updated 04:19 pm EST, Wed December 11, 2013
Linux-based SteamOS at the core of slated testing
Digital game purveyor Steam has revealed that 300 beta "Steam Machine" gaming hardware suites will commence shipping to selected participants on Friday, December 13. The 300 recipients will be informed today at about 2PM PST (5PM EST) that they are the recipient of the hardware, as well as a collection of games that run natively on SteamOS. All other factors ignored, qualified users have less than a 0.07 percent chance of being selected for the trial.
The company did note that they changed the term of the offer to only US participants because of regulatory concerns. Steam informed users on the official post noting the upcoming shipment that "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."
The SteamOS will be be made available to others to try when the prototype hardware ships to the testers. Steam recommends that "unless you're an intrepid Linux hacker already, we're going to recommend that you wait until later in 2014 to try it out."
Gamers wanting to get hold of one of the 300 Valve-produced "high-performance" prototypes had to complete an "Eligibility Quest" on Steam. Participants were required to join a specific Steam community group, agree to the beta terms and conditions, make 10 friends on the service, create a public Steam Community profile, and to play a game using a gamepad through Steam's Big Picture mode, all before an October 25 deadline. The majority of the 300 participants will be picked at random from the group, while "30 or less" will be awarded the device based on their past community contributions.