just like they can build their own Windows or Linux PCs. Shipments of the prototype Steam Machines will go out to beta testers later this year. Valve has yet to reveal the hardware specs of its own prototype.

Source: Valve | Image via Valve

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The third announcement will be a good list of upcoming AAA titles that will be supported on SteamOS. That is, if they have any intention of this being successful.

By the way, I will laugh if they make Half Life 3 a SteamOS exclusive!

Chugworth said,
By the way, I will laugh if they make Half Life 3 a SteamOS exclusive!

Not sure how I'd react to that.. I do know that for me I most definitely wouldn't switch to a different OS solely for one game though, not exactly hurting for titles by any stretch of the imagination and Steam isn't the only publisher out there. They can keep it thanks, I'll go play one of the other bajillion games from a publisher that actually wants to get paid. Huge financial roll of the dice on that move, namely you don't make money by intentionally limiting yourself to the smallest group of users possible or intentionally alienate what used to be loyal paying customers.. customers can do without Steam, but it doesn't work the other way around.

Yeah but it's a free OS, if by some chance that HL3 was a SteamOS exclusive, I'll probably just dual boot it, but personally I don't think they would alienate a load of people just in an attempt to push out more copies of SteamOS

nasvpn said,
HL3 is the only thing that can save them. Even a trailer would make people happy.

You mean Left 4 Dead 3!

I feel that Steam has made Valve a bit lazy. They can take all the time they want to make a game because they are making money off of games on Steam and the TF2 store. The $100 TF2 ring craze has died down a bit but a few months ago I would see about 3 to 6 messages a day. I wonder how many $2.50 keys they sale a day.

Steam is directly trying to compete with Sony and Microsoft, thats a given with their consoles launching in a few months and steam announcing this... Wasn't valve really ****ed off about what MS did in Windows 8?

I really enjoy their angle, but they are re-creating the wheel when theres HUNDREDS of linux distros they could work with and have the meat of the project complete. Having that said I don't know what they have in store for their distro to make it outshine competitors.. hopefully something. I think once available it will be the priority system and MS/OSX support will fall off so to speak, forcing steam users to make a USB3 bootstick, install steamOS, or dual-boot.

Steam would have been better off developing with Google for something like chromecast to stream your gaming over ethernet/wireless to your TV set, and also wirelessly send back the KB/mouse details - SteamExtender or something. Maybe thats part of it via VNC or tunneling or something, I don't know. I have computers on all my monitors & TV's, but they aren't 'steam' computers. They can browse the web and stream 1080p. If my steam computer could chug away with its loud fans do the bulk of the work floors away while I enjoy my small fanless extender or VNC-style relaying I'd be happy.

No interest in SteamOS. I can run Steam just fine on my Win8 box, thank you. However, if they release a small form factor box like Apple TV for $99 or less that can easily stream games from my PC to my TV without issue, I'd go for that in a minute.

seems like an attempt to compete with google play before antroid consoles make an appearance. no software for this weird OS will mean this is dead on arrival.

Maybe a similar idea, but the problem with Android based consoles (Ouya) is that a lot of those games are based around touch. Take a touch game out of its element and you're kind of ruining the fun of it to begin with.

I noticed alot of people here mistaking what valve is doing here with the steam system. These systems are not for those people who like to build their own systems.

This is for the market of people who wanna game but don't wanna build their own steam box.

Snake89 said,
This is for the market of people who wanna game but don't wanna build their own steam box.

You mean the people who buy pre-built systems or "regular" game consoles?

why would anyone buy anything from a company who is purposely trying to sell you a gimped product because they have a vendetta against windows?

Lord Method Man said,
What a joke. I'm starting to really hate Valve. I wish Steam wasn't such a necessary evil for PC gaming.
I was never a fan of Steam, but I have loved many of Valve's games. IMO, this is a huge distraction from them continuing to put out new titles. Half-Life 3 anyone?

wingliston said,
So they announced the Streambox again?
It highlights a simple fact that Valve does not understand PC's outside of gaming. People are buying fewer PC's and their solution is to have people run multiple ones....Somehow I don't think the market is going to agree with that.

Seriously, Valve would have been better off simply acquiring OnLive and infusing their system with Steam to provide a streaming solution.

wingliston said,
So they announced the Streambox again?

Tones of different SteamBoxes. That is a fail. The main thing that makes PS, Xbox or even iOS popular a gaming platform is lack of fragmentation. When people buying those devices they sure that games will be optimized and will work well. Every platform with tones of different devices with different performance will fail as a gaming platform.

but you can have an os that runs games besides your windows that runs games... so you may dual boot to run games, than boot the other one to run some more games

yeah right, newell is a f_king genius...

morden said,
but you can have an os that runs games besides your windows that runs games... so you may dual boot to run games, than boot the other one to run some more games
Exactly.

Gabe is trying to push a PC-centric approach in a world where people are pursuing alternative computing devices. This would have worked 10-15 years ago, but the world has already moved on.

The beauty is to not having to run Windows to game. Why give the money to Microsoft who is just padding their pockets to the high executives by increasing their bonuses. I'd rather support the little guy over the evil empire.

NeoPogo said,
The beauty is to not having to run Windows to game. Why give the money to Microsoft who is just padding their pockets to the high executives by increasing their bonuses. I'd rather support the little guy over the evil empire.

Just my opinion, but the beauty about Windows is that it runs everything, no compromises, no dual booting, no fussing around getting it to work, and it isn't picky about who wrote the software or where you bought it from. Not sure why I'd want to install another OS that only runs some things, or buy some hardware that's already been done for years and still only runs some things.

Wait, Valve is the little guy? You might want to check your facts on that one. Valve is a very well off company.

Here we go with the old MS is evil and everyone else is a saint argument. Never changes.

NeoPogo said,
The beauty is to not having to run Windows to game. Why give the money to Microsoft who is just padding their pockets to the high executives by increasing their bonuses. I'd rather support the little guy over the evil empire.

That's a fanboy argument. I'm looking for rational reasons and so will the rest of the market.

Spicoli said,

That's a fanboy argument. I'm looking for rational reasons and so will the rest of the market.

Indeed. The cost of Windows is chump change. But the VALUE of Windows remains staggering.

They must establish themselves in order to prosper. All these naysayers, I ask you this: who would in their right mind have expected Steam to go from such a god awful application to being the go to medium for digital distribution of PC games? I'm not saying Valve WILL succeed, but you've got to be blind if you think nothing's possible.

Everything is possible, but we also need to keep expectations in check.

For some reason, some are blowing this up to represent the age of Linux, or that Valve is taking on Windows as a general purpose OS, etc. This is not about either of those things.

Valve's goal here is to create a Steam platform that lives on its own. Users would do everything through steam, like a game console. They would buy and play games and they would buy non gaming apps. This is basically Valve trying to outdo MS in creating an app market/ecosystem. I mean we all know Gabe made it clear that he considers the Windows Store in Win 8 to be a threat to them. So as a business, it makes sense they would start their own platform if they believed that their success would be threatened by an app store in Windows.

This isn't about spreading Linux as a desktop OS, its about Steam and Valve breaking away from the pc and creating their own platform.

They could end up doing very well, but there is so much we don't know about it and we have no idea how everyone else will change. We don't know what MS' plans are in this area that could end up limiting the success Valve has with this. We don't know exactly how much pull they will have with game publishers/developers to get all the support they need.

I think for me, I'll continue being a PC gamer as is on Windows. That part I don't expect to change anytime soon. I just find it disheartening to see people being so discouraging about it. In this day and age, we have had so much of the same for such a long time, it's refreshing to see a company try to do something new or different, especially around gaming no less. Apple for instance has nice offerings, but as a gamer, they are pretty much irrelevant to me.

I just want to see competition thrive. I'm tired of not having too many options or choices.

Asik said,
Well the chances of a Half-Life 3 announcement seem to be vanishing quickly. *SIGH*

I hear that.. not a fan of the first two announcements.. one chance left. Here's hoping, it's been so long it's getting to the point where I just don't care about the series anymore.

Why would you ever think this was going to be a HL3 revel?! The url is http://store.steampowered.com/livingroom. LIVINGROOM.

"Last year, we shipped a software feature called Big Picture, a user-interface tailored for televisions and gamepads. This year we've been working on even more ways to connect the dots for customers who want Steam in the living-room. Soon, we'll be adding you to our design process, so that you can help us shape the future of Steam. "

Asik said,
Well the chances of a Half-Life 3 announcement seem to be vanishing quickly. *SIGH*

Don't do this to yourself!

Asik said,
Well the chances of a Half-Life 3 announcement seem to be vanishing quickly. *SIGH*

They were Steam announcements after all, not "Valve" announcements.

While i don't think valve is going to announce HL3 if it were to be annouced there's no way it would have been the 1st or 2nd announcement so i don't see how the chances are vanishing if you believe it.

This is in the SteamMachine FAQ, last question:

Am I going to be using a mouse and a keyboard in the living-room?

If you want. But Steam and SteamOS work well with gamepads, too. Stay tuned, though - we have some more to say very soon on the topic of input.

keyword there, input, so I'm guessing it'll be the controller that gets unveiled on Friday

Source 2 is expected to be the final announcement (although personally I seriously doubt it). However, going by all the leaks over the past year the launch title is looking to be Left 4 Dead 3 not sure how I feel about that. However, this is all based on rumour and speculation from all the leaks, so is probably not even true so take with a grain of salt. Just thought I'd throw it out there. Will be interesting to see what it really is (I really really really want it to be Half-Life 3!)

Asik said,
Well the chances of a Half-Life 3 announcement seem to be vanishing quickly. *SIGH*

Won't happen I'm afraid (I'm disappointed too). There was a news article a while back discussing the fact that HL3 is probably still in pre-production, based on some mailing lists or something.

NeoPogo said,
Yes. They announced a better platform for gaming than Windows!

Well, from what I understand it's not a better platform because it doesn't play ALL games. I can't play Origin games or games play diablo 3 or path of exile. It has to be Steam games.

Not even all Steam games, or even most of them. It doesn't actually play them, it just "streams" them from a Windows PC to your TV.

I guess you have a point where you may want to play Macintosh games too then? Plus you cannot play Origin games or Path of Exile on the Xbox 360 too so why have a gaming console that is not able to play Windows games.

By your reasoning Microsoft should dump the Xbox platform then too.

NeoPogo said,
I guess you have a point where you may want to play Macintosh games too then? Plus you cannot play Origin games or Path of Exile on the Xbox 360 too so why have a gaming console that is not able to play Windows games.

By your reasoning Microsoft should dump the Xbox platform then too.

It's a gaming OS that I can install on my computer, but it doesn't let me play ALL games. That's a problem, imo. What's the point of installing steamos when it's so limiting?

yekGLzhQ4Qju1FtAVcC4 said,
Interesting point, considering SteamOS hasn't been released.

It's still Linux under the hood, Steam specific stuff aside I don't think there's going to be any big surprises about what it can or can't do. It's already known that it can play the games that have been ported to Linux, everything else will still require a Windows based PC or other streaming source that's doing the work. For me anyway, if I were to compare capabilities on a strictly gaming standpoint, having a much narrower selection of titles to pick from with no significant gains definitely fits in the "worse" column.

kaotic said,
It's a gaming OS that I can install on my computer, but it doesn't let me play ALL games. That's a problem, imo. What's the point of installing steamos when it's so limiting?

To establish itself so that it can in the future become not so limiting.

kaotic said,

It's a gaming OS that I can install on my computer, but it doesn't let me play ALL games. That's a problem, imo. What's the point of installing steamos when it's so limiting?


It's a gaming OS that lets you play the handful of Linux-compatible steam games and stream the rest.

HawkMan said,
Doesn't need to be released to know of several of the major drawbacks of it.

Drawbacks exist because there isn't enough of a push forward so... chicken or the egg here.

NeoPogo said,
I guess you have a point where you may want to play Macintosh games too then? Plus you cannot play Origin games or Path of Exile on the Xbox 360 too so why have a gaming console that is not able to play Windows games.

By your reasoning Microsoft should dump the Xbox platform then too.

That's a ridiculous argument. All Mac games are available on PC and so are all Steam games. It is not a console, it's a PC. Why buy another PC that has a more limited collection of games?

did everything i had to except for play a game with a controller plugged in in big picture mode as i am not home at the moment, as soon as i do i will probably be like 20K in line for a beta unit lol.

30 people will be chosen based on their previous community contributions and another 270 will be picked at random. Almost seems hopeless to enter but as they say, gotta be in it to win it

John Callaham said,
I assume you are disappointed..if so, I am as well.

I thought there'd be pictures and specs n stuff. What we got was, "were working on it".

You guys are obviously looking for something far better than what they are revealing. I think these are great for the loungeroom