The eagerly awaited crowd-sourced video game console the “Steam Machine” will be released by Valve to “test” it before it’s released to the public next year. The news follows Valve’s decision to create its own OS (SteamOS) built upon a Linux platform. The Steam Machine is built to be used in the living room and focuses on the gamer, or more specifically, the PC gamer.

Valve SteamBox

It acts as a casbah of PC games and a way for gamers to play against each other and share titles. Valve does not release its sales numbers, but IHS Screen Digest suggest Steam is responsible for 75 percent of PC game sales, accounting for sales of around $1 billion in 2012.

Valve uses Steam to promote its own games as well

Valve uses Steam to promote its own games as well. These include big names such as Half Life, Portal, and Dota 2, in addition to those written by third-party developers, from whom it takes a cut of the sales.

The company said that the 300 members of the public picked to receive a Steam Machine would receive a “high-performance prototype” designed for users who wanted “the most control possible” over their hardware.

And that is the key for Valve. It’s open-source adherence makes it different than the other console makers. Have you ever heard of Microsoft, Sony, or Nintendo shipping units to the general public before release? I think not.

Valve currently offers its Steam platform as software running on others’ systems: Microsoft’s Windows, Apple’s Mac OS, Sony’s PlayStation 3 and various Linux-based software. ValveOS natively run on the Steam Machine will change this dramatically.

Valve said that the 300 lucky members of the public picked would receive a “high-performance prototype” designed for users who wanted “the most control possible” over their hardware.

Valve is different, and it does stuff differently. When was the last time you heard of a prototype leaving Nintendo Co., Ltd (OTCMKTS:NTDOY), Sony Corporation (NYSE:SNE) (TYO:6758), or Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) before its release to the public?

Time will tell whether the analysts who called the move “audacious,” or those that called it “stupid” prevail in their predictions.

Valve has promised three major announcements this week

“The input from testers should come in many forms: bug reports, forum posts, concept art, 3D prints, haikus, and also very publicly stated opinions,” continued (the very different) Valve in a written statement.

“We have some more to say very soon on the topic of input,” it said on its site. That is expected to be a new controller for gamers, as Valve has promised three major announcements this week.