'Steam Machines' beta launches this year, full release in 2014

The second in Valve's trifecta of planned announcements came today. Continuing the theme of Steaming up your living room, today the company took the wraps off the long-rumored Steam Box. Now dubbed "Steam Machines," they will run on the Linux-based SteamOS that the company announced on Monday.

The announcement laid out a roadmap for their release in 2014. The prototype will be shipping out this year to 300 users. To have a chance at testing one of the machines, you have to follow some instructions on the announcement page, including joining a special group and making 10 Steam friends. The entry period ends on October 25.

The FAQ states that the boxes will be coming in 2014, from a variety of manufacturers. You'll be able to build your own boxes using SteamOS, naturally, but Valve promises images of its own box sometime "soon." It also cautions you not to create multiple accounts to up your chances, because that simply won't work.

Valve had previously promised Steam Box prototypes would be due in 3-4 months, but that was six months ago. This came just as the company distanced itself from the Xi3 Piston, which was initially dubbed a "Steam Box" when it debuted.