An Operating System Built Around Games? Welcome, SteamOS
I must admit, I may have oversold the importance of the single announcement made by Valve last night a few hours prior to the reveal. I knew that Valve were going to make three announcements soon regarding how they planned to change the way we game in our living rooms, but I had no idea that all three announcements were going to happen this week. So, after that realisation, I expected nothing more than a small reveal of some information that would only serve to make me even more excited for the final announcement set to be made this week. Sort of like waiting for the last episode of Breaking Bad or something.
But hell, I don’t think anyone could’ve expected what Valve actually had in store for us last night.
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While many were waiting for the reveal of the Steam Box (which will probably happen later this week), Valve announced their newest piece of software: SteamOS. Now if you’re not sure what OS stands for by now, you’ve had your head in a hole for probably most of your life. SteamOS will be the world’s first operating system built specifically for games, with Valve working on a Linux-based framework to create a truly gamer centric system. Why did they do this? Well, seems like Valve isn’t really content with any other OS in terms of gaming focus, so they just decided to make their own.
“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.”
“We’ve come to the conclusion that the environment best suited to delivering value to customers is an operating system built around Steam itself.”
Now SteamOS isn’t just a small system built for living room gaming. It’s an extension of the world’s biggest digital distribution system, giving you access to your entire Steam library from virtually anywhere in your house now. You’ll be able to purchase games, chat with friends, and most importantly play your entire library of titles on the new OS. What’s more, there’s a couple of brand new features that surely pave the way for Valve’s own hardware.
As previously announced, SteamOS will introduce features such as Family Sharing, which will allow you to open up your games library to relatives or close friends. In addition to this Valve also announced a new streaming service that will enable gamers to stream their PC games straight to their TV. There’s also new features regarding parental control options and media services. However the real changes exist primarily under the hood, with Valve already boasting about how an OS built around gaming improves overall visual and audio performance, not to mention reduced latency from input devices. That’s something developers and consumers alike could really take advantage of.
Not only that, but Valve wants SteamOS to evolve over time, and you’re invited to join in on the evolution.
“Steam is not a one-way content broadcast channel, it’s a collaborative many-to-many entertainment platform, in which each participant is a multiplier of the experience for everyone else. 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.”
SteamOS will be made available as a free download sometime in the near future, with Valve already teasing that the second of three announcements will take place at 7pm local time on Wednesday. We could very well have a new entry into the console race by the end of the week, and Valve has come out looking strong so far.