Once Valve begins shipping Steam Machines out to 300 lucky beta participants on Dec. 13, the developer will simultaneously roll out its Linux-based SteamOS. The software will arrive pre-installed on the company’s prototype Steam Machine—along with a Steam Controller—when it ships to fans on Friday, but those unlucky enough to not to be included in the beta can install it themselves.
Unfortunately, Valve says it won’t be easy to get up and running for most casual fans, noting that it’s probably going to be hard “unless you’re an intrepid Linux hacker already.” For everyone else, the developer recommends you wait until later in 2014 to try it out when all the kinks are ironed out. The company will have some CES announcements lined up on Jan. 6, so we should learn more about its Steam Machine then—hopefully TechnoBuffalo will be able to bring you hands-on impressions.
SteamOS is basically Valve’s big play for the living room and will work on pretty much any machine, providing “access to the best games and user-generated content available.” The operating system’s four biggest features include in-home streaming, family sharing, family options and the traditional Steam client.