Valve has sent out the first 300 Steam Machine prototypes. These living room PC entertainment hubs contain Valve's proprietary controller that also happens to be very disruptive, as well as their own SteamOS, which is also set to be very disruptive. The first set of unboxing videos have arrived and the PC-style console is looking super sexy.
YouTube user Corey Nelson has been one of the first prototype beta testers to post up a YouTube unboxing video of the Steam Machine, showcasing Valve's big black console box in the native wild; the arena of consumer living room home entertainment.
It was reported earlier in the week that Valve would not only be rolling out the Steam Machine prototypes but they would also be releasing the SteamOS beta for public consumption. Well, now both of them are in the twiddly fingers of eager gamers and the videos are beginning to emerge.
Personally? I can't wait to see some gut-busting, give-you-constipation-for-a-week UI footage and gameplay on the Steam Machine. I mean, how much more efficient is the SteamOS than Windows when it comes to running games? What's the load-up time of games like? How long does it take to do a cold boot? What's the general functionality like? Is it possible to force-start Windows-based programs through the Debian 7-based OS and see if they work? What happens when you try? How is it possible that the digital self-proclaimed semen of GabeN flooding Reddit has yet to explode?
Anyway, I'm sure we'll be seeing tons of new video footage of both the UI and the actual console/PC/PConsole(?) soon enough.
If you're thinking about testing out the SteamOS functionality ahead of actually getting a Steam Machine, keep in mind that the process is not setup for newbies and you'll basically need a spare PC sitting round with high-end stats if you want to use the beta version of the OS.
If you don't mind waiting a few weeks or so, 2014 will be the start of great things in gaming, especially if you're looking at the Steam Machine as a viable home console option. In fact, iBuyPower has a legitimate Steam Machine in the works for only $499 that rivals the Xbox One in price and out-performs both the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4.
Digital Storm also has a Steam Machine they're planning on unveiling at CES 2014, but it's one of the higher-end units and will cost close to $1,500. So it's something to consider.
We'll continue to keep you posted on how Valve will handle their foray into the competitive market of home console gaming. I must say that the eighth generation of gaming has already started with a huge bang and will only continue to get more interesting in the next few months.