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Valve Introduces SteamOS

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.

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  • acktionhank
    So they are turning computers into focused gaming machines...

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

    Reply
  • rantoc
    Seeing how Microsoft seem to have turned their back on PC gaming, why not!?
    Reply
  • rolli59
    Have to find time to give it a try.
    Reply
  • wysir
    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 =)
    Reply
  • vir_cotto
    Sweet beans, I'm going to download it when I'm home tonight!
    Reply
  • cypeq
    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!
    Reply
  • ltdementhial
    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.
    Reply
  • bombebomb
    If I wanted a dedicated box for gaming AND ONLY GAMING I would not build a PC.
    Reply
  • rodbowler
    Competition is good, so this can only be a good thing.
    Reply
  • cypeq
    11588374 said:
    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.
    Reply