On Monday, Valve announced SteamOS, an operating system based around Steam and designed for the living room. It was just the first of three announcements for this week, however, and today brings us the second: Steam Machines. Yes, this is Valve's long-rumored Steam Box, just not entirely designed by the company. Valve is working with a variety of partners to offer different levels of hardware in each Steam Machine, with all of them running SteamOS. There aren't any specifications just yet, however the Steam Machines are set to arrive some time next year. If you just can't wait until then, 300 lucky people will have a chance to beta test a Steam Machine that's specifically designed by Valve to offer the "most control possible" over the hardware.
If you're interested in the beta, all you have to do is complete the Eligibility Quest before October 25, which entails joining the Steam Universe group, agreeing to Terms and Conditions, having ten friends on Steam, creating a public Steam Community profile, and playing a game in Big Picture Mode with a gamepad. Doing all those steps puts you into the running for a Steam Machine, although about 30 people or so will be chosen based on prior community contributions and beta participation. The other 270 will come from the pool. The prototypes will ship later this year if you're chosen, so keep your fingers crossed. Just don't make multiple Steam accounts as that won't increase your chances at all. Around 3,000 games will be available during the beta (that's the entire Steam library), with "hundreds" already running natively on SteamOS. The remainder comes from in-home streaming, but Valve is working to get even more games on SteamOS.
Each Steam Machine comes with a pre-configured set of hardware, but users are more than free to upgrade it, install their own software, a different OS, and plenty of other things. Even build a robot, if you're so inclined. Just don't get mad when it rebels and comes after you. Valve isn't discussing a price on the Steam Machines just yet, nor showing a picture of what they look like, but expect all of that soon. You can also build your own computer and run SteamOS on it, if none of the Steam Machines are quite to your liking.