This Friday, December 13, Valve will begin shipping prototype units of the Steam Machine to 300 lucky people. Those selected will be notified around 5PM (EST) today that they will soon receive a prototype machine for testing purposes. They will also be awarded a special badge on their Steam Community profile.

In addition to this shipment of the prototype machines, Valve will release SteamOS to the world on Friday. It can be downloaded by anybody but only those well versed in Linux may want to give it a go until later in 2014. Valve promises to release additional details on this "soon."

Valve also regrets to say that while they originally planned to release the prototypes to the world, regulatory hurdles forced them to limit it to the U.S. only.