2014 is going to get very, very interesting when it comes to gaming. We’re about to see a new and very aggressive push to get PC gaming into the living room, courtesy of Valve. And you could test it out!
First, we should mention that this is of a piece with the new operating system Valve announced on Monday. Valve has confirmed that they’re “working with multiple partners” to create Steam Machines of all shapes and sizes. But, first, they need to test the hardware standard, which is where Steam users come in.
The steps, according to Valve, are pretty simple. Here’s what you do to qualify:
1. Join the Steam Universe community group
2. Agree to the Steam Hardware Beta Terms and Conditions
3. Make 10 Steam friends (Your current friends count)
4. Create a public Steam Community profile (Your current profile counts)
5. Play a game using a gamepad in Big Picture mode
Then? You wait. Valve is only selecting 300 testers out of the pool, but hey, it’s pretty simple to get in the pool, so you might as well go for it.
Beyond that, don’t worry; Steam isn’t going console only. And if you don’t want to buy something off the shelf, you can just build your own box to do it. And, since some people were grousing about games, Valve is claiming that every single game on Steam will be available for the beta, some on SteamOS and the rest streaming.
One thing I am curious about will be pricing. Valve’s hardware test is with “high-end” equipment, but can they put out a Steam Machine with good enough specifications to keep current with the demands of games? It’s not a question of whether it can run top-end games at the highest possible settings; that’s not Valve’s goal here and it never was. It’s a question of whether they can run the games.
Then again, this has been in the works for years. We’ll know more once the beta hardware starts shipping, which will be later this year. And there’s one more announcement in the pipe, coming Friday. Meanwhile I’ll be over here, gloating about how I nailed it.