Lookit! A box! Isn't that just the most exciting thing? The Internet is, of course, in a tizzy over Valve's big reveal of a Steam Machine prototype, and - yep - it sure looks like one of them newfangled VCRs that can play those dang dern gametapes we never stop talking about. The bigger news, however, is that you need not worry about being required to own one - or even running SteamOS, for that matter. Nope, not even for Half-Life 3. Valve, happily, is philosophically opposed to the idea of platform exclusives.
Valve's Anna Sweet explained to IGN:
"Whenever we talk to third-party partners, we encourage them to put their games in as many places as possible, including not on our platforms. Because we think that customers are everywhere, and they want to put their games wherever customers are. That would go against our whole philosophy, to launch something that’s exclusive to SteamOS or Steam machines.”
Driving the point home, Valve's Greg Coomer added:
“If it can run in both places, we don’t like to create those artificial barriers to accessing content. We believe that, in maybe five years from now, folks will find it a quite antiquated notion that you should assume that when you change devices or platforms, that you lose all of your other games and friends. We’re hoping to unify, to get Steam to be as platform- and context-agnostic as possible. You shouldn’t have to shed that every generation, or even slightly shed it.”
An "exclusive killer app for SteamOS," then, simply isn't in the cards. Valve will continue to release on whatever platforms it pleases, even if SteamOS doesn't directly benefit.
Which is a pleasantly sensible and forward-thinking mindset, especially in this age of renewed console warring that's already seen lines drawn in the sand and poor, helpless giant robots dragged into one camp or the other. Also, it means PC gamers' good times will continue unabated, whether we join Valve's pilgrimage into living rooms or not. Good stuff.
Of course, this is all contingent on Valve ever releasing another game again. I'll believe that when I see it.