Valve’s second piece of big news this week: Steam Box!

Valve has finally announced what many people have been waiting for for a long time: hardware dedicated to playing your Steam games on the big screen in your living room!  But that’s not all; we are not getting just one type of Steam Box, we are getting multiple types.  “Entertainment is not a one-size-fits-all world. We want you to be able to choose the hardware that makes sense for you,” states Valve.

Working with various partners, they will be bringing a number of gaming rigs to the masses, all pre-loaded with the upcoming SteamOS.  As of right now a prototype has been produced, and Valve wants people to beta test it.  That’s right, your input can help bring the Steam Box out into the world!  But only 300 units will be shipped this year for beta testing, so you’ll have to get on it quick if you want one.  On their page, they have listed the rules to become eligible to participate:

  • Visit your quest page on Steam
  • Join the Steam Universe community group page and agree to terms and conditions
  • Have (or make) ten friends on Steam
  • Create a public Steam Community profile
  • Play a game with a game pad in Big Picture mode

That’s everything you need to do in order to be eligible for the beta, and once you have done so you will be awarded a special badge.  Those that have obtained the badge will be randomly selected from to be a beta tester.  Also on the page are some answers to general questions, such as you don’t need to purchase a Steam gaming rig to set up everything, you will be able to load the SteamOS straight onto your current gaming rig.

This is huge news for the gaming community, being able to bring all your favorite PC games to the big screen.  This has great potential to directly compete with current and next-gen consoles, and can bring PC gaming to the hardcore and casual gamers alike.  No specs on the hardware are currently available, and no info yet on if the hardware will be easily upgradable, but we will have them out for you once they become available.

Check back on Friday when we will talk about the final reveal Valve has in store for us this week! [Editor’s note: Please let it be Half-Life 3!]