Valve Announces Linux-Based SteamOS
Steam has made quite a name for itself over the last few years with PC gaming. Over the last year they have been putting a lot of work into Linux and porting many of their games over to the OS. While no one knew why for sure, they finally made the announcement that everyone was waiting for, SteamOS.
What might come as a surprise to some is where Steam is aiming their new OS. Their dream is to bring their ever expanding game library to the living room and not just the PC. Designed for the TV and living room they will offer access to their over 3000 game library as well as future titles. Steam said, “SteamOS combines the rock-solid architecture of Linux with a gaming experience built for the big screen.”
At the moment all of their games are not native to the Linux OS but there is a work-around for that. All you need to do is fire up your Windows or Mac, load up Steam and through SteamOS you can play on your TV. The good news is that this method will not be needed for long. All newer games from Valve will be available natively on Steam in the future. This way everything they put out will work through the SteamOS right away.
Of course gaming is not the only thing that Valve has planned for SteamOS. Just as with almost anything else that is developed today it will be made for games, music, and movies. They aim to be an open system that every industry can take advantage of. So in areas where a gaming system might have failed because all they have is games or a movie system fails because all they have are movies, the new SteamOS will have it all.
Their main goal is to cooperate with every industry and every manufacturer. This is evident in the fact that the OS will be completely free. If you want it you only need to download it. Should a manufacturer want to install it on their systems all the licenses will be free. This could be the one strategy that keeps them in the game where others have failed.
The SteamOS will offer Family Sharing so that you will no longer need to have individual licenses for the same game if shared with a family member. While sharing and “openness” is a main feature of the OS that does not mean that there will be no individuality. As they put it, the living room is “family territory”. This means that even though sharing is encouraged a family member who is into gaming will not want their parent’s files in the same folders as their games. Everyone will have separate libraries and each will govern the system as an individual.
Streaming music, television and movies along with a massive gaming library seems like Valve has found the Holy Grail of entertainment. If they can manage to get it right the SteamOS could be the answer to all of our prayers. Living in a society that is so willing to share, yet does not want to give up its privacy makes for a unique scenario when trying to design a system to meet everyone’s needs and desires. If the SteamOS turns out to be everything Valve says it will, they may have found the answer.