After years of rumors about Valve Corporation making a hardware product, the company came live with the announcement of its first generation Steam Boxes. Under the name Steam Machines, the company will sample 300 enthusiasts with the first generation of Steam Machines.

Two out of Three: Valve announces Steam Machines

This is just the second announcement of the week which started with Valve announcing the SteamOS, Linux-based operating system that targets one simple thing ? seamless gaming experience on what Valve believes to be the (gaming) platform of the future.

Third and the last announcement will come on Friday, with the physical unveil of the hardware itself. But first and foremost, if you want to be one of 300 lucky users to receive Valve?s prototype ? head over to the Eligibility Quest on Steam before October 25th and complete all the tasks at hand.

The quest is simple:

  1. Join the Steam Universe Community Group
  2. Agree to the Steam Hardware Beta Terms and Conditions
  3. Make 10 Steam friends (if you haven?t already)
  4. Create a public Steam Community profile
  5. Play a game using a gamepad in Big Picture mode

From the looks of it, it seems that Valve?s solution for the future of PC gaming is actually a PC-based game console, coming to the market at the same time when both Microsoft and Sony adopted (well, Microsoft came back) to the PC architecture for their Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles.

Valve?s approach is different and the company will use multiple manufacturers for their Steam Machine platform, in a way that is fully transparent to the consumer. We believe that the hardware specification will be flexible, starting from Steam?s fixed idea of achievable performance, and then upgrade to the hardware specification which fits your experience (1080p TV, 4K e.g. Ultra HD TV etc.). Even though no vendors are announced at this time, NVIDIA released a post on its blog, citing the following:

"Engineers from Valve and NVIDIA have spent a lot of time collaborating on a common goal for SteamOS: to deliver an open-platform gaming experience with superior performance and uncompromising visuals directly on the big screen.

NVIDIA engineers embedded at Valve collaborated on improving driver performance for OpenGL; optimizing performance on NVIDIA GPUs; and helping to port Valve?s award-winning content library to SteamOS; and tuning SteamOS to lower latency, or lag, between the controller and onscreen action."

If this is not enough, gamers and enthusiasts will also be able to build the Steam Box themselves (SteamOS powered), download the SteamOS themselves and even mod the OS, which will be released as an Open Source software.