Valve are ready to begin shipping their Steam Machines and Steam Controllers to the 300 selected beta participants and the machines are set to leave the factory on Friday! This will also be the first time SteamOS will be seen outside of Valve as well.
The 300 beta participants have already been notified and they are all in the US. Valve have stated why this is
We’ve had to make the difficult decision to limit our beta to the U.S. only, because of regulatory hurdles. This was not our original plan, and it means we can’t collect beta feedback from Steam customers world-wide, which is pretty unfortunate. All things considered, we’re sure it was the right decision, because 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. More information on those will be announced at CES on January 6.
However, all is not lost. SteamOS will be available to anyone and will be downloadable when the prototype hardware ships. Be warned though that you will required a fair amount of Linux knowledge to get it working and Valve suggests that unless you have this it is best to wait until later in 2014 when the polished, user friendly edition is officially released.
Are you one of the lucky beta testers? Make sure you come to our forums to give us your opinion.