Nvidia Played a Part in SteamOS Development

Nvidia posted a new blog on Wednesday talking about Valve Software's invasion of the living room. The update wasn't the streaming tech announcement the supposed Valve employee claimed would be released during AMD's event in Hawaii, but rather shows how enthusiastic the company is over the Steam Machines initiative and the company's involvement in the SteamOS development process.

"Engineers from Valve and Nvidia have spent a lot of time collaborating on a common goal for SteamOS," writes Nvidia's Mark Smith. "To deliver an open-platform gaming experience with superior performance and uncompromising visuals directly on the big screen."

He said that Nvidia engineers embedded at Valve Software collaborated on improving driver performance for OpenGL and optimizing performance on Nvidia GPUs. He pointed to Nvidia's launch of the GeForce R310 drivers for Linux back in November 2012 that doubled the performance and reduced loading times for Linux-based games running on GeForce GTX 600 Series GPUs and lower, and Valve's Steam client.

He also pointed to this PDF, stating that Nvidia helped Valve port its content library to SteamOS. This 90 page document covers topics like why port to Linux in the first place, the problems of moving from Windows to Linux, using different types of OpenGL, and so on. Nvidia also helped Valve tune SteamOS to lower latencies between the controller and on-screen action.

"The collaboration makes sense as both companies strongly believe in the importance of open-platform innovation, and both companies are committed to providing gamers with a cutting-edge visual experience," Smith said.

SteamOS was announced on Monday, a new Linux-based operating system specifically tuned for gaming machines. The OS will be free to download and use, and can be installed on any x86 system. SteamOS will also be the default platform for Steam Machines provided by hardware partners, but like any PC, owners will have the freedom to install whatever operating system they want.

"SteamOS is built around the already familiar Steam and is a version of Linux," he said. "But it's enhanced for gaming — and for gaming on the big screen in particular. Combined with the fact they're giving it away to users, and hardware providers, for free, SteamOS has the potential to usher in a new era for gaming in the living room."

"This means that anyone can build hardware and software for use in the living room, on an operating system designed to be lightweight, extensible and optimized for gaming. Suffice to say, we here at NVIDIA are very excited!" he added.

The final piece of the Valve puzzle will be revealed on Friday. We already know what that will be, and it's not Source 2 as the supposed Valve employee suggested.

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  • Nilo BP
    This is a bit puzzling. AMD is listed on the Steam store page as one of their "partners". Either Nvidia is pulling a stunt, or partnership ain't all it's cracked up to be.
  • Other Comments
  • meowmix44
    noooooooooooo! Its gonna ruin it fo rAMD cards :( NVIDIA has some tricks up their sleeve!
  • clutchc
    I doubt it will ruin anything for AMD card users. $team has no desire to ruin their experience for anybody.
  • Darkk
    Video performance in linux always behind other OS. Glad to see Nvidia stepping in to help address that. Going to guess in exchange for that kind of help for Steam is advertisement on the platform. I wonder if ATI-AMD will do the same?

    I love ATI cards but linux video drivers always give me stability issues. I've heard it's the same issue for both companies.