On Friday 13th December 2013, Valve sent out “beta” units of the first Steam Machine to 300 lucky testers. A fantastic Christmas present, but unfortunately only in the U.S. – at least in this first phase of the beta. The company regrets having to make this decision and blames various legal obstacles that would otherwise have delayed the beta and stated that it will not affect the retail version of Steam Machine.
The chosen few are getting badges for their Steam Community profiles, in addition to free hardware. The retail version of Steam Machines will be available in 2014 and we’ll find out more details in January during the CES tradeshow.
SteamOS is available for anyone to download too, though Valve recommends waiting until later in 2014 if you’re not PRO linux user.