Valve is set to begin shipping the first Steam Machines and accompanying haptic controllers to 300 selected beta participants tomorrow.
The testing phase is being used by Valve to see how consumers get to grips with its new hardware and unique controller, and discover how the systems might be used.
The beta is currently restricted to the US only due to what the firm has described as ‘regulatory hurdles’ holding up a global test.
The new Steam operating system, SteamOS, will also be made available tomorrow as the hardware makes its way to testers. This will be available to individuals and commercial original equipment manufacturers.
Valve has recommended however that Linux users do not download the SteamOS until 2014.
"We’ve had to make the difficult decision to limit our beta to the US only, because of regulatory hurdles," read a statement from Valve.
"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 6th."