Today we learned that the mythical “Steam Box” is finally becoming a reality. Valve is a household name to gamers (seriously, who doesn’t have a Steam account these days?), and is the studio behind games like Portal, Half-Life 2, and Left 4 Dead, to name a few. Valve revolutionized the PC game industry with Steam, its digital download service, and this afternoon Valve announced its very own operating system.
SteamOS will function on any living room machine, and has the capacity to stream games from your PC or Mac directly to your TV, allowing you to play your favorite Steam games on “the big screen.” SteamOS will be free and is built on Linux. Valve released the following statement:
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. SteamOS combines the rock-solid architecture of Linux with a gaming experience built for the big screen. It will be available soon as a free stand-alone operating system for living room machines.
According to Valve, they’ve “achieved significant performance increases in graphics processing” and are now working on “audio performance and reductions in input latency.” Apparently, “Game developers are already taking advantage of these gains as they target SteamOS for their new releases.”
Valve also announced four new features available both on standard Steam and the upcoming SteamOS: in-home streaming, family sharing, parental controls, and options for additional media like movies and music.
SteamOS is “Downloadable soon. Free forever!” It will no doubt be tough competition for Microsoft and Sony’s next-generation consoles. This is the first of three announcements Valve is making this week, so stay tuned for more information about SteamOS!
Valve’s next announcement (Portal 3? The long-awaited Half-Life 3?) is scheduled for Wednesday at 1 PM EST.