This is Valve's Steam Machine prototype

Steam Machine
Drum's the first glimpse of a Steam Machine! Complete with Valve employees

We thought it would be a good while until we'd see Valve's Steam Box, since the company is so good at keeping projects under wraps. To our delight, Valve decided to do things a little different this time around.

The 65-million-users strong, Bellevue-based company gave a sneak peek of the first crazy powerful, high-end Steam Machine prototype, and boy does it look familiar.

It seems like the Machine is taking a number from its console competition, the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One, with its VCR-esque body and black exterior.

But then again, this is the first prototype and we're bound to see others before its 2014 launch, especially since the box is fully upgradable, allowing users to swap out any part they like, or build one from the ground up using the same components - just like a PC.

Steam Controller

The Steam Controller, plugged into the back of Valve's Steam Machine (credit: Seattle Times)

The countdown really starts now

We know 300 lucky beta testers will get their mitts on the mega console prototypes later this year, and Valve has said the Steam Machines will see a release in 2014, though specifics have been sparse.

However, the Seattle Times tipped that a variety of Machines are due for a flashy Vegas unveiling at CES 2014.

Considering Valve is giving beta testers prototypes with a range of specs, chances are it and its Steam Machine partners will give us a breadth of consoles to check out at the show.

We'll also most likely see different entertainment applications for SteamOS alongside the Steam Controller at CES, which falls just before the developer-only Steam conference.