Valve is "working with multiple partners" to bring SteamOS-based gaming systems to the living room in 2014, the company announced today.
"Entertainment is not a one-size-fits-all world," said Valve. "We want you to be able to choose the hardware that makes sense for you." There's no word yet on which companies Valve is working with.
Valve is giving people a chance to try out a Steam Machine — the company has designed its own "high-performance prototype" that is "completely upgradable and open," and will send 300 of them to Steam users this year for beta testing. Valve said that particular prototype is designed to give users as much control as possible, while third-party Steam Machines will "optimize for size, price, quietness or other factors." Receipients of the hardware prototype will be able to hack it, swap out hardware, change software and more.
The news follows Valve's Sept. 23 announcement of SteamOS, a free Linux-based operating system that will power living room computers built to run video games. The Steam service, which Valve characterized as a "collaborative many-to-many entertainment platform," is the bedrock of SteamOS. According to Valve, "hundreds" of games are already compatible with SteamOS, and many other AAA titles will be made available on the OS in 2014. In the future, users will be able to build their own Steam Machines to run SteamOS.
The Big Picture redesign of Steam, which Valve launched last December, was the company's previous foray into the living room. As for the so-called Steam Box — the living room-based device that would run SteamOS — Valve said during the Consumer Electronics Show this past January that it was building its own box and was also working with various hardware partners on other systems.
According to the countdown on Valve's Steam page for living-room gaming, the company will make one more announcement related to SteamOS and Steam Machines at 1 p.m. ET on Friday, Sept. 27. Check out the most recent update of the teaser symbols in the image below. It's possible that Friday's announcement will concern input methods — Valve noted that SteamOS and Steam Machines will support gamepads as well as keyboard and mouse, and added, "We have some more to say very soon on the topic of input."