Last week, we learned that Valve planned on making three announcements about Steam during this week. Today we learned the first announcement is the SteamOS, a free linux-based operating system. The new operating system will be available soon, and can replace or work alongside Windows or Mac operating systems.
The new OS will allow gamers to stream games, music, movies and other media over your local network and to your tv. Valve wrote that it “working with many of the media services” people are familiar with.” So expect things like Netflix, Hulu and other popular media systems to be coming to the software.
Gamers will be able to share their games with family members and filter what games are shown under a gamers library. For example, if you don’t want to see your sister’s copy of a Nancy Drew game, you can filter those out of your library (this may also lead to multiple profiles on one account, similar to Netflix). Parents will also have family controls, to prevent younger users from seeing content they aren’t ready to see.
Valves promises that the new OS will improve graphics and audio, saying “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.” Steam already has a Big Picture mode, which allows gamers to play many of their Steam games on their TV without issue.
This new operating system is like the software side of a possible SteamBox. Valve has been rumored to be working on this since at least March of 2012, and this would seem like a possible way for PC gamers to not feel slighted by possible major Valve titles only working on the SteamOS *CoughHalfLife3Cough*. Could Wednesday’s or Friday’s announcement be a SteamBox? And if it is, what is the other announcement? We’ll let you know, as soon as we know.
This reporter’s opinion: If an entire operating system is just the opening salvo of Valve’s announcements, then I can only imagine how massive the next two must be. If Valve ties the SteamOS to a Steambox, then we could really see a boom for the PC industry. This new OS could become a favorite for PC creators, who won’t have to pay a dime to run the computers they sell on SteamOS.
by, Bobby Marquardt