Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Valve Introduces SteamOS

By - Source: Valve Software | B 50 comments

Valve Software has developed its own operating system.

As predicted, Valve Software revealed on Monday a new Linux-based platform called SteamOS. The new operating system is designed for the TV and the living room, and will be made available to download for free. Valve said that although the company has been working on bringing Steam to the living room with elements such as Big Picture, the only way to offer the best environment would be to simply develop an entire operating system.

"In SteamOS, we have achieved significant performance increases in graphics processing, and we’re now targeting audio performance and reductions in input latency at the operating system level," the company said. "Game developers are already taking advantage of these gains as they target SteamOS for their new releases."

SteamOS will also enable game streaming, seemingly taking a stab at Nvidia's setup between Keplar GPUs and its new Shield handheld. Users simply turn on Steam on their existing PC or Mac system, and then the SteamOS machine can stream those titles over the home network. Even more, the OS launch signal's the company's official entry into the mainstream digital entertainment business, as Valve states that it's currently working with media services for accessing music, movies and TV shows.

Naturally the new OS supports family sharing, allowing gamers to lend their games library to family and friends. "The living-room is family territory," the company said. "That’s great, but you don’t want to see your parents’ games in your library. Soon, families will have more control over what titles get seen by whom, and more features to allow everyone in the house to get the most out of their Steam libraries."

While rumors of a Steam Box have been around for some time, the company has hinted that it wouldn't be a complete "console" like platform, but a branding of sorts for multiple solutions from participating partners. The company has also hinted that the platform would be easily upgradeable, unlike the hardware sets offered by Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo.

For a brief period, we believed that the Steam Box flagship would be the Xi3 Piston, but the relationship reportedly fizzled during CES 2013 back in January. Yet that specific form factor may be what Valve is shooting for with its Steam Box setup: a super small, simple device packed with lots of power. Having a dedicated SteamOS just makes total sense.

Valve hasn't officially stated that SteamOS is based on Linux, but the platform will be free to download and use, and will be a freely licensable operating system for manufacturers. The next announcement will likely surround hardware partners, followed by possible Steam-branded peripherals. 

As of this writing, the next announcement will be made in 46 hours, so stay tuned.

Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

Display 50 Comments.
This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 18 Hide
    wysir , September 23, 2013 12:11 PM
    As a PC gamer, I like where this is going. Looking forward to more news on this. Will need to build a couch table-top for Keyboard and mouse though =)
  • 17 Hide
    rantoc , September 23, 2013 12:06 PM
    Seeing how Microsoft seem to have turned their back on PC gaming, why not!?
  • 12 Hide
    JamesSneed , September 23, 2013 1:05 PM
    "Valve hasn't officially stated that SteamOS is based on Linux"

    Yes they did. http://store.steampowered.com/livingroom/SteamOS/
Other Comments
  • 3 Hide
    acktionhank , September 23, 2013 12:04 PM
    So they are turning computers into focused gaming machines...

    I am very interested in this. As soon as enough games support it.

  • 17 Hide
    rantoc , September 23, 2013 12:06 PM
    Seeing how Microsoft seem to have turned their back on PC gaming, why not!?
  • 8 Hide
    rolli59 , September 23, 2013 12:06 PM
    Have to find time to give it a try.
  • 18 Hide
    wysir , September 23, 2013 12:11 PM
    As a PC gamer, I like where this is going. Looking forward to more news on this. Will need to build a couch table-top for Keyboard and mouse though =)
  • -5 Hide
    vir_cotto , September 23, 2013 12:15 PM
    Sweet beans, I'm going to download it when I'm home tonight!
  • -5 Hide
    cypeq , September 23, 2013 12:15 PM
    Gabe was talking linux but this... omg... wow... If this will be true ping and performance wise I am installing. Only thing that was stopping me from leaving windows for good were games. Go Go Gabe!
  • -1 Hide
    ltdementhial , September 23, 2013 12:19 PM
    Now i only need to see the hablility to play Bf3 or 4 in that OS, for then on im done and bye bye Windows.
  • 0 Hide
    bombebomb , September 23, 2013 12:21 PM
    If I wanted a dedicated box for gaming AND ONLY GAMING I would not build a PC.
  • -4 Hide
    rodbowler , September 23, 2013 12:27 PM
    Competition is good, so this can only be a good thing.
  • 8 Hide
    cypeq , September 23, 2013 12:28 PM
    Quote:
    If I wanted a dedicated box for gaming AND ONLY GAMING I would not build a PC.


    I would. Your argument is only valid for budget gaming PC.
    And even if it's budget it's still a PC... you can do do anything with it... not being limited to crippled OS provided by console manufacturers.

    P.S. All major next gen consoles are PC. x86 CPU and Radeon GPU. I guess you are stuck with WiiU.
  • 5 Hide
    rodbowler , September 23, 2013 12:33 PM
    I apologise for the double post - I'm not sure what happened. It appeared to be triggered by a simple page refresh.
  • 3 Hide
    teddymines , September 23, 2013 12:35 PM
    So will this new OS have DirectX capabilities? Just wondering how legacy games will work in this OS with graphics, file paths, etc. Or maybe I'm misunderstanding it.
  • -1 Hide
    torbendalum , September 23, 2013 12:42 PM
    neat
  • 2 Hide
    NotYetRated , September 23, 2013 1:05 PM
    The streaming capability definitely has my interest. Main gaming PC with a bunch of horsepower in game room, but some small, efficient, inexpensive SteamBoxes in living room, theater and the bedrooms.... Desktop class PC gaming from my couch, with the gaming rig in another room? Yes please! Now, hopefully Plex will support it :) 
  • 12 Hide
    JamesSneed , September 23, 2013 1:05 PM
    "Valve hasn't officially stated that SteamOS is based on Linux"

    Yes they did. http://store.steampowered.com/livingroom/SteamOS/
  • 0 Hide
    rodbowler , September 23, 2013 1:08 PM
    @teddymines:
    Within the current Steam Build for Linux, games use OpenGL. Performance on my system (using Linux Mint; Source games i.e. Half Life 2) looks identical to Windows and runs at a slightly faster frame rate.
  • 8 Hide
    Pallimud , September 23, 2013 1:11 PM
    The thing is, the majority of games won't work on this SteamOS. Unless the games work on Linux, they won't work on it. So we'll still need to wait and see if major titles get ported to Linux. As of now, very few games are on OSX, let alone Linux.
  • 4 Hide
    wysir , September 23, 2013 1:24 PM
    for Pallimud and others

    "In-home Streaming
    You can play all your Windows and Mac games on your SteamOS machine, too. Just turn on your existing computer and run Steam as you always have - then your SteamOS machine can stream those games over your home network straight to your TV!"
  • 0 Hide
    cmi86 , September 23, 2013 1:32 PM
    I was really excited to go download this and give a try on my E drive, and then I found it is coming soon and I was sad lol.
  • 0 Hide
    chumly , September 23, 2013 1:39 PM
    I want to see how games benchmark in a stripped-down operating system before I make my decision.
Display more comments