Valve ships Steam Machine prototypes and makes SteamOS available for download


December 15, 2013

SteamOS will run on Steam Machines of various shapes and sizes

SteamOS will run on Steam Machines of various shapes and sizes

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While the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 have stolen the lion's share of hype surrounding next-gen gaming consoles recently, Valve has continued working away on its own entry into the console market. Last week, the company shipped Steam Machine prototypes to 300 beta testers and made the first release of the open-source operating system that will power it, SteamOS, available for download.

The Linux-based SteamOS has been developed with the aim of establishing PC-gaming as a permanent fixture in the living room. While the Steam client itself is proprietary, the platform is open-source, leaving users free to upgrade and modify the software with Valve hoping feedback will result in a more polished version.

Before you rush off to download the 960 MB installer, Valve says that with SteamOS in beta mode, those without experience with Linux may be better off waiting until the software is further refined. "As an early release, much is changing, so expect rough edges. In its current state, SteamOS is definitely not a finished product ready for a non-technical user," the company says.

Furthermore, the company provided specific hardware requirements necessary to run SteamOS: Intel or AMD-64 bit capable processor, minimum 4 GB RAM, minimum 500 GB hard disk, NVIDIA graphics card (although AMD and Intel graphics support will be added in the future), UEFI boot support and USB port for installation.

Anybody that meets these pre-requisites is free to download SteamOS, though the Steam Machine itself has been built specifically to run the platform, aiming to make it more digestible and enhance its mainstream appeal. Slated for a 2014 release, prototypes of the console were shipped to 300 beta testers around the US last week, with several documenting and broadcasting its unpacking on Youtube.

The machine came packaged in a wooden crate accompanied by the wireless Steam Controller with USB port in the top and a cable for charging, a user manual, HDMI cable, power cord, Wi-Fi antenna and a recovery USB key.

Although Valve will sell its own Steam Machine, the company also provides instructions on how individuals and OEMs can make their own, either for personal use or for sale. Just as with desktop PCs, this will mean that Steam Machines will come in all manner of shapes and sizes. Valve says that from 2014, there will be multiple SteamOS machines to choose from, made by different manufacturers.

Source: Valve

About the Author
Nick Lavars Nick was born outside of Melbourne, Australia, with a general curiosity that has drawn him to some distant (and very cold) places. Somewhere between enduring a winter in the Canadian Rockies and trekking through Chilean Patagonia, he graduated from university and pursued a career in journalism. Having worked for publications such as The Santiago Times and The Conversation, he now writes for Gizmag from Melbourne, excited by tech and all forms of innovation, the city's bizarre weather and curried egg sandwiches. All articles by Nick Lavars

If it could run on an Intel NUC then I'd be into it.


Wow.. so any ol' iMac user (wit Boot camp, of course) meets the minumum requirements ..well the newer iMacs anyways, and with upgraded RAM. I had to do a double take though. when I read it's a Linux build, requiring an NVIDIA card? Really?

Doc Rock

@Doc Rock That's because AMDs driver support has been really terrible in the past as in often it just doesn't work properly or at all. Nvidia on the other hand has usually had good proprietary drivers that just work out of the box. AMD has been releasing a lot of improvements lately, so expect AMD to be on the field competing later. On there are a lot of benchmarks and comparisons if you're looking at getting a graphics card for the linux based steambox.

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