Valve's Next Thing: Steam Machines

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You didn't expect Valve to announce its own OS without a box to run it on, did you? Today they announced that they would be partnering with multiple developers as well as creating their own prototype hardware in 2014, as well as a beta program for current Steam users to see what they've been cooking up.

So it's not a Steambox so much as a bunch of Steamboxes, as Valve sidesteps the "one-size-fits-all" approach to their prospective hardware with today's announcement. The plan is for Valve to release multiple devices in 2014 which support their SteamOS, ostensibly with different specs (and price points, presumably), to fit each gamer. Of course, if you don't want to but a prefab machine, Valve says you can build your own box and load the free SteamOs when it's available.

Describing their own in-house developed hardware as a "high-performance prototype that’s optimized for gaming," Valve nonetheless plans to allow users to upgrade the open platform.

Valve is also opening up a beta for 300 users to check out their prototype hardware, with 30 selected from previous Valve beta participants and the remaining 90% spread out randomly among Steam users who complete the beta quest, with prototypes shipping sometime this year.

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