The first of three announcements is out, and it's a biggie: Steam is making its own Linux distribution called SteamOS, specifically for living room gaming computers. It's going to be a free download to run on your own hardware, or preinstalled on the Steam Box.

This will have all you'd expect-- family sharing, the ability to play music, movies, etc. You can read all the details at the link above, but the most interesting piece of info to me is game streaming:

You can play all your Windows and Mac games on your SteamOS machine, too. Just turn on your existing computer and run Steam as you always have - then your SteamOS machine can stream those games over your home network straight to your TV!

As long as you have a Windows box in your home, you can play Windows games remotely. This is huge. I wonder where the video processing actually happens, and whether that will lock out the Windows PC while you play. I'm sure details will be forthcoming.

Another small teaser toward the end says "Watch for announcements in the coming weeks about all the AAA titles coming natively to SteamOS in 2014." I'm quite interested to hear about this. The games that show up natively for SteamOS will be a major indicator of how successful this initiative can be.

hardeyez wrote on 09/23/2013 at 05:29pm


Chowda wrote on 09/23/2013 at 05:31pm

You beat me to posting it!

hardeyez wrote on 09/23/2013 at 05:31pm

I mean, I knew they'd do this for steam box, but to release it to the end user also is great and brilliant. I wonder how much of the underlying system is still available, e.g. if I can use it for streaming media also...

Travis   Admin   Post Author wrote on 09/23/2013 at 06:02pm

I think streaming media is built-in but the way I read it they won't lock you out of the OS either. I'm sure there will be tons of SteamOS remixes and spinoffs that will let you do a variety of things not set up by default.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 09/23/2013 at 08:48pm

This is really awesome news. I use Linux but if SteamOS were based on some Debian variant I might switch to use it exclusively. Plus this means a potential SteamBox could be configured to do so many things.

Again, very exciting news.

beansmyname   Supporter wrote on 09/23/2013 at 10:45pm

The impact from this is going to be immense. It's awesome to see Valve's grand plan coming together in stages. Things are really starting to coalesce now.

The Family Sharing option makes sense given the context of a living room setup. As stated before, the functionality was always present but the presentation was different. Viewed in this light, this is no different than the setup on the PlayStation 3.

The ability to run the OS on your own hardware OR purchase from OEMs is also huge. That means that Valve doesn't even really have to make their own Steambox. They can simply approve certain specs and offer a licensing mechanism for getting the Valve logo.

Streaming from Steam to SteamOS devices on the network is a great feature. Being able to use one machine as a KVM switch for another and viewing a remote desktop are both existing technologies that once again Valve has packaged in a way that Grandma Gamer can do it without having to become a programmer.

The streaming feature is clever and a clever workaround for the lack of AAA titles that are playable via Linux at this time. Mentioning that AAA titles are in the works for 2014 is a way of indirectly acknowledging the severe lack of such titles right now. So, in the meantime, you can play them using your SteamOS device as a proxy via the streaming option. That's thinking with Portals!

Since Valve has shown they are looking forward, here's what I'm hoping we'll see when the magical day of transformation of my living room commences, a trio of "...3" titles and a new SDK:

- Left4Dead3
- Half-Life 3
- Team Fortress 3
- Source 3

jdodson   Admin wrote on 09/24/2013 at 04:51am

@beansmyname I don't know man, I am not sure Valve can count to 3.

If you want to join this conversation you need to sign in.
Sign Up / Log In