A few days ago we had posted an article featuring a new page on the Steam website with a countdown to something that would expand the Steam universe. Well the first countdown timer has come and what has been announced is the Steam Operating System (OS). As most of you will be familiar, Valve brought gaming to the living room via their “Big Picture” button which essentially brought a new Graphical User Interface or (GUI) to the PC-centric Steam software. This allowed users to play all of their favorite Steam games on their big screen televisions. Well it seems as if Valve wasn’t completely done with bringing PC gaming to your living room and have announced Steam OS.
Steam OS is essentially a souped up version of Linux, the most popular operating system in the world, to bring a new wave of PC gaming to your living room. Steam OS will soon be available as a free stand-alone operating system for living room machines. The OS is said to run on “any living room machine”, and will “provide access to the best games and user-generated content available” While they aren’t completely finished with the product they have touted significant performance in graphics processing. They are still lookin at issues with audio and input latency performance. The exciting bit here is that developers are already taking advantage of the software so you should see support for the newest releases. You might be wondering if this is just another try at the Big Picture mode that valve has already released, and the answer to that is no. Steam and Steam OS is part of a collaboration of “many-to-many entertainment” and “openness” This allows developers who only develop for the small screens of computers to become much faster at releasing content and support for the large television displays.
Coming soon to both the Steam OS and the Steam client are four new features that are focused on the living room. In-home steaming, which allows you to play all your favorite PC games on your Steam OS machine. Through a linking system similar to the Nvidia Shield, you point your gaming computer to this Steam OS machine and you can stream those games over your network. Valve is already working with all your favorite media services which should be Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora and some others to provide you with access to all of your favorite video and music. You even get some Family Sharing features. You are now able to share your favorite games with the people in your own household. Each user is able to collect their own achievements and maintain their own progress. All of this progress will be saved to the Steam cloud.Along with that family sharing comes some family options including the ability to keep certain games separated, So I could have no issues playing games like Hitman: Absolution while my 13 year old cousin wouldn’t see the option to play it. You should be seeing some announcements in the coming weeks about AAA titles being supported natively on the Steam OS in 2014.
For the full details, visit the Steam OS page directly here. And be on the lookout to the next announcement in the three part deployment of the expansion of the Steam universe.