SteamOS: Gaming-dedicated operating system

Valve promised us three big announcements this week, and the company’s come out swinging. SteamOS is a brand new, Linux-based operating system designed specifically for gaming.

(Not an accurate image of SteamOS)

(Not an accurate image of SteamOS)

The news follows on from last year’s Big Picture mode, which concentrated on moving gaming away from the bedroom or the office and into other parts of the house.

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.

While many fans are inevitably excited by the news, nay-sayers are a little more concerned. Valve promises that SteamOS will be open-ended, like most other Linux-based operating systems, but gamers are worried that Valve will create its own “walled garden” – just like the one the company complained about in Windows 8.

One way that we already know it will be different: SteamOS will run games designed for Windows, Mac and Linux, and will also support family sharing, as well as music and movie services.

Details on the OS are still fairly slim (the next update is due out in a couple of days), but we can safely assume it’ll work with Steam’s Big Picture mode, so you can play games from your Steam library quite happily on a high-def tv, without needing a new machine.

…if you want a new machine, Valve hasn’t made any statements on custom hardware just yet, but we think it’s something on the horizon.

For more details, head to the SteamOS website, and for more updates, step into the Steam Living Room. SteamOS will be out as a free download “soon”, with more details out this week.

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