Valve Announces SteamOS

steam-os-headerValve promised us three announcements this week. People are hoping for things like the long-awaited Steam Box, an official debut of the Source 2 engine and, as always with a Valve announcement, Half-Life 3.

However, Valve’s major announcement caught everyone completely off guard. While we were expecting hardware or a game, we instead got a new computer operating system that Valve calls SteamOS.

SteamOS is being described by Valve as an operating system that is developed for gaming in the living room built on a Linux backbone. It’s not a surprise that SteamOS will use Linux architecture. Linux was rumoured to be the OS for the planned Steam Box console.

In addition to making this a free operating system, Valve’s announcement says that they built the OS to improve the gaming experience. They say that they’ve improved graphics processing at the operating system level and are targeting improvements in audio performance and input latency in the near future. While most operating systems have to run everything, SteamOS appears to be designed around optimizing gaming above all else.

While you would think that using Linux as the basis for what effectively is a gaming PC OS, SteamOS has a way for you to play Windows and Mac games that aren’t available for Linux. You can stream games running in the Steam client on a Windows or Mac computer over your home network to your SteamOS device. Basically, your SteamOS device kind of becomes an NVIDIA Shield or a Steam version of PS Vita’s Remote Play.

However, Valve says that they are working on getting some big triple-A titles to run natively on SteamOS with announcements of those titles coming in the next weeks. They’re promising that between native SteamOS games and streamed games, all of their titles will be playable on a SteamOS device in some way, shape or form.

That game streaming will not only be a part of the SteamOS but is one of four new features of SteamOS that is coming to the Steam client. Music, TV shows and movies will be coming to Steam soon. The previously announced Family Sharing service will be a feature of the SteamOS. Finally, Steam will be adding parental controls to SteamOS and the Steam client soon.

Valve’s second announcement of the week will be on Wednesday at 1 PM Eastern. Given the announcement of the SteamOS, does this mean that we can expect some Steam-branded hardware to run it?

Source: Steam


About Steve Murray

Steve is the founder and editor of The Lowdown Blog and et geekera. On The Lowdown Blog, he often writes about motorsports, hockey, politics and pop culture. Over on et geekera, Steve writes about geek interests and lifestyle. Steve is on Twitter at @TheSteveMurray.

Posted on September 24, 2013, in Games and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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