Valve Software announced that it’s in the process of developing a hardware prototype machine that will run the Steam OS, A.K.A. a ‘Steam Machine’, 300 people will be selected to participate in a Beta this year and test the machine.

People who want to take part in the Beta have to log into Steam, Valve’s media distribution platform, and sign up before October 25. It has been noted by Valve that 3,000 games offered on Steam will be available to people participating in the Beta through the Steam OS.

The date of the Beta has not been officially announced.

Also, Valve made the announcement that it will offer multiple Steam OS machines made by different manufactures. This is an effort by Valve to give consumers the opportunity to choose the machine that’s best suited for them.

Steam OS is a focused living room project launched by Valve that will incorporate Steam.

“We’ve come to the conclusion that the environment best suited to delivering value to customers is an operating system built around Steam itself,” Valve said on its site.

Players will not have to give up their games, friends and other Steam features when migrating to Steam OS and according to Valve, hundreds of games are already running on it. In the coming weeks they plan to “show off” the AAA titles that will be coming to it in 2014.

In the wake of all the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 attention this is definitely some news that shakes things up.

Steam is arguably the best media distribution platform on the market today, and the best part is that it’s free. Now of course people have to pay for games, but Valve has ruled digital distribution with an iron fist by offering affordable deals for great games.

There always seems to be a deal on Steam, and there’s usually a game you want to play that is considerably cheaper.

Multiple Steam OS machines made by different manufactures is something that is very compelling because it seems like Valve is trying to make it affordable for everyone while giving people options to find the best fit for them.

It’s brilliant marketing.

On the Beta side of things, it’s really refreshing that Valve wants testers to be open and vocal not only in their feedback to them, but to the public as well.

Valve wants to make the best product possible and it realizes that it needs Steam users help to get them there.

So will this provide competition for Microsoft and Sony, or will the Steam OS be lost to the tundra of irrelevant gaming machines?

Let us know what you think in the comments below.