By 27 September 2013 | Categories: news


When James Cameron envisioned the rise of the machines, for him it took the form of deadly efficient cyborg terminators hell-bent on humanity’s destruction.

Fiction aside, Valve’s vision for the rise of its machines is wholly different, instead due to make an imminent assault on the living room and intent on humanity’s entertainment. The company’s big announcement, of its own imminent SteamBox, may not have been the biggest surprise, but it is still welcome news nonetheless.

This week, the company revealed  its “new category of living room hardware,” while simultaneously lifting the lid on a hardware beta that will enable 300 users to test the SteamBox prototype for free, ahead of a broad rollout of different varieties of SteamBoxes next year.

Full Steam ahead

While particular specifications have not yet been revealed, the company did explain that the SteamBoxes will cater to various user requirements, amongst them size and price. Additionally, while the machine will run its newly announced free, Linux-based SteamOS, users will be able to hack their SteamBox, run another operating system on it and change the hardware components inside it.

Valve further elaborated that, of the nearly 3 000 games currently on Steam, hundreds already run natively on SteamOS, with more to come. The rest will work seamlessly via in-home streaming.

The company explained that, as it was conducting a beta of the overall Steam living-room experience, it needed to build prototype hardware on which to run tests. “At Valve we always rely on real-world testing as part of our design process,” it elaborated. The prototype that the company will be sending out, however, has apparently been designed for users who want “the most control possible over their hardware.”

Those 300 users who secure a ‘seat’ in the beta phase have been encouraged to share their feedback via a number of channels including forum posts, concept art, publicly stated opinions, and humorously enough, via haikus.

To the point

As this is Valve, a company well known for keeping users on the edge of their seats and with an imminent dislike of firm deadlines, its reveal was accompanied by a number of teases that more information would be forthcoming “soon.” Also expected is a third reveal by the company, with regards to an input device or controller of some sort.

Suffice to say, with the next gen consoles kicking off next year, and then the SteamBox joining the fray during the course of 2014, we fully expect that the battleground in the next twelve month will be your – and our – living rooms.   


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