Bonnie Cha

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Valve Bringing PC Gaming to the Living Room With Steam Machines

Right now, you might be mulling which new game console to get when the Xbox One and Sony PlayStation 4 go on sale in November. But here’s something else to consider.

valve

Today, Valve, the creators of such PC games as Half-Life and Portal and the company behind the Steam online gaming platform, announced that it’s getting into the console business with not just one machine but a range of products for the living room.

The line will be called Steam Machines, and they will all run on SteamOS, the company’s new Linux-based, living-room-optimized platform, which it announced on Monday.

“Entertainment is not a one-size-fits-all world. We want you to be able to choose the hardware that makes sense for you, so we are working with multiple partners to bring a variety of Steam gaming machines to market during 2014,” the company wrote on its website.

Valve didn’t specify which manufacturers it is working with or provide any details about the consoles themselves, though it did state in its FAQ that it is building a range of boxes that will be optimized for size, price, quietness and other factors.

While those products are still in development, Valve has created a prototype and plans to ship 300 of them for free to Steam users this year for testing. You can apply to be one of those lucky souls by signing up for the beta program here; the deadline is Oct. 25.

Testers will be able to play almost all of the 3,000 games available on Steam, and can play using gamepads or with a keyboard and mouse. Valve said it will offer other methods of input, too. And users will be allowed to share their experiences and feedback with everyone online.

Bringing PC gaming into the living room is something Valve has been working toward since last year, when the company introduced a feature called Big Picture that allowed PC games to be played on the TV. Though a big challenge, the variety of products and openness of the platform could prove to be competition for the likes of Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo.

The company isn’t done just yet, either. Valve is expected to make one final announcement on Friday.


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