After GLaDOS: Valve Releasing SteamOS

As the internet held its breath and the countdown reached zero, speculation in the RPS chatroom reached fever pitch. And after the announcement was made, John bellowed, “I PREDICTED THAT!”. He did, you know. Valve are releasing an operating system, SteamOS and this is what we know.

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.

More below.

The fact that this is actually happening is important in and of itself but I’ve picked through the announcement page for the most relevant pieces of information. I’m also going to have a swift ponder about how much it’ll affect me (probably not a great deal).

1) It’s an open, ‘collaborative’ system – “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.”

2) It’s built on the foundation of Linux. Combined with all of the ‘living room’ features announced, this means that a Linux-derived system may well have better support for big screens and cross-device play than Windows. If you see Microsoft staring at the ground, they’re probably looking for one of the balls they dropped.

3) SteamOS is free and is coming “soon”. Because Valve operate in the screeching chaos between two different timelines, that could mean anything.

4) Everything that Steam already does will also be part of SteamOS and available on SteamOS machines. That could well mean ‘PCs with SteamOS installed’ but the next of Valve’s three announcement seems likely to be the long-rumoured SteamBox. Here’s what they have to say about support for the Steam catalog(ue). “Hundreds of great games are already running natively on SteamOS. Watch for announcements in the coming weeks about all the AAA titles coming natively to SteamOS in 2014. Access the full Steam catalog of over nearly 3000 games and desktop software titles via in-home streaming.”

5) The next part could be important. “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. Game developers are already taking advantage of these gains as they target SteamOS for their new releases.” Forget the ‘significant performance increases’ for now, it’s the support for developers that might bring about the most long-reaching changes. Providing a platform and a ready-made marketplace for developers to target, built to be independent and open, could alter the methods by which developers find visibility and support through Steam. My feeling is that, right now, this is a more exciting announcement for developers than it is for consumers.

6) Do we care about the living room experience? It’s not important to me. The TV is what other people look at while I’m playing games. Valve say this: “Finally, you don’t have to give up your favorite games, your online friends, and all the Steam features you love just to play on the big screen. SteamOS, running on any living room machine, will provide access to the best games and user-generated content available.” I’ve got a pocketwatch and a record player in my living room – can’t wait to play Team Fortress on ’em.

7) Streaming. This could have been the headline announcement. “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!” They even used an exclamation mark!

8) And what will that third announcement be – a certain game, perhaps? Exclusivity to SteamOS maybe? We’ll know soon.


  1. Anthile says:

    So it begins.

    • Cinek says:

      I hope that what begins isn’t a new split of gamers.
      Steambox vs Windows
      Just wait for these “exclusives” to come. And how we all eventually will be forced into dual-boot BS.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Half-Life 2 was the thin end of the wedge Valve used to make “everyone” swallow Steam, their new account-based DRM platform. (No, we don’t need to discuss the “but- but- but- it’s OK because…”. Move along.)

        It would not be unprecidented for them to use Half-Life 3 to push a new mandatory-if-you-want-hugely-anticipated-game-of-legend thing.

        • Cinek says:

          Well… this would be sad.
          Honestly – I hope some of the other digital distribution platforms will come out with a competitors sooner rather than later (GOG, I’m looking at you), cause sick Steam polices right now are only thing that stop me from buying anything there*.

          * Happily sober from Steam since Spring 2013.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Your 6 month pin comes with a free game*. You just need to redeem on steam.

            *Donated by the thoughtful souls at Valve.

        • zbeeblebrox says:

          Hell, why not? It’s what Nintendo does. Wanna play the next awesome Zelda? Then you HAVE to buy Nintendo’s platform, end of discussion.

          • ulix says:

            No. It’s different.

            A Nintendo Platform costs money. SteamOS is free and runs on your existing hardware.

            Anothert reason why they won’t do it: installing a software, and running it (aka Steam when HL2 came out) is a much smaller hassle than installing (and running!) an OS… People really wouldn’t swallow it, at least not right away.

          • Baines says:

            People didn’t like Steam at first, either. Valve won people over with competitive pricing.

            Who knows what Valve might ultimately try with SteamOS. Right now, it seems to be an expansion of Big Picture mode. But it is also going to be the basis of SteamBox.

            Maybe Valve will actually try to start a new hardware/OS war, with games that are “optimized” for SteamOS the same way that games are optimized for particular video cards. Windows 8 seemed to bother Gabe Newell, and it remains to be seen just how far he might go to push a Linux-based alternative. Or is this his alternative to consoles? (Of course it could be both.)

        • mouton says:

          There is a difference between forcing on people a DRM scheme/storefront and a whole OS/whatever thingie.

        • WrenBoy says:

          Dont be silly, Half Life 3 will be exclusive (for X months) to the Steam Box which will run on Steam OS.

          • Smashbox says:

            Definitely not – Their moves are designed to create more customers, not shift some current customers to a slightly different platform they don’t even necessarily make money from.

          • WrenBoy says:

            Why are they creating the Steam Box if not to make money?

          • iainl says:

            The plan appears to be to make money by selling yet more Steam games. Many, many more Steam games. Oh, and cut Microsoft out of the loop by using a free OS, as taking the £80 OS fee away is the single most obvious step to making a Steam Box price competitive with consoles.

          • WrenBoy says:

            In order for this plan to work wont they have to have some cunning means of convincing people to buy a Steam Box?

            Edit: I am assuming that the price of a PC minus 80 pounds is not reason enough, given that this price is still not competitive with consoles which are sold at a loss.

          • Smashbox says:

            My point is that they make no extra money from you deciding to install Steam OS on your pc, or build a steam box. They make their money when you buy more games from them. If you’re already doing that, why would they want to switch your platform – you’re a profitable customer.

            Maybe, though, just maybe, you would consider a streaming box. Or maybe someone would buy this instead of Xbone, or maybe they’ll attract a different group of people to their ecosystem.

          • WrenBoy says:

            While that is perfectly reasonable, if that is the limit of their ambition then there is no need for the steam box at all. This could be the case of course maybe there is no steam box. But if there is it has to be supported somehow, either through price, exclusive games or exclusive services (like steam tv or some such nonsense).

            Anyway I guess we will see soon enough.

        • teakwall says:

          wut. Half Life 2 was released years after steam was initiated. Lets not get all David Icke about this.

          • darkChozo says:

            *Wikipedia research follows*

            HL2 was released just about a year after Steam. However, HL2 required a Steam account to install, and was the very first single player game to require online activation (through Steam, of course).

            *Wikipedia research ends*

            So yes, HL2 was most definitely used to drive Steam adoption.

          • teakwall says:

            implying steam is some kind of sloppy game distribution platform built exclusively for DRM purposes. Don’t be silly please.

          • P.M. Gleason says:


            That’s not at all what he’s saying. You sound a bit defensive.

        • killias2 says:

          1. If Half-Life 3 is announced this week I will EAT MY HAT. I wish Intrade had a future based on this because I would put every dime I have into “no HL3/HLE3 announcement this week.”

          2. The whole series of announcements is about the “living room.” It’s Steam’s attempts to broaden the appeal of its storefront and to help protect Steam against any sudden changes Microsoft tries to make to Windows (if, say, Windows 9 was more Windows RT than Windows 8). I will EAT MY HAT if Steam sees the need to announce a major exclusive title for this. The whole point of this is to be an expansion of Steam, not a new thing. Splitting the user base more than necessary, IMO, goes against the whole point of this for Steam.

        • DeVadder says:

          We may not need to but maybe we may?
          DRM is not in itself evil. Keeping people from pirating games is not inherently bad.
          And i will allways prefer something account based like Steam that also offers me plenty of advantages.

      • Tei says:

        SteamOS is the “TV OS”. You will still run Linux, Mac or Windows on your desktop.

        • C0llic says:

          That’s how I see this too. Valve are too smart to try and attempt to fracture the pc market. What this will mean is the streaming tech for steam gamers and an increase in native linux games.I don’t they will be developing games that only work on their particulr stripped down linux OS, though I would expect them to only actively support their os and particular distros (as well continuing to cater to windows gamers as a distrubution platform).

        • jrodman says:

          So many many people have tried for the set-top-box, and failed.
          And nowadays we even have some relatively entrenched players.

          I’m unsure. I think they have what it takes to deliver a superior tv experience (in terms of nongame featueres) as compared to sony or microsoft’s game systems. I’m not sure about Apple TV though. It’s a bit of a joke at the moment, but they have a way of really nailing down a market.

      • Kageru says:

        No, this was a reaction to Windows wanting to be apple and have a proprietary “walled garden” approach where they decide what sells and take a slice. It’s a reaction to Microsoft’s loss of interest in the PC as an open platform.

        I love it.

        They’re not going to stop doing steam for windows, they’re not going to use exclusives to restrict gamers, it’s all about widening the pool. Which in this case is having a PC in the living room capable of surviving in the melee between Xbox and PS4.

        • mattevansc3 says:

          You do realise that you can install all the standard desktop software in Windows 8 exactly the same way you always have without Microsoft taking a cut or saying whether you can or can’t?

          You do also realise that around a half of Microsoft’s money is made from the enterprise sector and any attempt to break compatibility with the Enterprise sector’s software that runs in desktop to push the less profitable consumer base into an App Store only distribution system would see Microsoft lose a much larger chunk if money than it stood to gain don’t you?

          • Unruly says:

            With Windows 8, Microsoft has announced that they don’t care about the enterprise sector anymore. There isn’t a single big company looking to shift over to it, even after MS’s half-assed attempts to reintroduce a regular desktop environment with 8.1. What’s going to end up happening is that Win7 will be the last enterprise-used Windows unless Microsoft wises up about the stupidity of trying to force a touch-oriented GUI onto a desktop system. At first glance, Win8.1 makes it look like they have, but then you realize that hitting the start button just dumps you back into the touch-based tiles bullshit.

            Maybe with Ballmer gone next year they’ll start hedging their bets just a little and stop trying to reinvent themselves as an Apple clone. I doubt it though.

          • fatchap says:

            Lol, finger on the pulse of Enterprise IT there. I have projects that cover at least 200k PCs that will be migrated to Win 8 in the next 2 years.

    • Don Reba says:

      So it continues.

    • Slight0 says:

      Remember when Valve used to make games?

      • Jinoru says:

        1998? Just kidding. They’ve been making games all the time though, platforms and interfaces for games are necessary and Valve can make the very best one for PC gamers and everyone.

      • airmikee99 says:

        Like DOTA 2, released just two months ago?

      • Yglorba says:

        Don’t be silly, everyone knows Valve got its start as the world’s foremost virtual milliner.

  2. Alexander says:

    Here’s to hoping this transforms into a full-features free OS, that can run all games.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      It can stream games from Windows machines, so that’s a big help. I can actually see myself building a Steambox for my TV with that being the case. If it were limited to just the Linux selection, not so much.

      • elmuerte says:

        I actually already made that last week. For made a tiny Linux HTPC for about 300 euros for in my bedroom, and I also tried out Steam (played about 2 hours of FTL from my bed). Even though it has an ok GPU (Geforce 610M) the Atom CPU will limit me on what Linux native games I can play from my Steam library (about 85 native Linux games). So the streaming feature will be awesome (although I probably will just sit behind my Windows workstation).

        • apa says:

          What would be a good site/forum to find HTPC experiences? I want me a box that goes under the TV next to PS3 and runs Windows.

          • SuicideKing says:

            Tom’s Hardware, Tech Report and AnandTech. First two also have system guides.

      • Grey Poupon says:

        You can stream your Windows to pretty much every OS already. I doubt they’ve done anything remarkable with it, they’re just advertising lesser known features that have been around for ages, but only commonly taken advantage of in work situations.

        • Boozebeard says:

          I’ve never found a solution responsive enough to play games on it though…

          • ResonanceCascade says:

            Yeah, not even close. Though isn’t Nvidia’s Shield supposed to work pretty well?

        • PearlChoco says:

          I’ll give you a million euros if you can point me to a working solution to play streamed Windows games.
          I tried everything, it just doesn’t work yet.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            NVidia shield? PSVita pre Update with HDMI unlocked (to output to your TV)?

    • akstro says:

      They really havent mentioned much about PCs though. Its TV this and TV that. Does this mean they are porting all windows titles to the SteamOS? Since its built around Linux, will those titles run on actual Linux machines without the SteamOS? Its certainly ambitious but hopefully it will help PC gaming even though they are targeting the console space.

      • Ansob says:

        No, the SteamOS page is quite clear about this. It will run Linux games natively (of which there are what, 200 or so on Steam right now?) and it will stream everything else from your desktop.

        It’s not a replacement for Windows and the SteamBox doesn’t even replace having a gaming desktop.

        • Cinek says:

          So… useless garbage.
          Just like the Big Picture. Nothing more than an annoyance if you accidentally turn it on.

          • Reapy says:

            It’s ok…. but I just found I can’t avoid a mouse and keyboard for a windows HTPC. Inevitably something fucks up and you have to just click something or type something. Even steam is crucially fucked up for big picture mode. If I log in on my PC steam is punted and I have a dialog box asking me to type in a password. How do I do this with my controller? I don’t, and even if there is (not sure) a soft keyboard I don’t want to type the whole thing in that way.

            But when you are in it and it is running… not bad. If I can stream non linux games via network to it easily and XBMC works on it…moving 100% to it for the HTPC.

          • Cinek says:

            Reapy – just buy yourself wireless M&K. They’re useless for gaming, but good for what you need.

          • iainl says:

            Useless for you, quite possibly. Some of us have our PCs in a different room to the big telly, however. I’ve been running the numbers on possibly building a second gaming PC for the living room, and I just can’t make it financially sensible when I look at the PS4, and how much a case that will sit in my hi-fi rack and yet hold a double-width graphics card costs. A thin client running a free OS streaming the games from my big desktop is a whole new ballgame, however.

            I’m almost as excited by the other parts announced for the coming Steam changes, though – the ability to create a second account for my son, linked to mine so I don’t need to buy games twice, but where he gets his own saves and can only see the games I deem suitable for him, is what turns Steam gaming from a fun novelty to a practical alternative to a console in our house.

          • Baines says:

            *If* Valve can point to enough people using SteamOS, then they might get more publishers to look at Linux as an option for the alleged performance boost. Depending on how much Valve wants to support it, they could theoretically make Linux/SteamOS the lead platform for their own PC development.

          • Reapy says:

            That’s what I had to end up doing hehe, though I tried to go controller/ipad remote only for a bit with kb in the cabinet, had to go to it too much though. In hindsight I should have gotten a mini kb, the full sized one is always in the way.

          • Wedge says:

            Not sure how Big Picture is useless for what it’s intended for. I do have a controller setup to operate as a mouse on my TV PC currently, but could barely read the normal Steam interface from where I’m sitting.

        • Aaarrrggghhh says:

          Depends. The announcement talks about AAA announcements for the Steambox in the coming weeks.

        • kurasu1415 says:

          I hate to be blunt, but you are blantantly incorrect. The point of the systems that Valve wants to put out is to allow you to natively play any games that are linux compatible. If there is a game that isn’t, then you may stream it from your Windows/OSX machine. Most new engines have Linux support, and almost every kickstarter/indie game has linux support as well. Their hope is to drive the industry to change (which it already is) to a point where Linux is a primary gaming platform. Not only that, but they already announced that key AAA titles from this coming generation will be on SteamOS. So, games like Titanfall, Destiny, GTAV etc are candidates for this. This announcement will likely be on Friday, along with their new exclusive title, and their new engine.

          People are saying that titles like Titanfall/Destiny can’t be released on SteamOS due to them being “exclusives”, but that isn’t the case. Legally since it’s not a console port, it’s an operating system port, the companies are free to do as they please and still be within contract.

      • iniudan says:

        Been Linux, the SteamOS feature will most likely be officially repackaged by other Linux distro, unless the software license is not free, which would be a grave mistake, if it wasn’t, has what Valve want is people to use steam service, while been agnostic of the platform, if there is a Steambox available it is simply for convenience of the end user and/or has a reference model of OEM.

        And don’t think they are porting Windows title, other then their own and creating tool to help those willing to do so. Basically what will happen is that your Windows PC will be able to act has streaming server for steam game for the SteamOS box.

        The question now is will they make the streaming client software will be available for other OS then Linux, which I think is actually quite likely, smart TV manufacturer, other then Sony, would freaking jump on it, if easy to port to their TV OS, along proper input device (keyboard, mouse and gamepad) support for such streaming.

        • bstard says:

          I’m wondering if there’re already talks between Valve and, say, Samsung to produce a TV with SteamOS integrated. Thats Steam content ready for the console croud. Still it will need a intro video to explain this device we call the keyboard :P

          • stampy says:

            samsung already has extensibility boxes that plug into their tvs — just the ticket. so much nicer to be able to buy a box that hides snugly behind the TV, than to have to have it fully integrated, and have to pay for a new box if you get a new tv.

    • iniudan says:

      It will be capable of that (there is no way to make a Linux system incapable of that while keeping PC architecture, short of completely locking down the boot and storage), the question is how much support such thing will it be getting from Valve.

    • LionsPhil says:

      It’s just a Linux distribution. Making it “Steam OS” is actually restricting and removing functionality from it.


      the rock-solid architecture of Linux


      It’s funny because if Microsoft don’t pull their goddamn finger out again and undo the Windows 8 damage this is the miserable future we’re headed down.

      • FRITZY says:

        Linux is my preferred OS. This is great news. :)

        Why are you so sarcastic and worried?

        • LionsPhil says:

          I work as a developer on Linux-based software, and have been using it as a desktop operating system (alongside others, obviously) for over a decade.

          So, you know. Bitter experience.

          • Cinek says:

            You are officially my favorite poster of the week!

          • DrManhatten says:

            Absolutely agree. Good luck Valve in getting any decent drivers for both audio and graphics that do not break every five seconds, because of zero quality control.

          • WrenBoy says:

            Presumably it will be a good thing in the long run if PC games run mainly on Linux instead of Windows, no? The OS is free for a start and we would not be forced to ever stop using Win 7.

            I wouldnt like to be forced to use Steam OS to play games though. That would be worse.

          • uh20 says:

            considering the whole system is built free, it is a very big miracle that the issues that arrive nowadays for me can be counted on a single hand instead of every thing on my body.

            to the previous posters above me, the graphics and sound is fine. any issue is usually nit-picky and related to a person screwing with his system or with a specific app or developing group.

            not to be rude. but i highly predict the bad times you had were directly caused by messing around with a terminal and trying to mildly upgrade a well working system, almost all linux-related problems are caused by edge-surfing users, they truly are.

            what i am both afraid and glad for is that a straight-forward SteamOS implementation can prevent people from blowing up their installation in a fit of upgrade-esthisia or from wondering which of the several utilities to use for one single task. and as long as this gets thought-through, it will be a very solid system, maybe not windows solid, but at least much better than mac for both solidity and performance.

          • LionsPhil says:

            not to be rude. but i highly predict the bad times you had were directly caused by messing around with a terminal and trying to mildly upgrade a well working system

            You are both rude and wrong.

      • Premium User Badge

        Grimsterise says:

        Ferfectly True

      • Grape Flavor says:

        The “problem” of Windows 8 is mostly psychological. Oh no, they removed the Start Menu. Takes all of 5 minutes to replace it. Virtually everything else is the same or better than Windows 7. Don’t like Metro apps? Fine, no one’s forcing you to use them.

        No, I think people hate Windows 8 more for what it represents, which is the ascendancy of mobile and the retreat of the traditional PC as the dominant paradigm. Microsoft took out a feature that was designed specifically for keyboard and mouse (the Start Menu), and replaced it with a touch-friendly alternative (the Start Screen), and people can’t forgive them for it.

        I’m not even saying the Start Screen is an improvement upon the Menu. But when that is literally the most radical change in Windows 8, and even that is easily reversible, you know all this rage and loathing surrounding Win 8 is really about something bigger.

        • Premium User Badge

          keithzg says:

          I’m not even saying the Start Screen is an improvement upon the Menu. But when that is literally the most radical change in Windows 8, and even that is easily reversible, you know all this rage and loathing surrounding Win 8 is really about something bigger.

          I wholeheartedly agree. As a guy who has been running Linux as his primary desktop since . . . jesus, 2005? Man, time flies. Err, anyways, I actually find the little improvements Windows 8 offers (finally a decent task manager, native ability to mount ISOs, and the fancy file copy graphs I’m used to on my Linux machines, among other things) far outweigh the, what, 30 seconds it takes me to download Classic Shell if I so desperately want the start menu back?

          Now, it’s actually fairly brutal for The Average User, who moves the cursor on their laptop to the side of the screen and clicks accidentally and suddenly their desktop is gone and it’s asking them something about Bing and ARGHHH THIS IS THE WORST etc etc. But for any experienced user, it really isn’t an actual issue, it’s just a few minutes of fiddling. But what it represents for the Microsoft-using crowd is a stark and very hard to ignore reminder that their computing experience exists solely at the pleasure of a large company that won’t think twice about sacrificing them for a chance at wedging into a burgeoning and lucrative market. That must be kindof scary.

          For the record, it was actually Service Pack 2 for XP that made me come to that realization (it was a subtler slap of we-don’t-care, also-we-think-you’re-idiots to the end user, but a slap nonetheless), but instead of railing futilely against Microsoft I just went out and investigated alternatives. The first time I ran a live CD and opened the default file manager in the KDE desktop environment, and it had tabs, well, I knew that this was software written by people who wanted to use it.

          Anyways, my point is that I use WIndows 8 every day at work (although in VMs for software testing; my actual desktop is Linux, and all the servers I administer are as well) and you know, whatever, it’s not really that bad if you’re a power user. The dumb bugs and atrocious UI issues are there, but the ones that really bug me and are fairly unavoidable are the ones that were present in Windows 7 too. But because it doesn’t represent anything to me (except millions of people waking up to something I already knew, like how that last Halo game the longtime fans started saying “you know, the story is actually kindof dumb and the gameplay can get kindof same-y” oh really I hadn’t noticed), it doesn’t bother me at all, while the two Windows-users my age at work get visibly upset at the mere mention of Windows 8.

        • InternetBatman says:

          Windows 8 screwed up search, which is one of the primary ways to navigate an OS. That is a huge problem. I hate metro, but I hate the philosophy behind it more.

        • Stardreamer says:

          Gentlemen, Nail on the Head. Thank you.

          I’ve been defending Windows 8 against the Haters since its launch, those even including one or two members of this here Hivemind. It’s a great OS, and I’m really looking forward to 8.1 next month.

  3. iniudan says:

    Wednesday is Steambox reveal I am pretty sure, due to circle inside a rectangular box.

    • RagingLion says:

      Maybe. I could see it easily representing a head watching a screen, though I don’t know what else would go beyond big screen mode to merit talking about that in a revelatory way.

      The last icon surely must be about connecting people so it’ll be Wednesday or not at all. And not at all would probably be a bit of a shock to people given all the predictions that have been made – but Valve do tend to do things at their own pace.

      • Falcon says:

        I’m hoping that that second icon represents you on a couch and that they’ll talk about some of the human interface stuff they’ve been working on, but we’ll see! =)

      • muffinmonkey says:

        I’m pretty much sure that symbol’s got to be a steambox (I really loved the name piston though, it’d be a shame if that wasn’t a thing), but I think the last one’s a gamepad. If you look at it in the same way that [o ] looks like a console, o+o looks like a SNES style controller. And the symbols themselves work too, because it’d make local multiplayer a lot easier.

        I think that’d be kind of sweet, because if valve did it, everyone would make their games compatible with it.

        • SuicideKing says:

          This is the third time i’ve changed my thoughts on this, but yeah, this seems probable.

          • uh20 says:

            you just changed my predictions too, bravo
            if steambox is wednesday, then friday better damn be this

    • SRTie4k says:

      I agree. If Circle means SteamOS, Circle inside Box means SteamBox.

      The mystery to me is what Circle + Circle means…some type of sharing between SteamOS systems maybe? Or maybe streaming between systems?

  4. oceanclub says:

    Hmm, this is great news, in a way; I can see myself getting such a box for playing SteamOS games + streaming media.

    BUT they admit that you still need a Windows box to play Windows games – both legacy ones _and_ upcoming ones. So this isn’t a Windows killer (and I’m not sure I’d want to be either – maybe that’s misplaced nostalgia but I just can’t see SteamOS becoming as fully-fledged as Windows).


    • Shinan says:

      I only skimmed (because I’m lazy) but wasn’t it implied that it can stream games from your windows machine onto the steamos box?

      • DragonOfTime says:

        Yes, which is exactly why you still need that windows box.

    • cunningmunki says:

      Until all games are adapted to run on SteamOS. I’m sure that day will come.

    • stampy says:

      but oh how I would love to be able to play games from my big beefy gaming desktop on a nice, thin, cool laptop sitting on the couch… that would be so amazing.

      the solutions for that right now don’t quite tackle the latency, and I could definitely see that never being solved for FPS’es, but there are plenty of things where an extra 30ms is just fine — but running slow as dirt on a thin client is useless.

    • Kageru says:

      The streaming is a convenience for those with a gutsy PC and a way of covering up the current thin selection of linux native titles. Since their main target is those who don’t have a powerful gaming PC they’ll continue encouraging developers to do native ports so they can go for that audience as well.

      As someone who runs steam on linux already this is all good news.

  5. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    I hear it won’t work unless you have the “always-on” neurotoxin generator peripheral.

  6. Loxosceles says:

    I already have a laptop with linux installed, its only purpose to stream amazon prime, youtube, and browse the internet on my TV. So now, I can just install Steam OS and stream all my Windows Steam library to my TV without a 50 foot HDMI cable. YAYYY!~!

  7. SupahSpankeh says:

    If it won’t run windows games, it won’t do what Valve need it to do.

    • Apocalypse says:

      It can stream windows games, so why give a dime about not able to run them native and the cheap throwaway hardware I am going to buy for this little os.

      (And with cheap little fellow I mean that I plan to run it on my aging iMac in the bedroom :p)

    • Falcon says:

      Game streaming is huge. It means that I won’t have to have a long HDMI cord running from my beefy desktop PC to the TV. I already have the PC to run Windows games: getting them to the TV is the hard (or in my case, not hard, but ugly) part.

      • RProxyOnly says:

        So in other words…

        SteamOS = long hdmi cable.

        Yeah……. gimme the cable.. why have the bother of two sets of hardware when one wire does the same… surely you can’t be so lazy as to be unwilling to plug in a cable occasionally?

        • Ergates_Antius says:

          Depends where your PC is.

          One additional small piece of hardware in the lounge, or an HDMI cable trailing across the lounge floor, up the stares, across the landing and into the office. Hmmmm, choices…

    • Aaarrrggghhh says:

      Streaming for the transition and some AAA releases in the near future (as mentioned in the announcement). So I would not be so sure about that…

    • Slight0 says:

      I’ve only briefly read about “GPU/Game streaming” and, while it certainly sounds like a good idea, it seems shaky. I mean lots of gamers won’t even use wireless mice for the perceived latency of the bluetooth connection (and other reasons). So why would they start streaming games across wi-fi when that surely would introduce a noticeable amount of latency and other connection related issues?

    • yabonn says:

      If it won’t run windows games, it won’t do what Valve need it to do.

      I wouldn’t put it that way. Rather : “it will be a Very Good Thing Indeed if that means AAA games are somehow coming to Linux, due to work on drivers and due to etcwhateverwhathaveyou”.

  8. daphne says:

    This is a Big Deal. Let us savor this moment, PC Gamers of the World.

    • Apocalypse says:

      Should I approve this new console operating system as a PC gamer or condemn it? You know, this could literally be the beginning of the end of PC gaming as we know it ;-)

      • Banana_Republic says:

        Both M$ and Sony are jockeying for control of the living room with their next gen plans. Frankly, I’d rather see Valve with a horse in that race than letting those two console mutts take ownership. And by going the open source route, Valve is in a good position to undermine them both. As a PC gamer, any victory by Valve/Steam over M$/Sony is a win for me, and I don’t even own a television.

        • Cinek says:

          PC never really got an ownership of the living room and somehow we all were fine about it. Now because people for some totally unexplainable reason still live in ’90s where Microsoft was actually an evil company and still use “M$” from these days – we all will be forced into playing every game with f**** controller and a fonts large enough to see them from 5 meters.
          You know what? I prefer the way where noone but console gamers cares about playing games in a living room.

          • RProxyOnly says:

            M$ were evil in the 90’s?

            What have they done to elevate themselves above that reputation that you seem to think it’s only relevent to yesteryear?

            The last time I looked they were still pulling the same shit.. actually scratch that, it’s worse now, at least in the 90’s they never tried to take control of your hardware from you, no hardware lockouts on 95, 98, or xp but there is now, and that’s one paultry example.

            So no, they deserve that reputation with every fibre of their corporate being and have done everything in their power to cultivate said repuation…. It will be with them for a LOOOOOONG time.

        • Smashbox says:

          I am incredulous. M$? STILL???

          • Grape Flavor says:

            There needs to be a Microsoft equivalent of Godwin’s law where the first person to spell MS with a dollar sign automatically loses the argument.

          • Apocalypse says:

            We call it Grape’s Flavor of Godwin.
            The first person to spell MS with a dollar sign automatically loses the argument.

          • BarneyL says:

            I’ve considered this a form of Godwin for a long time but would include any case where a company name is miswritten with a currency symbol in their name.

      • reggiep says:

        That’s just silliness. The most popular game on steam right now is a Valve game: Dota 2. It is mouse-based, which means it’s most friendly to a desktop over a living room.

        This has the potential to be amazing for PC gaming. By creating a compelling experience for the living room, the Steambox w/ SteamOS competes with consoles, which means devs will be interested, which means more games on PC and less console exclusives. So even if you don’t partake in this experiment, as a PC gamer, you could still benefit greatly.

    • Shuck says:

      As a PC gamer, i.e. someone who plays games in front of a PC, not on my television (which is smaller than my PC monitor), this really isn’t a big deal to me, personally. As a developer, it’s news to follow, as if this takes off, PC games will functionally become console games.

      • Kageru says:

        Anything that widens the market for PC games (ie. not Xbox/PS4 exclusives) is good news for PC gamers.

        • ahac says:

          I’m not sure it is. If PC games move to the living room and to the controler then even less games will be designed for keyboard+mouse and I don’t think this is something PC gamers want.

          I’m also not sure if this will widen the PC market… or split it into two, which would just make it less interesting developers and publishers who are focused on consoles.

  9. Flowerpot Wang says:

    Holy crap, take my money! Oh wait, it’s free! Yesssssssss

  10. Solidstate89 says:

    To get any real use out of it, you still require a Windows PC; with what I would assume would need fairly decent hardware to remotely render and then pump out that stream across your LAN.

    • cunningmunki says:

      “Any real use”? Oh, I see, you mean other than the hundreds of games that it will play better than their Windows counterparts, and catalogue of ‘launch’ games that any console manufacturer would be envious of? No you’re right, no real use at all. Let’s hope the other two announcements are better, eh?

      • Solidstate89 says:

        You mean all of the games that I own that don’t run on Linux? Yeah, I mean to get any use out of it. And there’s literally no evidence you can claim that the games will run any faster.

        No console is jealous of “hundreds” of indie games. Go ask Microsoft and Sony how afraid they are of The Ouya.

      • fish99 says:

        So 200 versus the 3000 games on Steam, so when you decide you want to play a particular game you have a 93% chance it won’t work.

        • Acorino says:

          It’s not like it’s hard to check beforehand which games on Steam work on Linux.
          Personally I realized a short while ago that I own enough Linux games by now that a switch to Linux wouldn’t hurt me much as a gamer, there would still be enough recent high quality games for me to play. Yeah, choice is more limited on Linux, but I feel spoilt for choice anyway.
          That Linux will have as many games as Windows won’t happen any time soon, even if you leave all the legacy games out of the equation. Exclusives won’t happen much, if at all. Linux ports will happen more frequently, but not for every new Windows game there will be.

          • fish99 says:

            How does that help when you already bought the games? Most people already have big Steam libraries. They can’t go back and get refunds for the 93% of their games that won’t work on SteamOS, and even if they could they wouldn’t want to lose access to those games.

            So for most people to use SteamOS they’re going to need a windows PC, plus another PC/SteamBox to stream to.

            And it’s very unlikely that many old games will get patched to work on SteamOS. It’s expensive, there’s little financial benefit to devs/publishers in terms of new sales likely, the teams have moved on, the code isn’t familiar anymore etc.

            Right now I’d say SteamOS is a niche, inside the niche of PC gaming. Valve are playing the long game here, making something that will take 10+ years to replace Windows.

        • Lestibournes says:

          I just want to inject some accuracy into this discussion, so here are the numbers for how many games each OS has on Steam:
          Windows: 2121 (99.99%)
          Mac: 509 (23.98%)
          Linux: 185 (8.72%)
          Total: 2122 (100%)

    • gunny1993 says:

      Well you would need a decent LAN network, I doubt wifi could cut it but a powerline network would be great.

  11. blind_boy_grunt says:

    i doubt it will automagically run windows games but my hope is with the future, if a big player like valve gets involved, maybe the graphic card vendors will better support it, developers will start to actually plan their games with linux in mind (or what actually is the reason for the lack of games on linux)

    • Shuck says:

      “or what actually is the reason for the lack of games on linux”
      Games are made for Windows because that’s what people are using. It’s a catch-22. People are going to use the OS for which there’s the software they want to run, and most developers are going to target the OS with the largest number of users. I have a windows machine purely because that’s where the games are. Nothing much is going to change in that regard any time soon.

      • Cinek says:

        Not to mention the fact that Linux does pretty much everything possible to make sure gamers DO NOT spend their time gaming, but rather fiddling with the OS itself.
        Let’s hope Steam OS will change that. But that’s also a reason why Windows is so successful – you don’t spend nearly as much effort fiddling with it as you do with Linux.

        • jrodman says:

          Huh, I’ve had a single install on my desktop of linux since the year 2002. I barely ever have to touch anything.
          Windows… not so much. LOTS of fiddling required.

        • RProxyOnly says:

          The only fiddling I’ve had to do on any of my linux install is fiddling that I’ve WANTED to do.

          It’s never been necessary per se.

      • cunningmunki says:

        You missed the bit about the AAA titles coming next year, then?

        • Shuck says:

          That doesn’t really mean anything. There are AAA titles already out for Linux, and more for Mac, but if you want to play most games, you still have to have Windows.

      • blind_boy_grunt says:

        “Games are made for Windows because that’s what people are using. It’s a catch-22.”
        exactly, but my hope is that valve will do the alexander thing with the sword and the knot and stuff.

        • Shuck says:

          If Valve were the developers of the games they publish on Steam (and were therefore in a position to port them to Linux), then sure. Or if they had some strong selling point for the Steambox/OS that would allow a stealth introduction of Linux gaming, then sure. But they’re not and they don’t. People aren’t going to buy a full-fledged gaming PC just to stream games from their Windows PC, and or buy one just for the few Linux games that are on Steam right now for living room play.

          • blind_boy_grunt says:

            they talk about significant speed gains, reduced latency etc.
            It seems like the news for you is the streaming and the news for me is a (possible) alternative gaming-os. I guess all we can do is wait and see.

          • Shuck says:

            @blind_boy_grunt: Speed gains and latency (when streaming off a Windows box) don’t make Linux more viable as a gaming OS, however.

          • blind_boy_grunt says:

            “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”
            What else makes a gaming-os for you? Besides available games, of course. For which they also had a paragraph.
            edit: just to make sure, from that sentence i read the latency stuff as architectural/driver related not streaming (which would make sense if the third announcement is a controller)

  12. elderman says:

    I have lots of questions.

    First is: do people still have TVs? If they do, I hope that the SteamOS or at least the Linux-ported games for the SteamOS will nevertheless be available and useful to desktop users too. It’d be great if SteamOS were completely open source, if the work Valve does to make the experience smooth for SteamOS (improved graphics drivers!) users can be adopted by other distros, too.

    • LionsPhil says:

      I’m not sure what mythical patches people expect Valve to conjure up to make e.g. nouveau useful. They’re not mythical god-progammers, and even if they were they’d be mythical god-programmers in the art of game and game engine development, not reverse-engineering and kernel driver development.

      Now, for putting pressure on nVidia and AMD to care more about Linux driver quality, sure. I suspect their useful contribution to the state of Linux 3D is far more likely to be political and business than technical.

      • elderman says:

        Good point. I guess I also hope that they’ll have to do less reverse engineering.

        I have no familiarity with the tools in kind of development, but I expect nVidia and ATI will return their calls when the SteamOS team have questions, when people from those companies might ignore a developer not employed by such a large games retailer and developer. I hear they’re not forthcoming with the kernel devs. If the Valve folks work openly and share information that they get from the GPU manufacturers, that might benefit peripheral projects like, for example, Bumblebee.

        Perhaps I didn’t express myself well, but bringing business pressure is absolutely one of the things that I think Valve can do for Linux gaming. However, I thought I remembered hearing Valve talking, around the time the Piston was announced, more about working with ATI than nVidia.

        Maybe I hope Valve will be a conduit for better communication with the GPU manufacturers. I’m not sure right now, but I’m just generally hopeful.

        Writing in haste, without time to organise my thoughts. May be repeating myself of babbling incomprehensibly.

      • InternetBatman says:

        Last week they said that they were putting a great deal of effort into creating a better debugger for linux, which should help development (if it works) across distros quite a bit even if it isn’t quite as technical as kernal patches.

        • jrodman says:

          Don’t discount debugger work, it’s both quite technical and at times rather black-magic. it’s not easy to make a good one. Sometimes kernel patches are far more straightforward.

          • Rapzid says:

            Haha, I know right? I guess Valve has a gdb replacement on the horizon? lol. Contributing to dtrace(the magic begind xcodes instrumentation) for linux would be a start but… It hasn’t been commited to in 2 months… Maybe they will submit a big pull request next week? Maybe they can throw some money at it.

          • jrodman says:

            The problem with dtrace is the license is incompatible. You can use it because you can combine the two works yourself, which gives you a combined work that isn’t distributable under any license. In a sense you’re violating the GPL license, but since it only controls distribution, that’s academic.

            Shipping SteamOS with such patches would not be legal, however.

            I suppose they could just work on it separately and continue to allow developers to add it themselves, but I’m somehow doubtful this path will be chosen due to the restrictions.

          • InternetBatman says:

            I wish Valve would create a Linux X-prize. List several things they want done, and then put up a a couple hundred thousand for each goal. It’s trivial money for them, but it could turn a lot of heads and create a lot of useful work for the OS.

          • LionsPhil says:

            It would be difficult to award that fairly, though, given that any nontrivial improvement is the work of multiple contributors, themselves building on multiple other projects.

          • InternetBatman says:

            It would be hard to award, but would it be harder than fixing everything themselves?

        • airmikee99 says:

          Then why the nonsensical ‘do people still have TVs?’ question in your comment?

          Television ownership is in decline, last figures I can find state that the rate has dropped, in 2010 it was 98.9% of all US Households, but as of 2011 that had dropped….. to 96.7%.

          • elderman says:

            Well, as I explain below, I don’t own a TV, almost no one I know owns a TV, I don’t live in the US, it’s not a part of my cultural landscape. I guess it’s still a big part of some peoples’ cultural lives, but for me it’s almost totally absent. TV, for me, is a programme I get off the internet. I’m honestly surprised when I hear it’s still a happening thing.

            I’m not that guy, because this is by far the longest thought I’ve expressed about television in about eight years.

          • belgand says:

            Well, oddly enough most of the people I know also do not own televisions. I find it unusual myself, but only two of my friends own then and even then one of them only purchased it within the year, rarely uses it, and never uses it to watch television programs. Presumably if they watch television at all (and some apparently do on occasion) they’re pirating it and watching it on computers.

            Among people with roommates that number drops to zero. Livings rooms are still common, but they don’t have TVs or stereos in them.

            Almost all of these people make a significant amount of money in software as well. Cost is decidedly not a limiting factor here.

          • jrodman says:

            I live in the US. Specifically the San Francisco Bay Area. Most of my peers are some kind of nerds. (Professional, laid back, grown up nerds. Nerds with kids and healthy parenting skills. Nerds who hold cocktail parties and create their own social events. But nerds.)

            Most of my peers own televisions in some form or another, typically large ones. Well, there’s a large television somewhere around the place anyway. As far as I can tell they get a lot of use. They’re used for watching sports as a group. They’re used for playing console games. And they’re used for watching movies. Movies seems the most common theme.

            I’ve never heard of people watching much TV on them, unless maybe it’s a DVD or streamed edition of an HBO series, or something along those lines.

    • Kodeen says:

      Even if it doesn’t have software needed out of the box for traditional desktop functionality (a desktop environment, etc…), things like repos for those pieces of software will definitely be put up. I suspect this is using Ubuntu as a base, you might even be able to use their repos.

    • Jenks says:

      Yes people still own TVs. Some still shave their necks, too.

      • MarcP says:

        Social norms are a bitch.

      • elderman says:

        Embarrassing that today my neck actually is a bit hairy.

        [Edit] I find it surprising, though, that two people responded to my silly joke with personal snark. I guess it came off as nastier than I meant it. I sincerely know very few people who own TVs. There’s a sense of cultural vertigo when something reminds me that TV is still a going concern. As a medium, it’s almost totally absent from my life and has been for years.

  13. vivlo says:

    so that guy read the announcement, wrote this article then put it on the web in no more than 8 minutes (maybe seconds). Good job !

    • MajorManiac says:

      ‘That guy’, I’ll have you know, is Sir Adam of Smith. A fine upstanding individual of great merit.

  14. JamesTheNumberless says:

    Seriously now. What livingroom machine do I install it into? Is it the hoover? Or the Soda Stream?

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      Well, this book shows you how to install Linux on a Roomba: link to

      So that’d be a good place to start.

    • Aaarrrggghhh says:

      Raspberry Pie, Cubieboard,…

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      I’ve been yelling at my fridge to install the damn thing, but it won’t! I’m on the line with Microsoft tech support right now to fix this. THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE!

    • rfa says:

      I have a PlayBox plugged into my TV and would love to stream FTL, Prison Architect, SpaceChem and Papers Please onto my TV.

      Using my controller.

  15. Tiguh says:

    “over nearly 3000 games and desktop software titles “. Still excited but, y’know…

    • Baf says:

      I think the “over nearly” construct describes the mathematical relationship that John Conway called “confused with”. “X is confused with Y” — or, equivalently, “X is over nearly Y” — basically means that X is less than the same things that Y is less than and greater than the same things that Y is greater than, but X and Y are not equal. Obviously this is not a relationship that exists in the real number line, but there are other partially-ordered sets where it’s a useful notion.

      The conclusion we have to draw here is that the Steam catalog’s magnitue is not a real number.

      • Tiguh says:

        F**king genius. Fifty-thousand non-linear, non-real, fifth-dimensional internets to you Sir!

      • blind_boy_grunt says:

        so… like 1 and 2 in N?

        • Baf says:

          Not quite. There’s a number in N that’s less than 2 but not less than 1.

          • blind_boy_grunt says:

            i thought of that as i was shutting down my computer. But that is math in a nutshell for me, either i don’t get it at all or i get it too late.

  16. Baines says:

    “Significant performance increases” compared to what? Compared to hooking your Windows PC to your TV? Your Linux PC? Or just compared to previous builds of SteamOS?

    Valve still has issues cropping up with Steam, as well as issues that have gone unresolved for years, Gabe has previously wanted to reduce Valve’s work maintaining Steam, and now they are chasing some new project?

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Obviously no valve employees feel that they would be most useful fixing steam.

    • LionsPhil says:

      I read it as “compared to other Linux distros”.

      It will be interesting to see when this inevitably gets picked apart by hordes of ravenous nerds whether they went with classic Xorg, one of the new boys in town like Mir or Wayland (and AFAIK Wayland is still in far too early stages), or something bespoke and crazy like running straight on top of the OpenGL stack (which Wayland tries, but with caveats).

      Also if they use PulseAudio, or if the “audio improvements” they also mention involve cutting that away back down to just ASLA and maybe dmix.

      Doing “crazy” things would damage potential “normal” (read: GNOMEish) desktop Linux application compatability, though.

    • Lewie Procter says:

      Valve have specifically said that they have managed to get better performance on L4D2 running on Linux than on the exact same hardware running on Windows.

      • smokiespliff says:

        i’m not surprised, maybe it’s wishful thinking or rose-tinted pyro-goggles but TF2 runs at an almost steady 60fps on my fairly modest pc running linux, and i doubt it would be able to do that on the windows installation.

        i know, it’s probably the goggles, right?

      • Apocalypse says:

        And with faster you mean about 4.8% difference in L4D ;-)

        303.4 FPS on Windows vs 315 FPS on Linux. Not counting for any driver improvements that may have changed the results by now to something different, and not counting that different hardware may result in different driver quality and different results.

      • Rapzid says:

        Were they trying to optimize the L4D Windows executable to beat the Linux executable though?

        • Apocalypse says:

          Yes, the improved the windows performance from 270 fps to 303.4 fps. And they improved the Linux performance from 8 fps to 315 fps.

          • HadToLogin says:

            They didn’t “improve” Windows exe per se, they added OpenGL option – that’s the 270-to-300 jump. AFAweK, Valve made no effort to make D3D option work better. Only question – were they “forced” to not work on D3D, or just thought it would look bad if their OpenGL optimization could improve D3D option that it would out-do OpenGL…

          • Apocalypse says:

            They even mention in the blog that they tried to find the same issue in direct 3D as well. But they could not find this little performance issue and gave up for now on fixing what they could fix openGL. With only 5% different to their openGL implementation it does not seem like a big issue.

            And if you argue now that they should have spend more time on DX than I would have to mentioned that they spend a good amount of time on dx optimisation when they worked original on the game, while all this was first time openGL optimisation. So its fair in this regard.

            The description fits as well to what all 3D programmer I know have told m., OpenGL a little harder to code, but a little closer to the machine. This means you can find such little performance issues much easier, while at the same time you spend for those little things a good amount of extra time. Both APIs itself work just fine, and both have their strengths and currently OpenGL is a little bit more modern, while D3D had some advantages some years ago.

      • Malibu Stacey says:

        Valve have specifically said that they have managed to get better performance on L4D2 running on Linux using OpenGL than on the exact same hardware running on Windows using Direct3D.

        I know it makes fuck all difference to 99% of you but some of us actually write this stuff & know the differences between the APIs. Also as others above stated, the performance difference dropped significantly when they switched to using OpenGL on Windows (which makes sense as maintaining one code path across 3 different platforms is less hassle than maintaining one code path on one platform and another on the other 2).

    • cunningmunki says:

      Compared to Windows, surely? Why would anyone care if its better than other Linux distros? Remember who the audience for this announcement is.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I imagine that once you get it working, increases aren’t that hard since Linux has a far lower footprint (the degree of which widely varies). Ubuntu, which is definitely not trying to be slim, currently needs 1/2 the RAM, 1/3 the HD space, and 3/4 the processing power of Windows 8 (512 – 1gb, 5GB – 16GB, and 700mhz to 1ghz).

      I’m sure the harder part is getting it to work in the first place.

  17. Brtt says:

    Valve trying to take hold on even more of the world… SkyNet, here we come ! :-[

    • RProxyOnly says:

      In all honestly I’d rather Steam than MS or Sony.

      • Brtt says:

        I wouldn’t mind if it wasn’t for all the Steam exclusivities…
        I do understand that some devs/companies, even indies *choose* to keep it to Steam, but the result is the same.
        Be it games or just about anything else, I want to have choice, and not be forced to use something I don’t want (nor to have people trying to “convince” me otherwise).

  18. Shockeh says:

    Streaming is far and away the most exciting aspect.

    Now, the next question is how we can abuse that streaming to stream to Steamboxes that are NOT on the same IP segment (which I suspect is how they’ll lock it down). I want to take a Steambox I’ve built with the bare bones components for IO, set it up at a friends place and then play Steam games over the Internet using my PC for processing. It’s Virtual Desktop for gaming, viva la resistance, the singularity is here!

    (Then I’ll start pestering Valve to just do the compute themselves for me and I’ll pay them for a subscription, and frankly PC gaming will change forever.)

    • Llewyn says:

      That’s just a routing and translation/tunneling issue which is easily (already) solved.

      • Reapy says:

        Yeah I mean seems like a local onLive thing… Just curious, can you just do a remote desktop via lan anyway for the same, or will this be optimized for controller latency or something?

        I mean all in all if it is a one touch button and works seamlessly that is progress, but who knows what it is like with the latency. I wonder if you can do some crazy stuff like buying more cpu cycles between frames in response to having to wait a few more second round trip to send out the rendered frame and receive controller input. That might be more of a game engine idea, optimizing it such that you expect an inherent delay between the user and the game.

    • RProxyOnly says:

      Could you die really, really, quickly please. Thank you.

      Gaming as a ‘service’, instead of standalone products, is the WORST FUCKING IDEA IMAGINABLE FOR GAMERS. Turning the system from buy and keep (generally).. to full time rental for everyone?

      Don’t you put any long term thought into the ramifications of comments like that?

      • xao says:

        Well, if you have to be wrong, at least you’re vehemently wrong!

        A gaming service doesn’t have to be a Bad Thing. It can be set up to be a Bad Thing, but there’s nothing inherently inferior to the notion. Furthermore, you can dislike something without it being objectively bad.

        • fish99 says:

          There is something fundamental bad and not fixable about streaming, namely lag. There’s also the ugly video compression, the bandwidth issues, the always online requirement, the lack of end-user control leading to a much less customizable experience (including mostly likely no modding), the never owning anything and having your games potentially vanish because you stopped paying a monthly fee, or because the company went bust. There’s also potentially the higher cost since the streaming company has to make money.

      • Shockeh says:

        Yes, now try imagining one run by someone who isn’t Activision/EA/Ubi. A Netflix style endeavour with a reasonable price point, where you get to play games as they come out and can use the back library as long as you maintain a subscription.

        Such a service is desirable to developers (recurring revenue) and gamers, if handled and priced well.

        But thanks for the deathwish!

        • RProxyOnly says:

          What reality do either of you live in?

          As if a venture like this, which MUST include software licences would be run by anyone except those who are running it atm… a ‘venture like netflix’ has NO CHANCE of gaining the right of distribution to video games as long as the likes of MS and Sony see not only the dollar signs, but the obvious power to be had in having their thumbs in our hardware.

          So NO, VEHEMENTLY NO, games as a service is THE worst result that could ever come about, because it’d NEVER be run by anyone who isn’t a greedy powermad scumbag… You know, like the curent players in the industry.

          Don’t be so bloody naive.

      • JamesTheNumberless says:

        I’ve never understood the appeal of the word “ramifications” every time I see it I imagine a fortress made of goats.

        • Low Life says:

          That makes no sense. A word makes you imagine a fortress made of goats, yet you don’t understand the appeal of the word? What more could you wish from a word?

  19. golem09 says:

    What I see here is an OS that in 10 years plays all games since now without the need to upgrade windows for DX13 or download mods because window 9 lost compatibiliy.
    It may not be exciting now, because it doesn’t support many games, but if this is established as a standard, my future steamlibrary is forever saved from bad new windows version destroing old games.

    • Stellar Duck says:

      In other words: a console.

      That’s not really what I want. I don’t want to be locked into a specific set of hardware or software. I don’t want to not have the benefit of DX13 or whatever. I don’t want to be under that kind of control.

      I’ll take fiddling with mods and hacks anyday fo the week over that. Otherwise I’d use my PS3 a whole lot more than I do.

      • rustybroomhandle says:

        You just said you don’t want to be locked in to a specific set of software, but then you mention DirectX, meaning you are already locked in to Windows. It no computey much.

        • Stellar Duck says:

          I only mentioned DirectX because it was mentioned in the post I replied to.

          I’m not particularly keen on either Windows or DX and I’d be happy for a shift towards a different standard.

          I’m just even less keen on Valve and them being in control of it.

      • RProxyOnly says:

        Linux/SteamOS does NOT support hardware lock.

        Constant Mix and match will be the name of the game.. the same as linux, it’s the only undisputed good point about the announcement.

      • golem09 says:

        You completely misunderstood me. It’s the opposite of a console. I mean that with SteamOS we could have an OS that regardloss of hardware supports all games from now for the next 50 years, because without the need for new hardware/software renditions, the whole concept of backwards compatibility is obsolete.
        On the other hand if we stay with windows as the main gaming platform, you never know if windows 18 will still run my games. I mean there are already many games that have problems with windows 7/8. If SteamOS solves that problem, I see a bright future. But for that they have to start motivating developers NOW.

        • Stellar Duck says:

          I may have misunderstood you, but what I seem to see you saying is that being locked into SteamOS will solve backwards compatibility problems. That seems to me to be saying that it’d be a static system, as in, not making any forward progress. Otherwise you’d end up in the same issues we have now with 64bit Windows not natively executing 16bit dos games.

          At the moment I can do that via Dos Box and that’s fine. I’d rather that than never having had a 64bit system because it would break old games.

          • Panda Powered says:

            A linux based SteamOS solves the backward compatibility issues in that there is no sense in stupid corporate decisions to drop support for feature X and Y in new versions just to force people to upgrade to their latest “improved” version of whatever.
            SteamOS is primarily a delivery system and store front so it would be stupid to make portions of your service and product unusable.
            The weak point is still in hardware and drivers becoming to old to warrant support but the system itself should not.

          • jrodman says:

            Their rhetoric is clearly to be as open as possible.

            This move supports that. It’s claimed to be an operating system that isn’t tied to hardware, so you can run it on whatever you want (within reason, no sharkfins or alphas need apply).

            We’ll see how far that goes. Obviously DRM is not “as open as possible”, and I don’t’ really see that being dropped. However, creating valve-owned graphics interfaces is definitely swimming upstream. They have all the “lock in” as far as game makers are concerned that they need at the level of Steamworks, and they can get more by making it more open (open systems wise, anyway).

      • cunningmunki says:

        No, not like consoles. Not at all.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I’m not a fan of the new versions of windows, but the Windows team works far harder to maintain backwards compatibility (including introducing the registry) than Linux does.

      • RProxyOnly says:

        They would have to considering every new itteration of windows breaks something.

        Linux on the other hand doesn’t have to try so hard because it’s not a complete redesign every version.

  20. Carra says:

    Could the next announcement be… Half Life 3? One can only hope.

    It’s an interesting development, the only reason I’m using Windows over Linux is to run my games. If that’s not longer needed..

    • Ninja Foodstuff says:

      Half-Life 3 as a SteamOS exclusive.

      • Aaarrrggghhh says:

        GTA5! ;)

      • RProxyOnly says:

        I see no reason why this isn’t a strong possibility.

      • ResonanceCascade says:

        No way in hell. Nuh-uh. Nope.

        As much of a Half-Life fan as I (obviously) am, I would give Valve nothing but the middle finger if they pulled that shit. And it also makes zero sense, considering they are only promoting SteamOS as a living room solution at the moment.

        While HL3 being exclusive to SteamOS would certainly force more people over to it, it would also lose them millions of sales of the game which would be offset by…nothing, since it’s a free OS. And all that goodwill they’ve managed to build up post-HL2 Steam debacle? Annihilated instantly. Valve would be the laughingstock of PC gaming for years.

        Though it’s a moot point, since HL3 is not going to be announced any time soon.

    • Shuck says:

      You’ll still need your Windows machine to stream all your Windows games over to the Steambox…

    • iucounu says:

      Didn’t they use HL2 as the killer app to smuggle Steam on to our PCs in the first place? It would certainly be appropriate.

    • Reapy says:

      Why do we want HL3 so much? What will it offer in terms of gaming that we dont have? I mean the ‘story’ of hl and hl2 is ‘neat’ but not something I desperately need to know the end of, in fact I can’t even remember WTF happens in it truthfully.

      So what, another scripted first person shooter game? I appreciate everything HL 1 + 2 introduced to the world, but at this point it would just be another well done shooter. So why be excited? There has always been a healthy amount of FPS games and the well isn’t drying up any time soon.

      • pilouuuu says:

        Half-Life and then it’s follow-up were both revolutionary. Storytelling in FPS, Cutscenes from your POV, amazing AI, a semi-open environment that can be run using vehicles, the physics gun, the physics, the well animated and believable characters with some of the best facial animation ever, etc, etc, etc.

        If they release Half-Life 3 then people will expect it to be game to change everything about FPS games. Hopefully a new engine that will show those console gamers what next-gen is really all about. Or they can simply not release it and avoid people getting disappointed by the massive expectations.

      • InternetBatman says:

        Perhaps a AAA engine with far lower licensing fees, a focus on rendering faces that makes story-telling easier, and native linux support.

        • LionsPhil says:

          To be fair, Epic put out an AAA engine with native Linux support over ten years ago. If memory serves, UT99 had its first-party Linux port right there on the boxed CDs. UT200X likewise.

          The likes of Deus Ex just didn’t bother building/testing/shipping that port (and in the process of customizing the engine as source licencees may well have made it Windows-specific anyway).

          I don’t know if they ever let Ryan Gordon finish porting UT3. :/ Last I heard, which was yonks ago, it was in middleware licensing hell.

          (But, yes, Valve do good faces.)

      • Carra says:

        “another scripted first person shooter game”.

        Half Life pretty much invented the scripted FPS. Just compare to its same era games such as Duke Nukem and see how much it changed things. No more looking for keys…

        And Half Life 2 is definitely one of the best games I’ve ever played. One of the first shooters to introduce some memorable characters. One of the first to use physics puzzle games. Quite a bit of environmental changes and of course, some memorable set pieces such as Ravenholm or the Bridge level.

        • Reapy says:

          Right, I agree. Just, is there more left? They showed the way and others took the ball and ran with it. Can hl3 be just as revolutionary, or is the fps exhausted such that it would just be a good game? Nothing wrong with that, but doesn’t deserve the rabid bit chomping for mention of it.

          • The First Door says:

            To be honest, I don’t care in the slightest if it is ‘revolutionary’. I just want a good FPS with older-school design sensibilities. Where I can hold more than 2 guns at a time, where I can choose how to deal with certain encounters and perhaps where I need to search the environment for health. Sadly there aren’t that many modern FPS games which allow for that sort of thing. Having said that FarCry 3 was pretty close, but it isn’t the common design for FPS these days, which is a shame.

  21. MadTinkerer says:

    Pure speculation: SteamOS can work on PS4 hardware. Just a suspicion I’ve had for a while.

    • Carra says:

      Makes a lot more sense than the X-Box running it. Then again, why allow all those way cheaper PC games to be played on your PS4?

      • 00000 says:

        It makes less sense actually. PS4 has the less conventional memory architecture compared to the XBone.

        Would be cool though. The PS4 is essentially subsidized PC hardware. It’s much cheaper then the initial cost of an equivalent desktop.

    • Aaarrrggghhh says:

      I doubt it because Sony might fear that this might cut into their sales when people can play games on their PS4 they got cheaper somewhere else then from the Playstation store.

    • Reapy says:

      Speculation #2…. Steambox IS PS4!!!! ;)

      • Premium User Badge

        particlese says:

        Bwuhahahaha! There are so many reasons I’d love for this to be true, but mostly for the image it brings of two industry titans conspiring to do something absurd and awesome like the kids I once saw at the supermarket unleashing Karate on loaves of bread. (No bread appeared to be harmed in the making of that scene, so it was permissible after the fact.)

  22. RProxyOnly says:

    What’s the point of this if I still need windows to stream windows games from?

    I want something like this to enable me to throw Windows in the bin for good, WHY WOULD I USE THIS? My PC is already in the living room attached to my big TV, this doesn’t do anything I can’t already do with windows, and doesn’t do several things windows does.

    I’m sad.. I thought a Steam product of this magnitude would be more functional than just being a windows streamer, which can be done with real Linux… I was expecting a complete rewrite of DX code to run on a linux platform, something better than wine considering the money put in to it…. not this bastardisation.

    Pointless product is pointless. It’s basically a niche product for those who don’t want to use long HDMI cables.

    Gabe, you’re an idiot.

    • FRITZY says:

      You’re bitching about a chicken-before-the-egg problem. Valve has said they expect AAA titles for SteamOS (Linux) starting next year. Also, I would expect to see titles doing some ports (especially titles that use OpenGL capable engines). These things will come in time, but I suspect there’ll always be titles that simply don’t run.

      As far as supporting DirectX games right now, Wine integration may be in SteamOS’s future, which might support a good chunk of those games. I think this is more about future games than titles that have already been released though.

      • RProxyOnly says:

        Fritzy.. I have a LARGE catalogue of physical games and wine support is.. spotty.. to say the least, or I would already have made the move. Linux compatibiliy for FUTURE games is a finger in the dike stopgap, at best… Anyway, why would Gabe be so dumb as to rely on someone elses (shitty) compatibility software? It would have been trivial for him to have had his (focused and paid) programmers to deconstruct DirectX as an OGL wrapper for Linux. Wine was a decentralised, garage project farmed out to freelancers, can you imagine what could have been done with a staff of focused, colaberative and comfortable programmers?

        The more I clarify this situation for myself, the more useless and idiotic it is demonstrated to be.

        “There will always be games that don’t run”.. this makes this ‘thing’ instantly utterly useless.

        EDIT.. I’ve just realised why it won’t support existing windows DX games…. Why support an existing product when you can ‘port’ it and sell it all over again after all that’s what consoles do. From a greedy, anti-consumer point of view it does make sense after all.

        • PlaneShift says:

          You are missing 2 points about DirectX: it is proprietary and closed source. It is pretty amazing what the Wine people can do considering they don’t have access to the source code. Also, if Valve would try to add any part of DirectX into SteamOS they would be sued by Microsoft and probably lose, putting the entire project in jeopardy.

          I know that losing backward compatibility is a pain, but if gaming is to be freed from closed OSs then DirectX must die. Or be opened by Microsoft. What do you think is most likely?

          • MacTheGeek says:

            Bingo. Anyone wanting to reverse-engineer a fully functional DirectX would have to prove, in excruciating detail, that they never peeked at the contents. Valve would need a clean-room setup a couple orders of magnitude more complex than Phoenix used to break IBM’s stranglehold on the PC BIOS. And the ensuing court battle could be expected to drag on until the reverse-engineered software was obsolete.

            Only Microsoft could choose to legally port DirectX over to Linux. And nobody in their right mind can even hope for that.

        • P.Funk says:

          You’re effectively repeating the Windows backwards compatibility with MSDos argument all over again.

          Your definition of “useless” in effect presumes that any loss of legacy support or failure to provide 100% contemporary support is useless. You’re basically saying Windows, MacOS, Android, Linux, Unix, Apache, BSD or whatever else is completely pants because you can’t use all the stuff you covet from 5 years ago and the new stuff from today.

          Here’s an idea Charlie. Dual boot for the next 5 years and see if SteamOS or Linux in general receives better mainstream gaming support. Or, just bitch irrationally and wonder how the world of software changed without you noticing.

          • RProxyOnly says:

            And for users or owners of a large windows games library it IS useless…

            If you are happy ditching what you have already paid for over the years just to buy it all again because you want a new OS then fair enough, more power to you (and also you should try console gaming instead), but from a informed point of view not everyone wants to run out and spend twice, so yeah, for the majority, in the set I’ve described, it’s not suitable, it’s halfarsed and undesirable.

          • Jonfon says:

            I’m confused. Any linux versions of my Windows games I have access to now. So why do you have to rebuy?

          • RProxyOnly says:

            Jonfon.. yes, you sound confused.

            They aren’t ‘windows’ games if they ALSO run on linux, they would be multi-platform then and that has fuck all to do with this issue.

            Using a stupid arguement to try to score points from someone isn’t very bright.

          • Jonfon says:

            I’m not trying to score points. I was just trying to understand what you were going on about. Being belligerent about it doesn’t help much, it only paints you as a bit of a twat. Less rampaging & belittlement, more discussion!

            Hopefully SteamOS may open up games to NOT being Windows exclusives in the future, as people have pointed out above. This is a good thing, regardless of what the situation is now with ones gaming library.

    • Ninja Foodstuff says:

      Furthermore, how is this better than a playstation, which already has all the games?

      • RProxyOnly says:


      • iainl says:

        It’s better for loads of reasons, but I only need one. Which is that it’ll let me play the 150 games already in my Steam library without having to buy them over again.

    • povu says:

      I don’t think the majority of PC gamers have their PC in their living room hooked up to their TV. If the streaming thing is reliable with good quality video and without latency issues, then that’s very useful to many people. Sure beats wireless HDMI at the moment.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        Given Valve’s penchant for rushing things out the door and then ignoring them for years (if not forever), I don’t have high hopes for quality latency resolution.

    • cunningmunki says:

      The ‘point’ is so far over your head.

      • RProxyOnly says:

        I love posts like this.

        Designed (lol) to try to make the OP look like an uninformed idiot.. but so lacking in substance or point in and of themselves as to be absolutely worthless as an opposing pov.

        Considering you didn’t illustrate HOW I missed the point, I can only surpise that you have no clue yourself.

        • Malibu Stacey says:

          I’ve read about a dozen of your comments on this post & to be fair to him you’re doing a pretty good job of making yourself look like an uninformed idiot.

    • Jonfon says:

      I think the point is a replacement of the box wot lives under your telly. I’ve a PS3 under there which is mostly used for Netflix and occasionally for a game. A Steam OS box could easily take that job.

      Mind you the question becomes “Why would I want to replace the thing doing that job when I already have a PC and the PS3 lets me use Netflix and occasionally play games which aren’t available on the PC”

      Honestly I believe Valve have become victims of Valve-time here and this is about 12-18 months too late. If they’d released the OS 18 months ago and had a Steambox coming out last Xmas they may have done well. Now I’d need a very, very good reason indeed to choose a Steambox over a new console (if I was in the market for a new “under-de-telly box”) and a very good reason to choose SteamOS rather than the Windows + Mint combo I currently use on PCs.

      The only use I might have is if SteamOS would run on a Pi with regard to streaming from the big PC. That’s a massive, massive IF though

  23. Nouser says:

    I don’t remember Rome II having a Linux version. Is that a mistake or a leak?

    • iniudan says:

      It could just be streamed from a steam server running Windows.

      • AimHere says:

        It could be, but all the other games in the screenshot pile have current-or-forthcoming Linux versions. If you were advertising a brand-new-shiny thing to replace the old thing that everybody is using already, would you headline it with a picture of it doing something backwards-compatible that needs you to keep that old obsolescent thing around, instead of going with a screenie of Dota 2 or something else new and AAA-ish?

        Also, Sega publishes the Total War series – they’ve already put out The Cave on LInux, and Linux-native Football Manager 2014 is in the works, so Sega does seem to be experimenting with Linux support.

        If it wasn’t a mistake, I’d guess that this was a sign of either SteamOS- or Linux-native Rome 2 in the works.

  24. Ninja Foodstuff says:

    Well maybe this will give them some incentive to make the client better. Or maybe by 2015 there’ll be some other new shiny thing to occupy their time.

    Edit: Also I’m surprised they didn’t come up with a better name. Surely there’s more plumbing-based paraphernalia to draw upon?

  25. Lobotomist says:

    I kind of called it too, in the comments on the previous article.
    I predicted they will develop their own OS based on Linux.

  26. Sweetz says:

    Couldn’t be less interested. The games I play are on Windows. I’m certainly not going to buy/build another PC to act as a streaming box when I could just build a small form factor Windows PC and hook it to a TV directly.

    Tell me it can magically (since I understand the technical problems) play Windows apps natively, and do it faster than Windows can do it, and then I’ll care.

    As is, it’s pretty surreal to see people getting excited over a Linux distro just because it has a name they’re familiar with on it.

    • FRITZY says:

      This is exciting due to developer support of a platform and future titles. This really isn’t about your current Windows collection of games.

      • RProxyOnly says:

        Which is the WHOLE issue for current windows games owners.

        • FRITZY says:

          No one is taking away your windows machine and titles.

          • RProxyOnly says:

            No one ever said they are trying to take something away… Only that they are building something that won’t appeal to the majority of the market, and that to spend all that money on doing something as halfarsed as this is fucking dense.

          • P.Funk says:

            How does anyone ever break new ground with an attitude like yours? They’re investing in a platform that could lead to a significant increase in mainstream Linux support from Triple A gaming (whatever that is) which will slowly in theory expand the usability of Linux for gamers. In time this could mean that choosing between Windows and Linux is an even bet, with streaming and Wine used to cover any other outliers that don’t conform.

            You might be blinkered into your single desktop single OS experience but most people are today using multiple OSs for multiple purposes every day. At the very least a smart phone user has 2, one on his phone and one on his computer or laptop. Add in multi booting and you can have numerous.

            Windows will always be there for those who don’t want to fiddle with multiple platforms, but if your personal convenience blinds you to the potential things that could come from this that’d change things then… well I guess you miss the boat.

          • RProxyOnly says:

            Break new ground?

            They already had their steam linux initiative WITHOUT making an OS for it.

            All this is, is duplication at best, and trying to muscle in on an open ecosystem at worst.. and halfarsed, halfusable duplication at that.

            Also.. don’t assume what I do and do not use on my desktop…. you’ll be wrong everytime.

      • mattevansc3 says:

        It’s all about the existing catalogue. Windows 8 RT bombed because it was Windows that wasn’t compatible with Windows and SteamOS is Steam that’s not compatible with Steam.

        90% of my Steam catalogue is not compatible with Linux and 100% of my GoG and Origin catalogue won’t be compatible with SteamOS anyway. There’s very little incentive for me and many other gamers to move to SteamOS at this point in time and if we aren’t moving SteamOS ain’t either.

    • darkChozo says:

      If you already have a sufficiently fast gaming PC, then this would almost certainly give you more bang for your buck than a dedicated HTPC would, assuming the streaming is good enough (which is certainly something that would be good to have information on).

      • Sweetz says:

        If high end AAA games come to it, and you want to use it for that, it would need hardware roughly equivalent in power and cost to current PCs

        Now yes, if you only want to use it for streaming, you could probably buy something way cheaper, but then what’s the point of having something that’s still a PC with a variable OS which servers only to stream? A dedicated/fixed hardware streaming device with an embedded OS could probably do it even faster and cheaper than something that still has to be a general PC in some context.

        As I see it, there are only two scenarios here:
        1) You buy/build something that’s more expensive and not as good at it’s main job as a dedicated streaming device would be.

        2) You buy/build something that would cost as much as a good Windows HTPC would, except has a fraction of a percentage of the available games.

        The only scenario in which this makes sense to me is that this can serve as a full replacement for a Windows gaming PC and maybe one day that will happen, but I don’t see it getting there, because if you’re a publisher making an expensive AAA game and you only have the resources for one PC port, and 99% of the market is on Win PCs, that’s what you will continue to make the game for.

        • darkChozo says:

          Hmm, true enough. There are two big advantages I can think of over a dedicated streaming solution:

          1. Dedicated UI. From my experience, Steam Big Picture is not a particularly good experience on PC, mostly because it’s super-awkward to access any non-Steam functionality (ex. OS stuff) while using it. If Big Picture is your UI for everything, then that should go significantly smoother.

          2. It’s still a low-powered standalone box. You can use it as a media player/simple gaming computer even if your powerful PC is otherwise occupied. Not too useful if you’re the only one using both the PC and SteamOS box, significantly more useful if you’re sharing games with, say, your kids. Also probably replicable using a HTPC, but presumably this would be a bit better being a dedicated solution. Presumably.

          Essentially, it’s potentially a middle ground between something like HDMI streaming and a gaming-capable HTPC. Maybe not useful to anyone, but possibly useful to some people.

    • MajorManiac says:

      But think of the big picture (pun intended). If MS have a serious competitor to Windows for playing games. It will seriously light a fire under their money-hammocks. If this Steam-OS is successful, can you imagine how far Windows 9 will go to keep us gamers happy. Hell, it might be the first time an update of Windows has ever had to fight for our attention.

  27. Kodeen says:

    For those asking if SteamOS will ever be able to natively (no streaming) play your existing library of Windows-only games, I think probably not. However, I can see almost all new PC games now supporting Linux, or at least the SteamOS subset. Kind of like when they release a new console without backwards compatibility.

    • Ninja Foodstuff says:

      Surely only if SteamOS proves popular though. Limited development resources and all that.

      • Kodeen says:

        Fair enough. I guess there’s always the possibility that this will bomb.

    • Shuck says:

      “I can see almost all new PC games now supporting Linux”
      If by “now” you mean “some hypothetical distant future where the SteamOS box eventually becomes monstrously popular” then yes, perhaps. But let’s face it, not every person who has a Steam account will buy into Steam OS. It’s useful for streaming games from another PC to the living room, but there just aren’t enough Linux games to motivate people to buy it as a primary game machine. Even if we use a grotesquely unrealistic number and assume that a quarter of people with Steam accounts (i.e. a quarter of the people who ever had to set up a Steam account to activate a PC game, which is something around 50 million) start using Steam OS (that’s so not going to happen), that still puts the number of total Linux users below the number of people using OS X, currently. Given that Mac ports right now are pretty thin on the ground, and that many of the AAA titles aren’t even proper ports at all, but emulations that run really poorly, I don’t see a lot of studios shifting to Linux development in the near future because of this.

      • cunningmunki says:

        You don’t? I do. I think they’ll do it in droves. I think they’ll be falling over themselves.

        • Shuck says:

          Who’s the target market for this? To reiterate – the number of Steam accounts is substantially less than the number of people with any particular console. The number of active users of Steam is substantially less than that. The potential market is the subsection of that group that wants to play games on their TVs, doesn’t have a set-up to do that already (i.e. has no console, has no gaming laptop, no cable to hook their desktop to their television), and is willing to buy a whole new device for either playing the small number of Linux games available or to expand the reach of a pre-existing gaming PC. Even if the target audience was buying this in droves, that number still wouldn’t surpass the number of Mac owners out there. And Macs aren’t a big enough group to warrant even a substantial fraction of developers targeting the platform.
          That’s not to say that things couldn’t shift over time, with Steam OS/Linux eventually becoming the preferred gaming platform for PC gamers, but it’s not going to happen quickly, and it’s certainly not going to happen instantly.

          • InternetBatman says:

            Their target market is console gamers who have heard great things about PC gaming, but are too intimidated to try.

          • Shuck says:

            @InternetBatman: If that’s their target market, they’re not reaching them with this, because those people would need to have a Steam OS box and a Windows box, unless they’re happy confining themselves to the relatively few Linux games out there.

      • airmikee99 says:

        A majority of my real life PC gaming friends are ready to ditch Windows, in favor of ANY OS that will run all of their games, in a heartbeat, with said majority closing in on around 100%.

        You’re still right that it will be slow to pick up, but all of the hardcore gamers I know were ready to switch yesterday.

        • RProxyOnly says:

          Me too. I’m absolutely itching to get rid of windows and would dump it at the drop of a hat, however that hat would have to run my existing catalogue or it would be a non-starter.

          That’s why SteamOS WILL fail. It doesn’t run windows games and the majority who would use it wouldn’t leave windows because of that. As for the streaming aspect.. why would someone want to pay for and upkeep TWO sets of hardware when ONE long hdmi cable does the same job? The people who would opt for the former dearer option are NOT a majority in this world.

          For reitterations sake…. pointless product is pointless. (and I wish it wasn’t.)

      • 00000 says:

        From my knowledge of alternative timelines, I understand that “now” actually means a fixed point in Valve-time.

        This is quite a different concept from General Valve-time, because General Valve-time does not “directly” deal with fixed points. It is used to describe a duration of time compared to a point that describes what we consider to be “now” in conventional Real-time, but to do this we must first assume a “hypothetical” point in Valve-time. The trouble is that Valve-time is non linear and moves both slower and faster relative to any other point in Valve-time. The latter is also simplified as to be “reverse Valve-time”. But Valve-time is better describes as hyper-symmetric. This means that for all Valve-time there is equal and opposite Valve-time. Do not confuse this to be similar to Newtonian principles, because each point exist in both planes at the same time and are essentially the same point. The truly marvelous part is that a point can only manifest on one side of the plane. Only then is it either coined to be regular or reverse Valve-time for the sake of simplicity. But what’s even weirder is that a point can completely disappear altogether. So paradoxically, most Valve-time does not happen at all!

        This is also the main reason why ETA’s are time-stamped in real-time, not Valve-time. And if we were to estimate a duration from a different point in Real-time, we would need to assume a new point in Valve-time, and Valve-time would behave quite differently in that instance. Not to mention that the time-point might even cease to exist, or never existed at all.

        But contrary to general Valve-time, a fixed point is absolute. It is one of the few constants in Valve-time. It’s a state that definitely exist, but only when observed. We have no device to say whether it moves or not, nor it relative speed to other points, and it is therefore impossible to compare and convert to real-time. But unlike a general point, it exists with absolute certainty.

        So by “now” Valve actually meant to say “from now on” – a fixed-point can theoretically unfold immediately, but might as well a billion years from now.

  28. ZombieFan says:

    So, is this still PC gaming? Or are valve now favouring a non PC future? Should RPS be covering SteamOS games if they can only be played from SteamOS?

    • P.Funk says:

      If SteamOS is just a branded Linux distro then its still PC gaming.

      Microsoft Windows does not PC make.

  29. razorramone says:

    Call me dense, but I don’t understand the point or this.. or steambox?

    What is the advantage of all this complicated stuff about boxes, streaming, and new operating systems…. over just taking a HDMI cable plugging it into my TV?

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Some people don’t keep their PC’s in the living room I guess

      • Baf says:

        Well, there’s an existing technology that handles that case.

        It’s called “moving your PC into the living room”.

        • airmikee99 says:

          And leave it out in the open for all the sticky, grubby niece and nephew fingers?

          No, a thousand times no.

        • Sheng-ji says:

          So I can balance my keyboard on my lap, my mouse is what – on a table in front of the sofa, or even better (read worse) on the sofa, so every time I let go of it, it slides off the mat and has the precision of a sponge – clog up my nice neat front room with a bunch of wires – no thanks, give me a nice neat little box to go with all the rest!

          Also my case is a cosmos 2 – it’s literally my weight and as high as my waist, you want me to lug that down two flights of stairs, then go back for my uninterruptible power supply (yes, it is necessary, too many windows reinstallations from sudden power loss)- yeah, that’s exactly how I want to start and end a relaxing gaming hour on the sofa… let alone if the office phone rings and I have to get down the stairs (in my stair lift) while telling my client to hold on until I get to my computer… Modern life!

          • jrodman says:

            Well, your point taken, but it does kind of leave an open question about how the keyboard and mouse are going to work on the sofa, etc.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            I assume with a controller and the whole UI will be designed to function with a controller – if keyboard/mouse are required, it will severely damage the thing’s potential.

          • Baf says:

            No, look, PC mouse/keyboard gaming while reclining on a couch isn’t the insurmountable obstacle you seem to think it is. I do it all the time, for those games that are better handled with a mouse than with a controller. All it takes is a wireless keyboard on my lap and a wireless trackball by my side where my hand rests on it naturally.

            Sheng-ji, I’m sorry to hear that your PC is difficult to carry. Have you considered replacing it with a lighter one? Well, it’s your choice. There’s also the option of just leaving it in the living room all the time, perhaps inside some kind of niece-and-nephew-proof cabinet. People do these things. I’m not saying you have to, but other people do. There are existing solutions — simple ones — that don’t require Valve to create a new Linux distro. And that’s why some of us don’t understand why the rest of us find this announcement so exciting.

          • jrodman says:

            Baf, I’m pretty sure those other people are speaking for themselves. I’m not sure what argument is necessary or even really relevant in that case.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Baf, I have a big PC and an office for a reason. Accept that. We don’t all lead the same life. Can you not at all see why having a small, cheap streaming box is for anybody who has a separate room for their computer (read most people over the age of 25) think this is exciting?

            ANd FYI, I use a wireless keyboard and trackball almost every day of my life from a sofa – it’s shit, I can barely control excel with it, playing a game would be a nightmare.

          • fish99 says:

            Baf, I’ve tried it, and it sucks.

          • Baf says:

            I guess I think you’re presuming a bit much when you describe this still-not-actually-announced-yet Steam hardware as “a small, cheap streaming device”. The OS announcement sounded to me like the intention was that you’d be able to play new AAA games on it directly, provided they’re capable of running on Linux. If that’s the case, you’re not choosing between a SteamBox and a high-end PC in your living room; the SteamBox *is* a high-end PC in your living room.

        • Jonfon says:

          There’s an existing technology which counters moving the big PC into the living room.

          It’s called Wife, sadly.

          All attempts to smuggle new boxes of electronics into the living room are ruthlessly audited and validated.

    • bigblack says:

      My guess is that the majority of humans with PCs do not actually have those devices sitting right next and plugged into their main television screens. True, you can string HDMI cables all around the house or even take the time to run them in your walls, etc., but admit that this can be a pain in the ass depending on a person’s environment and particular resources. By all means, homebrew this until you’re blue in the face for all I care, many of the rest of us are open to the idea of buying an off the shelf solution if it looks like a good one at a reasonable price.

      An amazing amount of this potential rests on whether Valve is offering a streaming technology that truly works.

    • iniudan says:

      The advantage, is that this solution, is that it can basically that the streaming client can be integrated into smart TV and simple Apple TV like box, by the OEM, while also working for all out HTPC and desktop, running any OS. SteamOS is just solution, the client software themselves will most likely be open, and able to run on anything that it can be compiled for, while the server software are gonna be integrated into Steam.

      Basically Valve want steam to be ubiquitous, basically can access it and use it software from anywhere, whatever running in a thin client environment through streaming, on running the whole directly on end user device.

      Valve want steam to be out of only been used directly on dedicated end user device, has it expend their market outside of user that Valve has been supporting since it foundation, while also offering new hardware solution, for PC gaming to stay alive, for the long term, in a world, where PC are slowly lousing ground in the general population, has most don’t need a powerful general-purpose end user device. So valve solution outside of the niche it already cover, is to basically become a home server and client solution, on top of what it’s already is.

    • AimHere says:

      The main point of this for the users is that it’s a console that will come out of the box with a large selection of gaming titles, and hopefully a bunch of developer support.

      This is Valve attempting to break into the same space as the PS3 and XBox. They’re worried that Microsoft’s decisions might end up bad for them in the medium to long term, so they’re trying to wean themselves from dependence on the WIndows platform. To that end, they’re trying to make a gaming platform that’s attractive to users (large catalogue from day 0, a chunk of their games collection will already run on it), developers (open platform, no licensing fees) and maybe hardware developers (“freely licensable operating system”).

      The stream-from-windows feature is far from the main point of this thing. It’s just an added bonus feature that might help Windows gamers feel at home with this being their primary gaming box, not that Spreadsheet machine in the corner. It’s just helping wean gamers away from their Windows machines. Valve don’t expect you to throw away your WIndows PC overnight, because there’s a huge back catalogue there that it is simply impractical to support, but they just want you to get used to the idea that the most innovative AAA games won’t depend on Microsoft’s platform for their existence…

    • RProxyOnly says:

      There’s no REAL point to it… it would only appeal to a subset of PC gamers, who are subset of gamers as a whole themselves.

      Without windows compatibility, it’s pretty much useless for the vast majority of those who would potentially use it.. I WANT to use it, but won’t because of it’s limited functionality.

  30. Tom Walker says:

    So, what I want know is, have they:

    (a) Started with a pre-existing PC GNU+Linux distribution and trimmed off the bits they don’t need, or…

    (b) Started with the Linux kernel and written everything else needed to get Steam fully functioning on top of it?

    Both have exciting consequences. For (a), given that this will be a platform with a similar market to the XBoxes and Playstations of the world, this will mean a huge explosion in the number of games compatible with Ubuntu/Debian/whatever they’ve based it on.

    For (b) we’ll have a system fully specialised towards gaming, meaning we’ll almost certainly get far better performance out of PC hardware than on either Windows or existing Linux OSes.


    • voidburn says:

      I will never give up my linux in favor of a game only distro such as SteamOS, unless it’ll be a fully featured OS with its own repositories of at least most of the current software. What I really hope is for this move to improve gaming on the platform as a whole. Till we get some details on stuff like what kind of display manager it will use (Wayland?) if any at all, I remain a bit skeptic. I’m afraid it’ll bypass everything in favor of a native Big Picture UI and be done with it.

      The weight they bring to the table may finally tip the balance and we’ll start seeing all PC games come out to linux, I’m dead tired of dual-booting every time I want to play most of my favorite games. Fingers crossed!

      • Tom Walker says:

        Yeah, since writing that I’ve definitely starting rooting for (a) more than (b). Imagine being able to play decent games on a system you could do what you like with!

    • LionsPhil says:

      B isn’t really “fully specialized” when you start with a POSIX-flavoured monolithic kernel, and there’s no real reason to expect significant performance differences if it were.

      (I’m not sure what even would, at this point. Even, say, running everything in kernel mode might not have any worthwhile effect for gaming loads. I’m not sure even consoles are quite that “bare metal” any more. And Android—an example of Linux with bespoke stuff around it—runs on various little RISC processors in telephones yet still considers it worthwhile to suffer the costs of permission-ring context switches and paged memory.)

      • Tom Walker says:

        Well no, perhaps “fully specialised” was taking it a bit too far. Still, I’d expect there to be some difference. There’s plenty of stuff built into desktop OSes that wouldn’t be needed for a gaming-only system.

        See, for example, the games performance of a PS4 vs the games performance of a Windows PC with exactly the same spec as a PS4.

        But this is why I’d rather we had option (a) than (b). The more I think about the latter, the more it sounds like a way to turn your nice, open-standard PC into yet another walled-garden ecosystem.

    • Kageru says:

      One of the linux sites mentioned it’s built on Ubuntu 12.04. It almost certainly is, a lot of work goes into building and testing a distribution and there’s no gain from Valve repeating all that work. They’ll be focusing on drivers, sound, input to make that part work well. Which, even though I love linux, there are issues to be addressed.

      The linux model of having competing standards for audio and input has advantages in encouraging evolution, but it’s not appropriate for a console. Of course whichever standards Valve picks, and puts work into, have a lot more chance of becoming the standard. Especially if valve donates their fixes back to Linux.

  31. Joe Duck says:

    I think this is a big, big change. This move opens a lot of debates at the same time, as we are seeing on the comments. Some people are already wondering about the openness of a SteamOS, others about the control method, others about drivers, support, interface, streaming… A long list of questions.
    I think all those discussions are interesting, but we lack information to have any meaningful answers.
    Personally, I am actually wondering about what Microsoft is thinking right now. They just found out that they are going to lose the console war not to one but two consoles.

    • ZombieFan says:

      Based on the lack of information we have at the moment, I find it difficult to conclude that this will be more popular than the Xbox One.

  32. Ninja Foodstuff says:

    So speculation on the next announcements: we know that the O represents SteamOS, so presumably [O ] is hardware to run it. So then O + O might be some sort of networking or system sharing

    • Sp4rkR4t says:

      Pretty certain [o] is the steambox(s) and guessing maybe o+o could be controllers.

      • Cinek says:

        I guess it’s more of something related to multiplayer or streaming / join-computing (ie. “borrow computing power of your PC to a poor friend in Africa that happens to have 1Gbit/s fiber connection!”) / players cooperation (split screen in every game! ok… one can always dream, right?)

  33. Sp4rkR4t says:

    If I can also switch to XBMC on the same SteamOS machine easily this is a great day indeed.

    • LaundroMat says:

      My thoughts exactly: I can use the inexpensive nettop box under the television I’ve been using to run XBMC on as a gaming device now (Steam games streamed from PC). Fantastic!

  34. Tei says:

    Another good use for this is emulators.

    Puts delphin and play Xenoblade Chronicles in 1080p. Or Zelday Windwalker in 1080p, with hd textures.

    • Grape Flavor says:

      As a Nintendo fan, I’m obliged to point out that you can play Wind Waker in 1080p with souped up graphics, right now on the Wii U, without any of the fussiness of an emulator.

  35. disperse says:

    An advantage of streaming from a Windows PC to your SteamOS box is you can have cool and quiet hardware in your living room and put your noisy heat-belching beast in the basement.

  36. bluebomberman says:

    It’s pretty clear why this is happening. Valve came to the conclusion some time ago that the continued missteps by Microsoft threatened Steam’s long-term viability. By rolling their own OS, Steam hopes to take much greater control of their own destiny. Steam on Linux was just a step towards this.

    Sadly, as much as I want to applaud Steam for trying to yank us away from the horribleness of Windows 8 and its future iterations, I’m really skeptical that a company with as little manpower as Valve can successfully roll their own OS (even if SteamOS is just a variation of some other Linux distro). Making and maintaining your own OS is generally really expensive and laborious, which is why so few companies try to do it and even fewer succeed to build up a sizable user base.

    • Dinger says:

      Steambox does not need to be a success for Valve to win. Yes, ideally, hardware and software makers will rally to it, and the end result is that we can all have PC Gaming PCs running Linux that, in addition to running games faster than Windows boxes, also do general computing pretty well. That would save me from ever having to buy another Windows product, and I don’t get to play much in the line of games any more.
      Yes, all Microsoft has to do to squash it is commit the resources to their DX/PCGames divisions to ensure that games on Windows maintain their superiority over consoles in terms of raw computing power and accessibility to market (and affordability) by a wide range of players.
      So failure wouldn’t exactly be a disaster for Valve, would it?
      I reckon that’s a good bet to make.

      • bluebomberman says:

        I don’t understand what your point is.

        • RobF says:

          If Valve take their toys away from Microsoft and have the clout to get a lot of other people to threaten to do so too / support Linux *above* Windows* / just plain bog off and leave Windows in the dust and Microsoft react to this by not closing off Windows further and by dialing back on their store plans, then SteamOS has been a success.

          We all get to tootle along as we were and Valve get to sit back happy that we’re good for a while longer. Microsoft get to continue selling Windows, we get videogames, Valve don’t have to worry about MS burying theirs and lots of other peoples business into the bargain.

          If Valve take away their toys from Microsoft and have the clout to get a lot of other people to threaten to do so too / support SteamOS *above* Windows* / just plain bog off and leave Windows in the dust and Microsoft react to this by continuing to make inroads or sabre rattles to close off Windows further and continue to try and put their store, Metro etc… front and centre , then Valve and everyone else MS decisions effect have somewhere else to bog off to. So SteamOS would be a success still.

          Neither of these are necessarily reliant on Valve having to maintain an OS in the way Apple/MS or what have you do, they just need to contribute enough to make Linux a viable target.

          Of course, there’s always the other option that it just sinks without trace but we’ll see what happens there.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Thing is – and don’t take this as me thinking this is a good thing – I think people won’t leave windows for linux in it’s current state. I think at best, they will dual boot for particular games and then it will be a small subsection of the PC market. The reason being is that linux is quite time consuming to get into a similar state to a typical windows installation and it has it’s own technical issues. People for the most part can get windows up and running exactly how they like it in a day or less but they will need a week for linux and there will be so many niggles on the way. Stuff like macros in office docs not working properly, unfamiliar file extensions, unexplained crashes, smaller pool of software, shoddy hardware support etc etc. There is a good reason netbooks running linux have a 4 times greater return rate than those running windows.

          • RobF says:

            I think you’re right. I mean, I’ve been putting off installing Linux to do ports just because, well, it’s Linux. Just it being different is a barrier enough.

            But maybe that doesn’t matter? I dunno. Thinking out loud as usual but maybe all that’s needed is enough devs and pubs threatening to walk away and showing that they’re willing to put their weight behind it if they need to so it’s a show of dissatisfaction with MS. Or maybe it just needs to become ubiquitous enough that most people stop caring or find that sticking with Windows is the lesser choice in the face of all these other devices offering what they want?

            Dunno. All cloud cuckoo land but I think it could be done without the userbase decamping en masse. In the same way that MS operate, Valve have the time and the money to sit this one out for quite the few years to come if they need to. If they get others on board to do the same…

          • Sheng-ji says:

            It will be interesting to see what happens, I get the feeling it will be important to PC gaming one way or another – even if it seems to flop, Linux can surely only get stronger as a result and who knows what effect that will have in the coming decades!

    • 00000 says:

      Except they are not maintaining their own OS. The Linux community is. Valve only has to maintain their own Steam client / shell and put some linux-developers on the payroll to make OpenGL and Linux better in general .

      SteamOS wont be much different from running Big Picture mode on your barebone distro of preference – and then locking yourself out.

  37. mattevansc3 says:

    I’ll wait for more information before I get excited over this.

    How much more functional is the SteamOS going to be over my existing console? My Xbox plays games, streams video and audio, connects to my internet storage, displays photos, gives me VOIP as well as video messaging and access to numerous streaming services such as LoveFilm and Netflix as well as a web browser. The PS3 would give me all this plus a Blu-Ray player and both I can grab each for less than £150 brand new.

    Now even though they say its Linux and that it’s open so that you should be able to go outside of the SteamOS to get this functionality that is to much like a PC and if I wanted a PC under the TV I’d put Windows under the TV to guarantee access to the full Steam catalogue as well as my Origin and GoG games.

    Also what type of latency are we talking about when streaming?

    • Apocalypse says:

      Reasonable would be about 10ms extra latency if your network is any decent, as valve mentioned that they improved the input latency in SteamOS you can up with roughly the same latency than on your windows PC.

      This assumes that the SteamBox includes in hardware decoding to reduce latency on this part os much as possible and it assumes that your windows PC is fast enough to don´t had any meaningful extra latency for encoding the video signal.

      Try the console before you buy it, just to make sure ;-)

      • mattevansc3 says:

        But there won’t be a “SteamBox” as its a catergory. Valve may hire a 3rd party to build a branded box like Google does with the Nexus but Gabe has stated on more than one occasion that a “SteamBox” is any PC built by a manufacturer that gets Valve’s seal of approval and runs SteamOS (of course Gabe didn’t call it SteamOS at the time, he referred to it as the Linux based OS). Valve’s box may have hardware to help with latency but unless it’s in the requirements to be classed as a Steambox there’s no guarantee all of them will have it.

        • Apocalypse says:

          The latency improvements should be in software, most of the input latency is based in software anyway.

      • Nouser says:

        Both PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 run a heavily modified FreeBSD as OS (due to its open license). Platform specific changes and other optimization tricks aside, there is no reason because a company should make a new SO from scratch for its console instead of using an existing one.

        If we haven’t seen a Linux-based console before probably it is because its GPL license, which unlike BSD oone stops companies from black-boxing their machines.

        • jrodman says:

          Well, Tivo has shown the way to black-boxing Linux. Anyone else is free to repeat the experiement.
          Of course it’s unclear if it’s likely to be worth the extra hassle, if the goal is black-box.

    • Grape Flavor says:

      OUYA was destined to fail. There’s just no way they can compete with Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo as well as Valve, Apple, Google or any other power players about to throw their hat into the living room gamescape. There’s basically nothing they can offer that the others can’t easily match or exceed. RIP.

  38. Eddard_Stark says:

    Seems too focused on big “TV” screen gaming which not necessarily, but in most cases better associates with couch gaming -> controllers. Thanks, but no thanks. Don’t need another console (now on Linux) or a high-tech streaming adapter. I love my PC for what it is with its flexibility, ability to do any possible activity/task, power, intelligent and most precise control scheme. Gabe can stay on the couch, I’ll stick to my PC.

    • Kageru says:

      Likewise… but we’re not the target audience. This is aimed at people whose only “computer” is a mobile phone / tablet / set top box and makes “PC gaming” possibly competitive.

      Still tough competition, and gaining traction will be hard, but at least it gives PC gaming a wider reach.

    • wodin says:

      Well said my man..well said.

  39. InternetBatman says:

    I love linux, but I’m not interested. Hopefully this will bring more AAA games to Linux.

  40. stoner says:

    “Do we care about the living room experience? It’s not important to me. The TV is what other people look at while I’m playing games.”

    I stood up and cheered.

    • nrvsNRG says:

      Same here….ive not watched a TV in over 6yrs and never plan to either.

  41. Lemming says:

    I’m all ready to jump on the hype train and wave my Valve flag, but I think someone needs to explain to me why this is a big deal. It doesn’t sound like a replacement for Windows OS, which would effect me directly, as I’ll take Windows off my PC right now if that’s the case, but sounds like I’ll need another machine in the living room to take advantage of this right?

    EDIT: Also, “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.”

    Apple? We heard about them paying a visit to Valve not that long ago didn’t we?

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      Uggh, Apple and Steam in cahoots? Talk about account lockdown.

    • Kageru says:

      It’s about PC gaming surviving in a post-PC age. If you have a powerful windows or linux box then continue running steam on it. But for a lot of people a tablet is their main computer and a proprietary console does the rest.

    • RProxyOnly says:

      OK, this pretty much proves it.

      Apple would not allow their media on an unprotected system, so it certainly seems to be the case that Gabe is taking an open linux distro and closing it. :<

      • Low Life says:

        Yes, random speculation surely proves this is what’s happening. And what the hell is an “unprotected system”, anyway? It’s going to be much easier to copy DRM free iTunes songs from the SteamOS’ iTunes library than the Windows equivalent?

  42. Ditocoaf says:

    Don’t think of those icons as ASCII pictures, think of them as symbols.

    If O is an operating system, [O ] is a box with an operating system in it. That means hardware for steamOS, aka a “steambox”.

    If O is an operating system, O+O is the joining of two operating systems. That could mean almost anything. Some sort of networking or sharing thing? Some sort of icky partnership thing with another software company? (It’s definitely not a controller. If they’re making a controller, it’ll be with the “steambox” itself.)

    • Keyrock says:

      “o” could be software, whereas “[ ]” could be hardware. So the first “o” is SteamOS, the “[ ]” is SteamBox, and the second “o” is…

      This is the big one everyone has been waiting for…

      Ricochet 2

      • Ditocoaf says:

        Eventually, Valve is either going to release a game called “Half Life 3” that is actually just a sequel to Ricochet, or a sequel to HL2 that’s named “Ricochet 2”.

    • DanMan says:

      That’s kinda what i was thinking. Some sort of cloud feature where multiple clients (2 circles = multiple OS) work together on something.

    • leQuack says:

      Can’t the second operating system be Android? Some integration with mobile devices? No idea how that would mutually beneficial, but it would be interesting.

  43. dog says:

    so would it be easy enough to run steamOs with xbmc on an old PC?
    i’d give that a go.
    currently have xbmc on win7, which works just dandy….

    • jrodman says:

      I have to mention that steamOs makes me think of some new engineered snack-food from Frito-Lay or similar.

  44. Tams80 says:

    I can see why this will be beneficial to Valve.

    For gaming on Linux though, I’m not so sure. DirectX is the main reason gaming hasn’t taken off on Linux/GNU. SteamOS may help get more developers to use OpenGL and Nvidia and AMD support it better, but as long as DirectX is widely used, gaming on Linux will be greatly constrained. Unless there is a major breakthrough in Wine, but that seems unlikely.

    • 00000 says:

      You’ve misunderstood. Valve decided not to run the games on Linux at all. Instead they decided to add an application virtualization layer to the Windows client. The Windows client can then run any game NATIVELY on the Windows desktop, while the Input/Output is redirected to/from the Linux client over Ethernet.

      The advantage is that when you already have a high-end Windows desktop, you can have one or several steam-box(es) for as little as $25 a piece (Raspberry Pi). This is cool because if the Steam client allows it (and your desktop can handle the load) you can serve more then one steam-box at the same time!

  45. Keyrock says:

    I’ll be interested to see if this winds up using Wayland rather than SteamOS would seem like a good candidate for Wayland since no one running it will have any need for any of the legacy stuff that is cluttered with.

  46. Xigageshi says:

    I agree that the streaming here is the big story, though as some here have pointed out, the tech has been around already. especially if you want to go the Wii U direction and stream to something like a tablet or laptop, things like splashtop work really well, and if you’re streaming to an android device splashtop is free even.

    • cunningmunki says:

      Splashtop most certainly does not work ‘really well’ for games. Especially not games that only run fullscreen and require fast response times.

  47. Frank says:

    I very much agree with point (6), or…if I actually had a separate living room in my apartment, I would.

  48. BreadBitten says:

    I really couldn’t give two shits about all this “living room” nonsense, I have a perfectly capable box under my TV for such duties, however I Am curious in knowing how this will affect my desktop experience. How do Valve plan on sweetening the pot for developers not yet sold on Linux? How do they plan on letting me play my already established catalog if I choose to opt for this? Most importantly, is this an option or will Valve suddenly “pull a Todd” and have SteamOS be mandatory?

  49. Lagwolf says:

    Since I am keyboard and mouse guy who hates using a controller this matters little to me. However I like seeing innovation.

    Still like to see Half-Life 3 though.

    • cunningmunki says:

      Never considered using a controller and a mouse from your sofa? You so should try it.

    • Premium User Badge

      particlese says:

      I’m also a KB&M guy who doesn’t like gamepads (though I can justify using them in a few cases). As such, the big steamy screen is completely worthless to me right now, but yes: Hooray for innovation. I particularly like the prospects of improved input latency and Linux audio. I haven’t noticed many problems with the former, but it’s generally a good thing, and the latter is still pretty messy despite some improvements over the past few years.

      Still, as cunningmunki implied, one can still easily loathe gamepads and such from the ocular and bumular comfort of a sofa. Unless you notice a difference using wired devices, I guess. Or if you have a TV/AVR/projector where you can’t turn off the latency-inducing post-process junk. Or if you have to invite/fight other users of/for the sofa. For me, the hardest part was finding a comfortable spot for the ¡¡¡KBaM!!! A large mousepad on a wooden board (aka minimalist desk) with the devices on top seems to do the trick just fine.

      Edit: Pfff, what is Half-Life, anyway? I want me some Ricochet 2.