CONSOLES PUT ON BLAST: VALVE reveals STEAM OPERATING SYSTEM.
Valve gives no fucks about the upcoming wave of consoles. Or rather, they’re seemingly swinging at the knees of said consoles. They’ve revealed a Steam OS, and it is a safe bet it shall be powering whatever the fuck they’re dropping on our living rooms.
This week, Valve, the maker of the Steam gaming service for PCs, says it will make a series of three announcements that will outline how it plans to expand aggressively from the computer room to the living room in 2014. Today, it revealed the first piece of the puzzle: a new operating system.
SteamOS, based around Linux, will be an operating system for PCs that will be focused entirely around playing games via Steam. By cutting out the middleman, Valve hopes to increase the efficiency gap between dedicated gaming consoles and multi-functional PCs.
“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,” Valve wrote on the project’s announcement page. “Game developers are already taking advantage of these gains as they target SteamOS for their new releases.”
Besides letting game developers get more power out of PCs, SteamOS will let players share games between the members of their family, with each account able to “take turns” playing single downloaded copies of games. It will also allow you to stream games from your Windows or Mac computers over your home network and play them through the SteamOS — in effect, giving you “backward compatibility” with your current library of PC games.
Since SteamOS is built around Linux, game developers will have to release SteamOS-specific versions of their games to get them to play natively on the new operating system. This is the biggest challenge for Valve now that it has announced its intention to split Steam off from Windows and Mac — can it attract enough developer support to make people install a new OS?
Some clues to Valve’s next two announcements can be found on the teaser page. The three announcements are represented as a circle (which we now understand to represent SteamOS), a circle in brackets and two circles together in the brackets. Since Valve has already said multiple times that it will do something with gaming hardware, Wednesday’s announcement is most likely a low-cost PC-type machine to be sold at retail that runs SteamOS. And if that’s true, then Friday’s announcement will be some other piece of software (the second circle) paired with SteamOS. You may start your Half-Life 3 predictions now.
You sprung? This get you going?