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Post by Dan @ 08:55am 12/12/13 | 6 Comments
In an update to the official Steam Universe community group Valve has confirmed that they will soon be notifying the lucky 300 users selected to participate in its Steam Machines beta initiative, who will essentially be receiving a free gaming PC to help roadtest its new in-house range of hardware configurations, the innovative Steam Controller, and perhaps most importantly, the hugely ambitious Linux-based SteamOS.

Unfortunately however, logistical issues have purportedly caused them to reneg on the original plan to go worldwide with the beta program, so of the over 950,000 people that joined the Steam Universe Group for a chance to participate, only those located in the USA will now be counted among the 300 chosen to participate:
We’ve had to make the difficult decision to limit our beta to the U.S. only, because of regulatory hurdles. This was not our original plan, and it means we can’t collect beta feedback from Steam customers world-wide, which is pretty unfortunate. All things considered, we’re sure it was the right decision, because the alternative was to delay the whole beta beyond the point when we’d be able to incorporate any feedback into the 2014 products. This decision only affects Valve’s 300 prototype units; the commercial versions of Steam Machines that are for sale in 2014 won’t be affected by this. More information on those will be announced at CES on January 6.
It's not a total bust for us savages outside of the land of the free though, as Valve has also confirmed that SteamOS will be made available for download "when the prototype hardware ships", and that they are "due to leave the factory on Friday"; that's December 13 2013 PST.

Although Steam Machines are being designed with SteamOS in mind, they are still PCs capable of installing Windows like any other, and the SteamOS software can similarly be installed on a regular PC. Valve cautions that general users might want to wait until next year to start trying out SteamOS on their own computers, presumably so they can iron out some of the kinks first, but invites "intrepid Linux hackers" to have at it.

Finally, the update also reminded us that the beta launch of Steam's in-home streaming functionality is due to begin "soon".

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Latest Comments
Posted 09:06am 12/12/13
Mmm it would be interesting to test drive SteamOS but I think drivers and hardware compatibility will be its biggest early hurdle.

If they have really good media playing support as well as a way to browse the net, I'd put it on the bedroom PC for sure.
Posted 09:16am 12/12/13
They've been using Ubuntu as the target distro for Steam's Linux deployment until now, so my presumption is that SteamOS will be similarly debian-based and support most of the same drivers etc like Linux Mint et all do.

I could be wrong, but I think it's going to be more compatible out of the gate than you might think. I do expect bugs though, lotsa bugs; perhaps even headcrabs.
Posted 09:19am 12/12/13
It'd be great if I could somehow put SteamOS on my WDTV Live, would serve as an excellent relay point.
Posted 09:45am 12/12/13
Not a big fan of Steam since I'm a DRM free maniac. But I like Linux and hopefully one day we won't need DRM for such a platform so I'll give it a whirl, might like it.
Posted 10:05am 12/12/13
Hopefully I can format my HTPC and have SteamOS with Plex installed, as that is all I need :)
Posted 06:58am 13/12/13
It will be a REAL pain having to wait for Linux ports of all the games you play (most of which will never happen). Unless Steam can get Wine running better and more professionally!
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