We've known that game company and Steam operator Valve Software was going to offer prototypes of its hardware to Steam users for some time, but company head Gabe Newell niw says that those prototypes will start arriving in the next three to four months time. Moreover, beyond just the controllers we suspected to be part of the beta program, Newell tells the BBC that said prototypes will be of the Steambox, Valve's living room-friendly PC gaming initiative. "We're working with partners trying to nail down how fast we can make it," Newell said.

He cited noise and heat concerns as the holdup for retail availability of various Steamboxes -- both Valve itself and a variety of third-party companies are working on the initiative, including Xi3 and unnamed others. He also speculated about what control device might be included in various Steambox setups (the systems are said to range in power and price, from low to very high). He did posit that some form of biological monitoring would be built into a potential Valve game controller (biometrics). "You need to actually be able to directly measure how aroused the player is -- what their heart rate is, things like that -- in order to offer them a new experience each time they play," Newell said. He also cited the controller as a current roadblock in making the Steambox available. "The main thing that's holding us up right now is nailing ... we have a couple of different controller prototypes that we're using, and that's one of the things that we're giving to customers," he added. Valve is apparently planning on including a handful of controllers with Steambox prototypes in its upcoming beta, so that users can give feedback for each and Valve can break down how players are using them.

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Valve's Steambox prototypes heading to some Steam users in '3 - 4 months'