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Steam Machines great and small to be shown at CES 2014

The Alienware Steam Machine has the potential to reach more Steam users than any other.

Following what must have been the most successful group email conversation ever conducted, Valve and a number of mystery hardware partners have announced that they’ll appear in the same place (Las Vegas) at the same time (January 7-10) to hawk their shared wares – the variously sized and powered boxes they call Steam Machines.

Valve released the first shots of their own Steam Machine prototype yesterday. It looks like this.

But it won’t be alone at CES in January. The friendly neighbourhood corporation have previously suggested that Steam Machines will be sold across a dramatic spectrum of specs and price points, by a number of different hardware manufacturers. While others have chosen to emphasise affordability or power in the building of their machines, Valve’s own box aims to be the most moddable.

Last CES 2013 was the source of plenty of confusion on this subject, when it appeared Xi3’s Piston was to be the sole ‘Steam Box’, as it was known then.

This year, by contrast, Valve are very visible. They’ll be showing some of the first games developed for SteamOS at the show, and holding a developer-only event in the same month.

It’s almost time to get to know the Steam Machine(s), finally. What shape and specification would you like yours to be?