300 of Valve's prototype Steam Machines are going out to folks who signed up to participate in the beta. If your reaction to this news is to groan about how you never got an email, worry not -- those haven't gone out yet. Valve will notify the selected beta testers at "about" 2:00pm Pacific today, and those users will get a special badge for their Steam profile.
As part of the beta, testers will get a number of games, including Metro: Last Light, and SteamOS. "We've had to make the difficult decision to limit our beta to the U.S. only, because of regulatory hurdles," writes 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."
It's worth mentioning that said hurdles won't affect the commercial launch, which we'll hear more about at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. In the mean time, SteamOS will be downloadable for those of us without a beta Steam Machine once those units ship.