Valve reveals SteamOS

Half-Life and Portal studio announces its own Linux-powered operating system; designed for the TV and the living room; will be available "soon" as free download.

Half-Life and Portal developer Valve today announced its own operating system called SteamOS.

SteamOS is based on Linux, is designed for the TV and the living room, and will be free.

"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," Valve said. "SteamOS combines the rock-solid architecture of Linux with a gaming experience built for the big screen."

SteamOS will be available "soon" as a free standalone operating system for "living room machines."

According to Valve, SteamOS will feature "significant performance increases" for graphics processing, and is also 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," Valve said.

Valve explained that the "openness" of SteamOS will allow those in the hardware business to iterate in the living room "at a must faster pace" than in the past. As an example, Valve said content creators can connect directly with their customers using SteamOS, while users can alter or replace any part of the software or hardware they want.

"Gamers are empowered to join in the creation of the games they love. SteamOS will continue to evolve, but will remain an environment designed to foster these kinds of innovation," Valve said.

Valve also revealed four new four new features that will be supported through SteamOS and the standard Steam platform. These are in-home streaming, family sharing (confirmed last week), "family options" like parental controls, and the ability to access movies, music, and TV shows from "many of the media services you know and love."

Finally, Valve said SteamOS is rooted in the core ideas of the standard Steam service, the first pillar of which is games. The company said "hundreds of great games" are already running natively on SteamOS and mentioned that gamers should "watch for" announcements regarding AAA titles coming natively to SteamOS in 2014.

SteamOS will constantly evolve, Valve said, just like the way Steam has since it was introduced in 2003. According to Valve, SteamOS will continue to deliver game updates directly from creators and also "regular additions" and new features to the OS itself.

Valve has two more announcements slated for this week. The company's next reveal will take place on Wednesday, September 25.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

1932 comments
Compuse
Compuse

I see some power in gaming from the couch, i'm using my laptop with a 360 controller playing AC3 for 26 hours this week and I've only been using my i7-3770k with a 7950 setup for about 2 hours this week, ... ;/


Still, i don't like the fragmentation, making games for Windows, Xbox, en PS is demanding enough for the developers to ensure hardware optimizations and no cheap ports..

nicecall
nicecall

it'd be sweet if this OS runs games faster then windows 7 but I can see many driver problems with it probably

DeathProofDelta
DeathProofDelta

This is interesting, this bring a new angle for gamers to decide what hardware is best for them.

twisted_outlaw
twisted_outlaw

Best thing about this, is Windows might just go bye bye for PC gamers. Especially if Steam OS isn't just Steam, and it allows you to play Origin games and shit too, like Starcraft, Diablo, and WoW. Hopefully this is the case. If so, I'm done with consoles for real.

twisted_outlaw
twisted_outlaw

So Steam OS will run my games on my PC better than Windows. YAY! Makes sense. Make an OS that pretty much strictly plays PC games, without all the other junk, and it basically lets your PC act like a console, and devote all it's power to just that one task. Pretty neato. Glad Valve thought of this!

If only Titanfall and BF4 will work with this, I will have no real need for either PS4 or Xbox One.

ahmad1080
ahmad1080

be careful Valve don't say TV ... somebody has an allergy with the word " TV "

SpotonRisotto
SpotonRisotto

As it stands I can play zero games on my tv. if this makes it go to 1+ I will be happy enough.

newlander393
newlander393

I don't know if linux is a very good idea. I know programmers think lunix is the next best thing, but common users with limited knowledge will find it hard to adjust to the new OS especially when most scientific simulation programs I have run on windows only (for example, matlab). Wiping my whole PC just for linux just isn't worth it for people like me who don't want to look at endless user forums whenever something goes wrong, so I think I'll stick to windows.

Senior_Rosa
Senior_Rosa

It looks very promising and the more i know about it, the more i want to know. Unlike the bone project, which happened to be an even greater fail with each revelation.

EquinoxVespers
EquinoxVespers

It's excellent to see Linux in the spotlight where it deserves to be.

I will be following Valve and SteamOS, for sure.

xsonicchaos
xsonicchaos

I don't wanna tell anyone how to do their jobs, but someone (and by someone I mean Eddie) should ask the other companies if they will offer support for this new OS. Like if Microsoft will offer support for their GFWL games, at least for those that require both Steam and GFWL, like Dawn of War 2. Also EA for Origin and Ubisoft for Uplay. You know, for those... noobs that actually use that sort of stuff hahalolhahahmmm

killersushi
killersushi

Sounds interesting, although I thought we had stopped hating Windows a while ago. Windows 7 was really decent and Windows 8 is great these days. Classic Shell adds a start menu and another little program lets metro apps run in their own window instead of leaving the desktop. Win8 is really fast and optimized.

Microsofts attempts to make the PC a more closed system for gaming is going to fail anyway. At the moment I think we're golden and I've never felt so far away from wanting to use Linux.

gamefreak215jd
gamefreak215jd

"Game developers are already taking advantage of these gains as they target SteamOS for their new releases," 

Think about it fellow PC gamers we may actually be benefit from it.

blaze_boy30
blaze_boy30

So what are these living room machines? A set-top box? A PC hooked up to a T.V.? Whatever machine that is, it needs more details. Valve is encroaching on console territory by releasing this. With Steam having periodic sales and huge discounts, Sony and Microsoft will have a hard time competing with Steam in digital product sales. It's also free (read: no paid subscription). Sony and Microsoft are stronger brands, but time will tell if this new OS pick up steam and compete.

Gameadd1cts
Gameadd1cts

"Valve said it has designed a "high-performance" Steam Machine prototype that is optimized for gaming, the living room, and for Steam. It is upgradeable and open, Valve said" I will start saving to get the best version of all :D I hope they dont't plant to sell these machines for like 1,000 dollars like some companies wanted to do. If they put the machine for 500 dollars (with good specs it would be 100% worth it) ^^

ChristysXmas
ChristysXmas

It's funny how Valve always wants to get into the living room and get a slice of cake from consoles, yet all they can offer is something you can easily build with PC hardwares on the market. 

Many PC exclusives like Total War: Rome 2 are meant to be played on a desktop system with K/M setup, that's why their pigheaded effort on bringing PC into the living room is plain laughable and stupid.

Maybe they should stop dreaming and focus on bringing out Half-Life 3 or L4D3 instead.

daabulls23
daabulls23

T-minus 3 hours, 50 minutes. C'mon clock! Hurry!

knightros
knightros

*Yawn*

Isn't there already two or three Linux based game platforms? Other then the Android phones/tablets are any of them relevant?

DiscGuru101
DiscGuru101

Hot graphic. Still, highly doubt I will take any interest in a Steam OS anytime soon.

Daemoroth
Daemoroth

Let the fragmentation of Linux continue.

Sorry, but the very reason Linux is awesome is the same reason that it will never make much headway in mainstream numbers. Its openness and the ability for every user to poke and prod and customise makes it impossible for devs to create a stable engine.

They already struggle with different PC hardware configurations on the same OS, add to that any number of customisations that users will be able to make on Linux.

And you can't lock Linux down, it's against the spirit of Linux and against open-source.

Just don't see the point of this. The whole "MS is locking everything down!!!!" is a severe over-reaction. Sure, MS tried their luck with their app store, and they screwed up fantastically. Good thing it's entirely optional and no self-respecting dev cares 2 cents about it, and rather releases "business as usual" to normal Windows-base.

I feel the Steam Box is in the same boat as the Ouya, no reason to exist, no gap it's filling. Want a Steam Box? Buy a pre-built mini-ITX based PC, connect it to your TV and run Steam Big Picture.

Colekern
Colekern

I'm actually excited for this. Many of my friends prefer consoles over PC's for various reasons, and having a middleman so that my friends have a console experience on PC so we can play multiplayer together sounds awesome.

lonesamurai1
lonesamurai1

I just don't understand the importance of being in the living room, what's so great about that? right now your trading off high resolutions on monitors like mine for crummy 1080p in your living room.

IvanKavinski
IvanKavinski

Excited to see how this all works out.  Dig me some Valve.  Love their perspective on the industry.

nemes1s3000
nemes1s3000

At first we were all worried and scared that EA was going to take over the world, and now.. it seems we were dead wrong..

leandrro
leandrro

just make us a 400 dollar pc that beats ps4, i can do that you guys also can

Vaishakhk
Vaishakhk

@newlander393 I think Valve is trying to make it more user friendly to make it more accessible

nate1222
nate1222

@newlander393 Dude, you can dual boot Linux alongside Windows. Then there's Wine: an app that allows Linux and Mac OSes to run Windows based software.

Besides, Linux itself is FREE and doesn't lock you into proprietary rackets like Windows and Mac do. And SteamOS is prepackaged to handle all your entertainment stuff right out of the box.

Senior_Rosa
Senior_Rosa

@killersushi Well, the fact that they are giving away the SO might reduce the final price of your new machine when you will buy another one, is one thing to consider IMHO... 

amdreallyfast
amdreallyfast

@blaze_boy30 That's what I'm wondering.  Does "living room machines" include Playstation and XBox?  What about a blu-ray player or the TV itself?  All of the above?

Ravenlore_basic
Ravenlore_basic

@Gameadd1cts you can upgrade the PC as its a PC... 

I would hope for an established baseline,  say a mid level AMD APU that is somewhat better than what is found in the consoles  $500 - $600. maybe a High end APU for those willing to spend a little more $800.00.

Kickable
Kickable

@ChristysXmas you think a console's control scheme is their biggest hurdle?  what console doesn't have usb ports today?  they could probably offer any current integral PC peripherals if game developers say they'd be on board.

Ravenlore_basic
Ravenlore_basic

@ChristysXmas Their OS will be more geared toward Games than a Windows PC. 

Total War, and any other PC game may find it cheaper, and with a bigger audience to try to sell to.  The PC has its advantages over consoles and Steam OS will have its advantages over Windows PC. 

This effort will bring more people to buy a PC for gaming, as well as the added use the PC has. 

Ravenlore_basic
Ravenlore_basic

@knightros They are becoming more relevant everyday.  And each year more developers, consumers are paying attention. 

Senior_Rosa
Senior_Rosa

You are wrong in considering that if it is linux, it is going to be a mess of configurations, command line programing and shit. They said they BASED their OS on linux. This means that while functionalities will be the same regarding system structure and files, it will be easier to make it work and without much more setting up steps as they aim it for average players, not neceserelly programres. Here the deal will be the drivers on exotic setups if you dont follow the official one.

Reuwsaat
Reuwsaat

@Daemoroth I disagree, it's not like every unix-user knows how to mess with the kernel, I doubt most even know what that is. Except for the kernel there isn't all that much of a difference, and if people already keep themselves from using unix-based systems just because it can't run DX games (no, WINE is still ways off no matter how people try to convince otherwise), people won't have problems adopting a single distribution for gaming.

Ravenlore_basic
Ravenlore_basic

@Daemoroth Look at android. It is doing just fine... If Valve can have that kind of success then I think it will grow very big. 

Many people do not want to deal with a PC.  They want to buy a "steam box" put in a game and have it work.. same as a console. Those who want to tinker will do so. Those who want to get a high Steam box will be able to do so. 

The cost for developers will lessen Open Gl, Open Cl will be improved. games will be made for this platform with less restrictions and less cost. 

( "IT has already began" Akira ) 

horizonwriter
horizonwriter

@lonesamurai1 Depends on the size of the monitor.  Sometimes you just want to see things on a bigger screen and lets face it, larger monitors are far more expensive than larger tv's.  Then there's the fact that most people have their home theater system centered around their living room and tv, not whatever pc they're running. There's also the bonus of just being a comfortable, lazy ass on the couch.  Your setup and/or preferences are probably different and that's fine but try to open your mind to how others see the situation and opportunity.

Gameadd1cts
Gameadd1cts

@lonesamurai1 Well idk you but in my case if I could buy some type of pc (console) made for Steam I would do it because it's more comfortable even tho you can even do this with your laptop(just connect HDMI in the TV) but it's not the same and if this new "Valve Console" you can upgrade it that's going to make it even better because I usually play in my laptop in a 21 inch screen via HDMI cable. (I'm moving soon to Canada that's why I haven't bought a good gaming cpu) But if I could save a couple of hundreds of dollars buying this instead of a 2,000 dollars gaming pc (or if I want to save some money build it myself) I would totally buy this. Obviously if they make this "PC" "Console" for like 700 dollars or up it would just be better get a gaming pc or even just a ps4 with some games.

Kickable
Kickable

@amdreallyfast @blaze_boy30 i assumed it means Steambox and any console-type system in the future that opts to use SteamOS.  wouldn't that be bizarre, Xbox One allowing it as an option.

DeviantCode
DeviantCode

@Ravenlore_basic @ChristysXmas It'll be more compelling once more PC games support Linux.  Have you seen the list of "Featured Linux Games" on steam?  It reads like a Walmart Bargain Bin sale sign.

Devilish102
Devilish102

I don't know understand why they want to bring pc gaming to living room, I’m kind of gamer who's always play video games in my own room without anyone disturb me. If u play video games in living rooms you'll be like console gamer. Playing video games in living room can kind of spoil your fun if family members is there to disturbed you.