Valve Reveals SteamOS

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Valve Reveals SteamOS

SteamOS logo

SteamOS promises to combine "the rock-solid architecture of Linux with a gaming experience built for the big screen."

The big Steam countdown has hit zero and amazingly, what greeted its hungry audience was not a server crash but SteamOS, a new, Linux-based operating system that will soon be available for "living room machines." Valve claims its new OS offers "significant performance increases in graphics processing," and says it is also working on improving audio performance and input latency.

Valve says "SteamOS machines" will offer a number of new features that have a focus on living room-based gaming. The biggest is probably the ability to stream Windows and Mac games from your standard PC to your SteamOS device, effectively bringing all your games to the big screen. Popular media services offering music, movies and television will also be accessible through the OS, and "Family Sharing" and other options will allow for easy sharing of games and more.

The SteamOS page also spends a good chunk of time talking about it as a "cooperating system," describing it as "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," it states. "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."

It's long on vague, jargon-y promises and short on detail, but there's no question that this is a big move. It's also worth pointing out, in case there's any question, that this isn't meant to muscle Windows (or whatever) off your PC, but to power separate, stand-alone "living room machines." In other words, in case there was any question, this all but guarantees that an announcement of a Steam box - the "SteamOS machine," as Valve puts it - will follow soon.

SteamOS is the first of three big announcements coming out of Valve this week - the countdown for the second has already started, and will hit zero in just under 48 hours, which means 1 pm EST on Wednesday.

Source: Steam

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Interesting, I just might do a dual boot with my new PC if this turns out to be half decent.

I certainly know my brother will be begging for this to go on the family computer.

And there was me saying you'd never get everyone to jump over to Linux. GabeN, you magnificent bastard! D=

Seeing as I bought a rig specifically for gaming... I may have to set up a dual boot if it turns out well.

The one obstacle I saw in front of Gabe's vision - convincing everyone to use a Linux distro over their Windows installation, may be moving out of the way. There's no better way to handle that than to create their own distro with the "Steam" monicker and promise better graphics power. Now to find that middle market who wants a PC, doesn't want to build/buy their own, and essentially want a box similar to one of their consoles to get their feet wet. I'm excited to see how this all turns out.

Daverson:
And there was me saying you'd never get everyone to jump over to Linux. GabeN, you magnificent bastard! D=

This is no Linux tough, and by that I mean it's not meant to be a Windows alternative for PCs. It seems to be however a Linux based OS, but if that is what you meant, "everyone" already jumped over to Linux with Android.

Anyway if they deliver on the performance increases I am in.

Andy Chalk:
In other words, in case there was any question, this all but guarantees that an announcement of a Steam box - the "SteamOS machine," as Valve puts it - will follow soon.

That's kinda what I figure is going to happen as well, but who knows. All I know is that the announcement confused me greatly, because those vague, jargon-y promises pretty quickly make my eyes glaze over in boredom.

Also, I can't take credit for this, but "SteamOS" should totally be called "GladOS" instead.

Hurr hurr, Andy Shandy, I'm in the threads, stealing your jokes!

I'm disappointed that Valve didn't call it GladOS. It was the perfect opportunity!

shrekfan246:

Andy Chalk:
In other words, in case there was any question, this all but guarantees that an announcement of a Steam box - the "SteamOS machine," as Valve puts it - will follow soon.

That's kinda what I figure is going to happen as well, but who knows. All I know is that the announcement confused me greatly, because those vague, jargon-y promises pretty quickly make my eyes glaze over in boredom.

Also, I can't take credit for this, but "SteamOS" should totally be called "GladOS" instead.

Hurr hurr, Andy Shandy, I'm in the threads, stealing your jokes!

Not only do you steal them, you ninja me as well!

DrunkOnEstus:
The one obstacle I saw in front of Gabe's vision - convincing everyone to use a Linux distro over their Windows installation, may be moving out of the way. There's no better way to handle that than to create their own distro with the "Steam" monicker and promise better graphics power. Now to find that middle market who wants a PC, doesn't want to build/buy their own, and essentially want a box similar to one of their consoles to get their feet wet. I'm excited to see how this all turns out.

If valve can get a version of linux thats as user friendly and stable as windows 7 then they could take over PC gaming.

The only thing I have to ask is... why? The console can't really stand alone, considering its Linux library is bare bones to say the least. So, in order to play any games worth their salt, it will require a running a high end gaming PC somewhere else in the house running Windows or MacOS.

Then, on top of that, you'll have to have another piece of gaming hardware sitting in the living room.

At that point, what's the lure? Why strip your PC Of all the other features that you'd want/need just for this OS? Why not just run Steam on said Living Room rig in Big Picture Mode running Windows?

It seems like reinventing the wheel, and unnecessarily. A great idea hampered by the fact that it's relying on a complicated home-network setup to function with everything on Steam's Library. Either that, or you get stuck with the limited Linux-based stuff.

So, no one caught the "first of three big announcements" part of the article?

allow me, HL3, Confirmed to not be confirmed as the third announcement.

OT, now they have their own OS, just how long until we see PC's that are purpose built for SteamOS? As long as it doesn't need a second OS for launching or support, this might be a great addition to PC gamers OS choices.

Ugh if it can eventually work as a good OS overall (as in do my work, play all my games and generally be like my Windows 7, BUT WITH more gaming capabilities).

Doesn't seem like something I would use because I would still need to have a Windows machine running elsewhere to stream my Windows games off of.

I'm not certain why it is really needed, and I am REALLY unconvinced about the need for a dedicated Steam Box.

But you know what would be crazy?

If by "living room machines" with steam streaming support, they are actually talking about one of the next gen consoles. That would throw everything on its head. In a good way.

Andy Shandy:

Not only do you steal them, you ninja me as well!

I think my avatar sums up my reaction to this turn of events.

Couldn't have gone better if I had planned it ahead of time!

Andy Chalk:
SteamOS is the first of three big announcements coming out of Valve this week - the countdown for the second has already started, and will hit zero in just under 48 hours, which means 1 pm EST on Wednesday.

Who's willing to bet that we'll be waiting for the third announcement for years to come?

So it enables... chromecast for steam?

I'd be in on that; chromecast was brilliant so being able to seamlessly stream gaming to a television from another room would be a huge step forward.

I'm a bit underwhelmed that this is meant just for streaming from the PC and for music, videos etc...
It sounds kinda like a Xbone without the games.

But I hope this will work out fine, they might just inspire developers to port to their system and then getting rid of Windows would actually be an option.

I'm a little concerned with the amount of control Valve would be able to exert. I like Steam, but it's near monopolistic position is worrying. Having a Valve OS would be sure to lock everyone into Steam being the only outlet for purchasing/playing games.

Also, who wants to bet HL3 is going to be a SteamOS exclusive?
This would explain the crazy development time.

DrunkOnEstus:
Now to find that middle market who wants a PC, doesn't want to build/buy their own, and essentially want a box similar to one of their consoles to get their feet wet. I'm excited to see how this all turns out.

I am absolutely that middle market haha. My steam library is huge but I mainly have to use a Mac for work, so I can only play a few of the titles. I've been waiting to see what moves Valve makes in this regard before setting out on buying a PC of my own because, as someone who doesn't really have the time to dedicate to staying on top of the research and tech necessary to ensure the best of the best, the task just seems so daunting.

The power of and adaptability of a PC with the combined convenience of Steam and a living room console... that sounds like a dream come true to me. Price be damned.

Off topic... Cap'cha... "$1.29 Hot N Spicy McChicken" This is getting a little silly.

Oh great, yet another Linux variant. Not like we already have an established operating system pretty much all games are being made for...

Nocturnus:
The only thing I have to ask is... why? The console can't really stand alone, considering its Linux library is bare bones to say the least. So, in order to play any games worth their salt, it will require a running a high end gaming PC somewhere else in the house running Windows or MacOS.

Then, on top of that, you'll have to have another piece of gaming hardware sitting in the living room.

At that point, what's the lure? Why strip your PC Of all the other features that you'd want/need just for this OS? Why not just run Steam on said Living Room rig in Big Picture Mode running Windows?

It seems like reinventing the wheel, and unnecessarily. A great idea hampered by the fact that it's relying on a complicated home-network setup to function with everything on Steam's Library. Either that, or you get stuck with the limited Linux-based stuff.

Shhhh, the Valve fanboys will hear your dissension.

OT: I couldn't care less. I don't game in my living room, I don't have the money to get a new OS, I don't care about big picture and I'm not gonna buy another machine just so I can use my TV (Xbox and PS is a thing for this).

I just don't care.

We're working with many of the media services you know and love. Soon we will begin bringing them online, allowing you to access your favorite music and video with Steam and SteamOS.

If this means I can have a native Netflix client right in Steam, I'll be super happy. PCs have always gotten the short end of the stick with Netflix in terms of UI, getting only the browser experience and nothing else.

P.S. Thanks

Hm, I was really hoping for a separate console that can run Steam games, so I wouldn't have to worry about my PC outdating so soon. But maybe more will come in the second announcement.

-Mod edit: User requested a permaban.

Lord Gaben has not forsaken us!

Wow, that really sounded dumb on my part. Still, excited to see how SteamOS shapes up.

Chaosritter:
Oh great, yet another Linux variant. Not like we already have an established operating system pretty much all games are being made for...

Valve hates where that OS is going. Making their own is a pretty interesting way of getting around that.

sirjeffofshort:
that sounds like a dream come true to me. Price be damned.

Saviordd1:
I don't have the money to get a new OS, I don't care about big picture and I'm not gonna buy another machine just so I can use my TV

It's free, and OSs can be dual booted.

Just saying.

rofltehcat:
I'm a bit underwhelmed that this is meant just for streaming from the PC and for music, videos etc...
It sounds kinda like a Xbone without the games.

But I hope this will work out fine, they might just inspire developers to port to their system and then getting rid of Windows would actually be an option.

It streams games as well. And everything else about Steam. Go and read the full release info: http://store.steampowered.com/livingroom/SteamOS/

Captcha: Are you ready?

lacktheknack:

Chaosritter:
Oh great, yet another Linux variant. Not like we already have an established operating system pretty much all games are being made for...

Valve hates where that OS is going. Making their own is a pretty interesting way of getting around that.

sirjeffofshort:
that sounds like a dream come true to me. Price be damned.

Saviordd1:
I don't have the money to get a new OS, I don't care about big picture and I'm not gonna buy another machine just so I can use my TV

It's free, and OSs can be dual booted.

Just saying.

They can hate where it's going all they want to, but the fact of the matter is that most people are still going to run it, and with that, most games are going to be made for it. on top of that, their native Linux Platform is still going to require a machine with a good set of hardware running that "operating system that they don't like" in order to access the grand majority of their library.

If they get a good amount of games running and released natively for it then people will likely ditch windows in a heartbeat. Well played Valve well played.

Could be interesting. A stripped-down OS that will be able to do anything Windows can currently do[1], but intrinsically safer[2], and without the bloat[3].

[1] It's Linux. It will be hacked so that we can install any linux software on it, if it isn't open anyway on release.
[2] MS are getting better at security, but Linux has a lot more security features built in as standard.
[3] Windows cruft, forcing you to reinstall every 6 months or so to ensure proper efficiency.

The only reason I'm still using Windows as my main OS is because I have about 150 games on Steam.

I, for one, welcome our new Linux overlords.

As to this being redundant, have people actually stepped back and looked where Microsoft is heading with Windows 8? It's away from the home PC/game PC environment - that's why the XBox is the "One" - you have a tablet for office work, and an XBox One for games and TV. They don't see a future for traditional desktop PCs (their stupidity).

And that's before you even look at the store restrictions they are trying to force with the like of Windows RT.

Nocturnus:

lacktheknack:

Chaosritter:
Oh great, yet another Linux variant. Not like we already have an established operating system pretty much all games are being made for...

Valve hates where that OS is going. Making their own is a pretty interesting way of getting around that.

sirjeffofshort:
that sounds like a dream come true to me. Price be damned.

Saviordd1:
I don't have the money to get a new OS, I don't care about big picture and I'm not gonna buy another machine just so I can use my TV

It's free, and OSs can be dual booted.

Just saying.

They can hate where it's going all they want to, but the fact of the matter is that most people are still going to run it, and with that, most games are going to be made for it. Their native Linux Platform, to a large extent, is still going to require a machine with a good set of hardware running that "operating system that they don't like" in order to access the grand majority of their library.

Hilarious. I challenge you in the other thread and you don't even grace me with a reply, but bring up the exact same things I tried to answer fifteen minutes later in this thread... and then reply to me in this one to take me to task on a different issue.

Blinded by single-mindedness? Never!

Anyways, no one said that it wasn't going to need good hardware. Also, you're not a soothsayer. SteamOS is much more game-oriented than Windows, and it's fully possible it'll eclipse Windows in use by gamers.

Nocturnus:

lacktheknack:

Chaosritter:
Oh great, yet another Linux variant. Not like we already have an established operating system pretty much all games are being made for...

Valve hates where that OS is going. Making their own is a pretty interesting way of getting around that.

sirjeffofshort:
that sounds like a dream come true to me. Price be damned.

Saviordd1:
I don't have the money to get a new OS, I don't care about big picture and I'm not gonna buy another machine just so I can use my TV

It's free, and OSs can be dual booted.

Just saying.

They can hate where it's going all they want to, but the fact of the matter is that most people are still going to run it, and with that, most games are going to be made for it. on top of that, their native Linux Platform is still going to require a machine with a good set of hardware running that "operating system that they don't like" in order to access the grand majority of their library.

You never know, Valve may have worked out to make a decent Windows VM for SteamOS. The OS may be Linux, but the games would think it was Windows. Similar to how GoG have managed to get all their pre-XP games to run on modern machines.

Weaver:
I'm a little concerned with the amount of control Valve would be able to exert. I like Steam, but it's near monopolistic position is worrying. Having a Valve OS would be sure to lock everyone into Steam being the only outlet for purchasing/playing games.

I think your concerns are completely unfounded. Firstly, Valve isn't even close to being in a monopolistic position. In fact, so long as other OS's continue to exist (which they will) and the PC platform stays open (which it pretty much will), they'll never be able to abuse their position in the way a company like Microsoft used to try and do because there are always going to be other companies and competitors ready to stick the knife in and give it a good twist should Valve ever betray their customers trust to any large degree.

Second, there's absolutely no reason to believe that releasing on SteamOS would require people to use Steam as their distribution platform. Valve has been extremely vocal about the need to keep the PC platform open, and is one of the biggest criticisms they had of Windows 8. Is it possible that they could make it a closed system with Steam required? Sure. Would it work? Not in a million years. They're not going to get this OS on millions of machines by making it closed off.

I think this is just to get the "screw Linux, it won't run all my games" elephant out of the room. A lot of the page is dedicated to assuring you everything carries over, like your games and friends and the Workshop and everything.

So it's not like consoles where you grab a new piece of hardware and lose all your own functionality. Here you get all the old functionality from the start - if the streaming turns out fine.
The openness and hardware power potential sound like vague promises tho, they'll need to show some good hardware and launch titles to truly convince everyone, but they've already hinted at "living room machines" and "upcoming AAA titles", so I wouldn't worry about that. For now a few people might already be interested in grabbing a cheap PC to make their own SteamBox since the SteamOS itself will be free.

I'd definitely say getting the elephant out of the room first was the right decision. Any shiny features they could have shown would have been overshadowed by a big dark "b-but Linux" cloud. Lots of people were scared that Linux would mean less functionality.

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