The PlayStation 4 has Orbis, the Xbox One has Windows 8 and the upcoming Steam Box – a living room solution for PC gaming – will run on Valve's all new, Linux-based SteamOS. The company recently sent out the press release confirming that Steam is taking the next step toward video game domination.
The reveal came through the Living Room website that is dedicated to three major announcements centering around Steam and playing video games the way you play console games.
The SteamOS is optimized for playing video games but that's not all. A visual breakdown of the new system is also outlined letting gamers know that in-home streaming is available, so that you can use the Steam Box to stream games from your PC or Mac. It works very similar to Nvidia's Project Shield. This means that even if a game not supported on the SteamOS is in your original Steam library, you can stream that game from another PC or Mac and enjoy it the way you always have. The only thing they didn't clarify is if the other PC has to be idle or if it can still do other stuff while you play games from the Steam Box.
Much like Sony and Microsoft, Valve's SteamOS still allows for multimedia activities, including music, television and movies. You can access all the popular media you normally do from your PC but soon you'll be able to do it from Steam's dedicated OS.
After recently announcing the Steam Family Share Plan, Valve has also announced that there will be additional enhancements to the feature to further personalize a single Steam account to allow for multiple individual use. This is identical to Microsoft's Gold Master Plan, where a single Gold subscriber can have sub-users on the account with their own achievements, gamerscore and profile.
The page also ends by reassuring gamers that everything they already love about Steam will still be available through the SteamOS. The operating system will still operate out of more than 185 countries and will continue to offer services such as free cloud storage, remote game saving and access to all your friends, family and rivals from the community features.
Most importantly, the SteamOS will still be built around everything that makes the current digital distribution client so lovable: easy access to mods. The Workshop will be built-in so you can find and access all the mods you like and love for all the games you like and love.
Even more than this, the SteamOS will be a free download, enabling users to get everything they want and need from Steam without having to use Windows. The page also specifically mentions that the SteamOS will be free for manufacturers to use so we'll have multiple iterations of the Steam Box on the way from all different sorts of hardware vendors.
The only thing we need to wait on now is the actual Steam Box hardware. I sure hope it's priced right, because the SteamOS sure is sounding delicious right about now.
My only concern regards compatibility. Not every game is made for Linux and this means not every game will be compatible for the SteamOS. I wonder how they'll get around the backward compatibility thing or will they find someone to emulate the Windows OS for dedicated Windows games? Interesting times ahead, no doubt.