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Valve shows off a Steam Machine prototype

Suggests a VR headset that gathers biometric feedback from one's earlobes.

Valve has revealed the prototype of its very first Steam Machine, part of its line-up of computer/console hybrids designed to run Steam titles right on your telly.

The Steam Controller is not what it seems.

According to The Verge, the consumer versions of the Steam Machines will be unveiled in January at the Consumer Electronics Show and the various consoles are slated to ship mid 2014.

The prototype unit detailed in the report is 12 inches long and 2.9 inches tall - evidently a smidge larger than an Xbox 360 - but there will be multiple variants with a wide range of sizes and processing power.

The Verge also saw its dual-trackpad-based controller, which contained a trackball at one point. Apparently it's got a bit of a learning curve to it, but Valve will be crowdsourcing controller profiles for every game on Steam, so the default control setup will be whatever people tend to use the most. From there players will be able to tweak it to their liking.

Fascinatingly, Valve co-founder Gabe Newell told The Verge that the company initially considered using biometric sensors on the controller, but realised that hands weren't a good source for this and Valve staff hinted that they were working of a VR headset that would gather such biometric feedback from one's earlobes to deduce players' responses to stimuli - allegedly to alter a game based on if players are scared or excited. Wild!

That's not to say that Valve won't be supporting the Oculus Rift in the meantime. Valve designer Greg Coomer noted "We've been talking to Oculus pretty extensively... about how we can help them with Steam."

For more details check out The Verge's full report.