American newspaper The Seattle Times – and many other online outlets – have been gifted with exclusive hands-on access to the first “Steam Machine” prototype from gaming company Valve.

The Washington-based gaming team confirmed their long-rumoured foray into living-room gaming back in September with a range of Steam Machines – gaming PCs built around an in-house Linux-based operating system called Steam OS.

In an Android-like approach, Valve are encouraging other manufacturers to create ‘Steam boxes’, with the first of these expected to be announced in January.

The  proto-box design shown to reporters is unlikely to find its way on to the shelves of Walmart. Though designed to facilitate air flow and cooling, ensuring consistent performance, it does wear the unfortunate visage of an old TiVO trying to impersonate the original Xbox.

But today’s demo does give one of the first glimpses of Steam hardware – prototype or otherwise – since the trio of announcements were made at the start of Autumn.

Image Copyright Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times

Further Details

The Seattle Times’ Brier Dudley does a good job of covering the who, why and when’s of Valve’s “audacious effort” to shake up the increasingly predictable gaming sector, while The Verge give a more technical run-down of the device proffered.

Further details on the gesture-enabled Steam controller, announced back in late September, and Steam OS, are also forthcoming. Of the latter, Dudley writes:

“Users who poke around the SteamOS can still get to Linux, though. They can also load Windows and productivity software onto a Steam Machine and use it for work as well as play.”

Click on through for the full skinny, and don’t forget to tell us your views on Valve’s plans for Linux-based gaming in the comments below.

The Seattle Times Article on Steam Machines

Gaming Hardware Steam for Linux steamos Valve