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Valve Has its Own Operating System Now in SteamOS

This new OS is free of cost and designed for your living room.

Finally, Valve has found a way to combine Gabe Newell's love of the Linux OS architecture with its own aims at servicing your living room. Today, the company announced SteamOS, a new, free-to-license operating system built on the Linux infrastructure, expressly designed for living room-based computers.

The announcement is available on Valve's website area dedicated to living room functionality, and includes this message on what the company's aim is with SteamOS.

As we’ve been working on bringing Steam to the living room, we’ve come to the conclusion that the environment best suited to delivering value to customers is an operating system built around Steam itself. SteamOS combines the rock-solid architecture of Linux with a gaming experience built for the big screen. It will be available soon as a free stand-alone operating system for living room machines.

In addition to "significant performance increases in graphics processing," SteamOS is also designed with features like game streaming from other computers, support for as-yet-unnamed music and video services, and the family sharing features that had previously been announced for Steam.

This is, of course, just the first of three announcements Valve has scheduled for this week. Still, this is kind of a big deal, and potentially a very cool thing, depending on how Valve plans to push and support this OS. Will one of those ways be on a dedicated "SteamBox" living room PC? I suppose we'll find out soon enough.

Alex Navarro on Google+
271 Comments
Edited by Gruntypig

WAAAaa

Posted by Sargon

And now we wait another 48 hours for the next announcement...

Edited by jimmyfenix

Ballmer vs Newell to the death!

Posted by theShatteredOne

My body is so ready for this. Well that and the OS-less machine that has been hooked up to my TV for a month waiting for me to be not lazy. Laziness prevails again!

Posted by origamifleshlight

Isn't this exciting...

Posted by MrMazz

interesting

Posted by Rafaelfc

So, if the endgame for PC gaming is becoming console gaming, the endgame for consoles is to become PCs?

My head hurts.

Awesome news... I guess.

Posted by soulcake

its a streaming client like onlive butt then for you're living room

Edited by Scarabus

Someone on Twitter claimed it was backwards-compatible with all Steam titles. As a game developer I have to chime in to say that for a Linux-based OS - that simply can't be true. It would by definition only run games built for or ported to Linux.

For OpenGL-based games porting could be relatively trivial, but there will always be the inertia caused by substandard development and debugging tools on that platform - as has always been the case.

Posted by Winternet

Shit, son!

I mean, yeah, whatever.

Posted by Sargon

@scarabus said:

Someone on Twitter claimed it was backwards-compatible with all Steam titles. As a game developer I have to chime in to say that for a Linux-based OS - that simply can't be true. It would by definition only run games built for or ported to Linux.

It is only "backwards-compatible" in that it can stream any Steam title from a PC to the SteamOS. It can't run all titles natively in the SteamOS.

Posted by ionkinetic

@sargon: New console out november 1st. Suckit Sony and Microsoft.

Posted by kalmis

Sure, if this means I dont have use Windows anymore.

Posted by BirthWild

this is pretty dang cool, I'm jazzed.

Posted by LucidDreams117

Sure, why not. Valve has been pretty good so far, this will probably turn out well. Maybe this means as a console gamer who prefers that to PC's this'll maybe turn me onto it.

Posted by Fattony12000

Whoa.

Edited by YOU_DIED

Valve pushing things forward, as usual

Posted by AcidBrandon18

Microsoft: "If you don't like us so much why don't you go and make your own OS!"

Gabe: "I will!"

And so he did.

Posted by stunik101

Interesting times.....sounds like a game changer ..

brings up a lot of questions....we need a discussion Giantbomb !

Posted by Brendan

It seems like the endgame for all this is if you're really wealthy you can buy a super powerful, constantly upgrading console. Its not really a multi use home computer at that point. If I had boatloads of cash I would be all over it.

Posted by joshwent

If I leave that announcement URL open in another tab, how many trading cards do I get?

Seriously though, Alex didn't really mention what seems to be the biggest news here:

...With SteamOS, “openness” means that the hardware industry can iterate in the living room at a much faster pace than they’ve been able to. Content creators can connect directly to their customers. Users can alter or replace any part of the software or hardware they want. Gamers are empowered to join in the creation of the games they love. SteamOS will continue to evolve, but will remain an environment designed to foster these kinds of innovation.

So it seems like rather than the 'we know what's best' attitude that Apple and others have with these streaming services, SteamOS is made to be tinkered with. Almost like... a PC! Could have some pretty powerful ramifications.

Posted by DerBonk

@rafaelfc said:

So, if the endgame for PC gaming is becoming console gaming, the endgame for consoles is to become PCs?

My head hurts.

Awesome news... I guess.

I feel like this is Valve banking on making PC more like PC, getting away from the closed MS Windows system and trying to establish Linux as an open alternative for entertainment use. With the caveat that they, of course, run the prime store for that OS, even though they may not shut other stores out (and neither direct sale from the devs), they will still make a mint. I just hope that this is them also embracing DRM-free games to really go together with their openness doctrine.

Posted by Besetment

My steam library is in the hundreds, and all of them are Windows games. Why would I "stream" them to a SteamOS machine when I can just play them on my Windows PC? It's already hooked up to a TV.

Edited by shinjin977

Oh this shit is gold. I have every confident Valve will be able to bring this OS up to speed in the future if not right away. Microsoft now faces a 2 prong attack both from Sony on the console side and the potential of losing the before now neutral ground pc gamers. Time for desperate Microsoft is best Microsoft.

Posted by Dimi3je

So it begins...

Posted by Zauzazu

@rafaelfc: Remember the synthesis ending of Mass Effect 3? It's basically that.

Edited by cikame

Well this is super interesting, now if you want to slam together a machine for gaming only you can stick this on it for free instead of spending hundreds on another Windows licence, i'm assuming developers will start to port games to 'SteamOS', the success of this rests entirely on its available library.

Posted by Zauzazu

@rafaelfc: Remember the synthesis ending of Mass Effect 3? It's basically that.

Edited by stunik101

@besetment: yes i agree ,i have the same set up....

but how will i then take advantage of the 'performance gains' from SteamOS ?

Posted by mrcraggle
@sargon said:

And now we wait another 48 hours for the next announcement...

Dota 2 hats

Posted by stunik101

@besetment: yes i agree ,i have the same set up....

but how will i then take advantage of the 'performance gains' from SteamOS ?

Posted by Coolarman

I guess its cool for people who want to play PC games in their living room. But i already have a big ass monitor on my desk and don't see a need for this. Besides, all i do is play DOTA anyway which is impossible to play with a controller.

Posted by Fear_the_Booboo

I'm kinda worried about what will happen to all non-Steam games out there.

If Greenlight proved one thing, it is that there's a lot of good or at least interesting games that can't make it on Steam.

Posted by Benmo316

I'm curious if the OS will look similar to Big Picture Mode. I'm not a huge fan of how that looks and navigates with a controller. Are there really that many people that don't like using a mouse and keyboard AND have their gaming PC hooked up to a TV? It must be a large amount of people since Valve is going after that market.

Posted by CaLe

I'll be watching from the sidelines with great vengeance and furious anger. I mean interest.

Posted by UncleBenny

I wish I didn't invest in all those roku boxes last month. If I paid more I could have a steam box (maybe?) that'd stream games to the big screen but can also serve as what the roku box does. I'm completely down with that.

Edited by JazGalaxy

@rafaelfc said:

So, if the endgame for PC gaming is becoming console gaming, the endgame for consoles is to become PCs?

My head hurts.

Awesome news... I guess.

I think the truth is in the middle.

In reality, PC's died about 2003 or so. When the reality that the world had moved pst the point where your PC was supposed to be your central hub of everything you do in your life. It was, for like 4 or 5 years, then then Cell phones came along and upended the whole concept. And then tablets. The truth is people DON'T LIKE COMPUTERS. And never have. NERDS like computers, and always have. There was a weird period when people though that suddenly everyone liked computers, but really people liked what computers could do, but secretly wished they could do all that without computers.

This is what's happening now and Valve gets it.

Edited by joshwent

@coolarman said:

Besides, all i do is play DOTA anyway which is impossible to play with a controller.

SteamOS motion controls, duh. Gank dem fools by waving your arms violently in the air.

@jazgalaxy: Answer honestly, did you just write all of that nonsense from a computer?

Posted by Wilshere

OS purposely build for games/entertainment might be cool.

Posted by MeatSim

Ok? I hope the other announcements make this more exciting.

Edited by Mezmero

Consider my brain exploded. I literally can't comprehend what this could mean for computer games, but it feels like PCs might make a comeback?

Posted by Viking_Funeral

This makes so much sense, that I'm not surprised no one else thought it was a possibility.

Posted by LeYcH

Eh, cool news for those who care I guess.
I couldn't care less about PC in a living room.

Posted by AndrewB

Come on, Gabe. When you come out and say you're building a Steam OS, you're saying you're building an x86 architecture-based video game console. They're making a PC console. Honestly, I don't think that's a bad thing. I think there's some necessity in distancing your platform from the volatile PC/ Microsoft gaming ecosystem. Microsoft could cease to be a player in the PC market in the long term, or they could stop supporting anything outside of the confines of their own console hardware when it comes to video games. The move makes sense. But this whole play is essentially just going to mean that there's a third console in the major players, with Nintendo doing their own thing.

Online
Posted by Amp

@scarabus: The backwards compatibility comes from being a thinclient.

Posted by jayjonesjunior

My steam library is in the hundreds, and all of them are Windows games. Why would I "stream" them to a SteamOS machine when I can just play them on my Windows PC? It's already hooked up to a TV.

Maybe it is not meant for you, Mr. Center of the Universe.

Edited by JazGalaxy

@joshwent said:

@coolarman said:

Besides, all i do is play DOTA anyway which is impossible to play with a controller.

SteamOS motion controls, duh. Gank dem fools by waving your arms violently in the air.

@jazgalaxy: Answer honestly, did you just write all of that nonsense from a computer?

Of course I did. I'm at work (on lunch break). But I'm writing from a computer where my main tools are Adobe Illustartor and Adobe Photoshop. Two programs from a company that is doing it's best to get off of PCs. I wouldn't be surprised I Adobe gets into the hardware game in a few years and does very much like what Valve is doing right now. In fact, Adobe already IS getting into the hardware game with it's newly announced Ipad accessory hardware. If Adobe moves off the PC, this whole rig goes in the trash.

Posted by MarkWahlberg

Not to be a dick, Alex, but saying 'living room' over and over again doesn't really clarify what this is supposed to do.

Posted by Colourful_Hippie

Yes, yes, YES!