Introducing SteamOS

SO Valve is been hyping three upcoming announcements, all to do with making Steam much more “TV room” friendly.

Reveal number 1 is SteamOS:

It’s linux based. It’s optimized for gaming and media. It’s free. They seem to want third parties to use it, in order to iterate on possible hardware solutions for the living room. Imagine things like the Chromecast, except with SteamOS, it would stream your media (online and local) as well as your games.

Along with SteamOS, they are announcing family share (which was actually already announced) making it easier to share your Steam library with other Steam accounts, Family options, which I guess translates into parental controls. Media/game streaming from other PC’s (and presumably tablets), and they are talking to content providers (I’m assuming the likes of Amazon, Netflix, HULU, etc) so as to have those services included as well.

Of course we don’t know what the other 2 announcements will be, and how they will tie into Steam OS, but I for one, am curious.

So does this mean anything to you? Any hype?

If it’s a decent service, I’ll be replacing windows 8 on my HTPC, with Steam OS. If I can run windows from within SteamOS, a la wine on Mac, that would be even better. But short of a Chromecast-like device or somethign with a passthroguh for cable a la Xbone, I guess I’ll keep my HTPC for now.

I find that I don’t give a crap.

Allow me to explain: I have no antipathy towards any sort of gaming device. If it has good games on it that I want to play, I will acquire it and play it. I don’t care about platforms. I don’t care about technology. I care about good games.

Do I have any reason to believe that this announcement will result in ANY games (good or otherwise) that would not have otherwise existed? No. Therefore, I don’t care. Good luck with your new OS, Valve. If people make good games for it, that I can’t get for a platform I already own, then I might care. Talk to you about it in 2015.

Kinda hard to say anything without knowing what the other two “reveals” will be. The graphics on the page indicate pretty clearly that they’ll be tied into the OS somehow.

But speculation is fun, so: I suspect the idea is that Valve (or some partner of Valve) will sell a cheap thin-client that sits next to the TV and serves as a media box/steam streaming center. Basically a Roku that plays video games, but does so with the quality dictated by your home PC’s hardware instead of the very limited hardware of the box itself.

Which seems cool. I’d buy one if it sold at Roku like prices, but I suspect it’d be kind of a niche product.

Anyhoo, on its own SteamOS is probably a good thing for Linux, since Valve has enough pull and money to get hardware vendors to assist with drivers and the like. But no real way to tell what it’ll mean for Valve till we know what its for.

My own speculation:

Chromcast-like or Vita TV/Roku-like device/thin client that streams games/media content from the internet/your PC. Possibly with a cable box passthrough for live TV support.

A collaboration with third party PC providers to release a “next gen” capable small form factor PC with SteamOS for under $900 as a livingroom PC.

HL3 and Left4Dead 3 annoucned as PC/SteamOs exclusives.


We really think (that Valve thinks) that there’s a market for a $800 livingroom PC? Really? Who would buy this? People with Serious Business in the living room often have already built PCs for this purpose, people without said Business aren’t going to want to pay $800 to play Netflix.

So this announcement is actually reducing the availability of good games?

This. Give me a few games that I can’t live without and my tune will change. Until then, its as useless to me as the Ooya and the Wii.

Possibly. Much the same way Sony and MS build games in order to build interest in their platforms.

Right now, the PC has more highly rated exclusive games than ANY console. But they aren’t marketed very well to anyone not already part of the PC gaming scene, which is why you get console gamers swearing up and down that the PC has no games, and that they’re glad Microsoft developed Minecraft.

Not only that but the PC is an open platform (the reason for the high number of exclusives) which means that it’s easy for devs to use their success on the PC to jump accross and build successes on the console space as well.

In a perfect world, we would all play the games we wanted on the platform we prefered, but it’s not a perfect world, and the truth is, highly marketed, big budget, exclusive games, sell platforms.

A push with AAA PC exclusives from Valve and hopefully others, might entice people to partake.

You’re right about the living room solution needing to be a lot cheaper. New APU’s form AMD might make that possible. They are more capable on paper than next gen consoles, and would be a lot cheaper to use on small form factor systems. Not sure they could ever compete with a $400 console though, not unless someone is going to subsidize them.

At the same time, it might not need to. If people find that their laptops can play the new games coming out, and they can stream them to their TV’s, that might get them invested enough to consider a slightly pricier living room solution.

Again, maybe. Just pure speculation at this point.

I don’t think you actually get this. Or if you do, you get it from people who are clearly spending so little effort on understanding the discussion that they shouldn’t be allowed at the table. Certainly, I have never met anyone who claimed this.

Sure. Except that now Microsoft is moving towards a closed space, so Valve’s solution is to…build a closed space of their own? 'cause there’s nothing open about Steam, and if you seriously think anyone’s going to build a game for SteamOS without it being approved for Steam…

The thing is, “more capable on paper” is COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT to this situation. Current gen consoles already feature more features than most people ever use. Upping the graphical ante is in no way going to convince anyone who isn’t already a PC gamer that they need to blow a big lump of cash on a living room box.

Color me super skeptical of this right now. People who care about playing games in the living room mostly already have solutions for playing games in the living room. People who don’t care about playing games in the living room have no use for this stuff. People who are aware of games on their PCs probably already have the ability to play games on their PCs. People who are not aware of games on their PCs aren’t somehow going to “find” that they have laptops that they can run this stuff on as a result of someone trying to sell them a product that runs in their living room.

Look at it this way; The potential targets for this are:

A) PC gamers who want to play PC games in the living room. I guess there are probably some of these, but I get the feeling that most PC gamers prefer to play their PC games at their desks.
B) People who have consoles, but would RATHER play PC games in their living room? Do these people exist? I mean, does someone REALLY buy a console and then say something to the effect of “Geez, the copy of Skyrim that I also bought for my PC is so much better, if only I could play it in the living room, my life would be complete?”
C) People who have no living room gaming device AND aren’t in group A. These people are honestly, unlikely to buy any sort of gaming device.

I just…don’t really see who this is for.

Not to mention that most modern TV’s come with a D-SUB video in connector that makes hooking up the computer as trivial as a monitor, as well as HDMI connectors on most gaming PC’s.
I don’t see the need.

You’re kidding, right? You appear to hang out with a very selective group of console gamers. Most don’t have a clue about PC games or PC gaming… wait, are you located outside the U.S? That might be why.


A) I’m one of these guys. Yes, I prefer to do MOST of my gaming on my desk, with the screen on my face. IT’s a lot more immersive and involved a gaming experience than couch potato-ing through a game. BUT, some games are fine for that type of game experience. I don’t need t play dirt 2 on my desk. Gamepad + TV sounds good. Anything that might make this easier is a good thing. It’s clear the Valve’s intent with this SteamOs thing, is for third party hardware manufacturers to come up with new, innovative things that will have this service embedded. Smart TV’s? The next Roku? If the next Roku comes with this, and it lets the user know - hey, if you’ve got a lappy, you can connect it to your TV now and play games like DOTA 2 on it! I think that might be appealing to possible a lot of people.

B) Almost all my once console only gamer friends flal into this category. They all started PC gaming, precisely because the experience was so much better on PC over consoles. And yet, they prefer the living room experience, many going as far as building HTPC’s or hooking up their desktops to their PC’s via HDMI. If there’s a small dongle that they can plug in to their TV’s and do the whole streaming thing on the cheap. They’ll jump on it.

I don’t think this particular announcement is for people in group C. Either the next two will target them, or Valve expects hardware manufacturers to use this free OS to appeal to them in some way.

Again, we don’t know what the other announcements are, and it’s possible that they will make the the whole thing more appealing… or not.

I do recall back 10 years ago, when Steam first became a thing, how every one thought it was crazy for Valve to do what they were doing. Haters, naysayers, there were legion. But look at Steam now. Not saying I believe this will turn out the same here, but I’m reserving judgement until I hear the rest.

For now, this gets a pretty solid “meh” from me. It means I might be replacing my HTPC’s OS with SteamOS somewhere donw the line. That is all.

The interesting part here is a major player throwing their weight behind a Linux distro specifically targeting gaming performance. That will increase the effort-to-return ratio for game dev support of Linux by attacking both sides of the equation.

Microsoft has repeatedly shown that they’re quite happy to kneecap technological progress if they think doing so could improve sales of a new product (see: DirectX). PC gaming needs a competitor large enough to either kill Windows dead or present enough pressure to get MS to collectively un-ass themselves. Something like this is a necessary first step to get there.

I don’t see the living room pseudoconsole nonsense as the primary goal, just one of the potential (and currently underserved) infection vectors for a larger process.

No, I’m deadly serious. Maybe I just don’t associate with stupid people, but literally EVERYONE I know who plays games on consoles also has SOME experience with PC gaming. Everyone.

Where are you seeing comments like this? I sure don’t see them on this forum either. :stuck_out_tongue:

Really? I find it hard to imagine that there’s a serious market of people who would want this as anything more than a gimmick.

I guess we’ll see, but I suspect it’s not going to happen.

Oh come on. yes, we don’t know what announcement #3 is, but if announcement number two isn’t some sort of living room hardware, I will eat my imaginary hat.

Ten years ago Steam was a crap product that was basically leveraged into existence because it was the only way to get Half Life 2. The naysayers were essentially right, at the time, but Valve was able to keep the thing on life support until it became worth using. I’m not convinced they’ll have the same opportunity here.

And honestly, I kinda wish they hadn’t succeeded. Or at least, that someone else had succeeded too. All of Gabe Newell’s words about the dangers of “closed platforms” reek of hypocrisy to me.

My 2 cents: This is not for me. I don’t even have a TV, just a monitor, because I decided having cable was not worth the extra expense. (This makes playing video games a little bit annoying, since I have to juggle extra cables and such, but I’m not shelling out money just so I can have an extra monitor sitting around.)

Never. Valve is, above all else, a ruthless business that prides itself on how much money it’s making. Half-Life 2 and Left 4 Dead 1/2 sold a tremendous amount of copies on consoles. There’s no way Valve leaves that giant pile of cash on the table. They want to push the PC as a platform, but they’re not stupid.

Also, I think you overestimate the number of PC exclusives that console gamers are just dying to play. Almost everything comes to consoles or is released simultaneously on consoles.

I dunno; This is pretty much the tactic they used to make Steam happen. Do you really think it would have taken off without Half Life 2 being a Steam Exclusive?

I tend to agree; While the PC does have a large advantage in -numbers- of exclusive titles, the vast majority of them are small or niche; You’re unlikely to get Joe Consolegamer to switch to PC to play Rogue Legacy or Europa Universalis.

Almost everything comes to PC too. And the only reason console gamers aren’t dying to play PC exclusives, is because those PC exclusives don’t have 100 million marketing budgets to go along with them. A LOT of console gamers, apparently wanted to play Diablo 3 and minecraft. It’s not that average Joe gamer wouldn’t be into Dota2 or WOW or LoL (average Joe gamer IS into all those games - they are some of the most popular game son the planet.), it’s that average joe gamer only cares about what corporation x markets to him. Put a Star Citizen commercial on TV, run a large online campaign on Machine for Pigs, and console gamers would start to care.

And the money Valve makes from Steam >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Money Valve would make from HL3 And Left 4 dead 3 on consoles.

I really wish we could get Mario and Zelda games on the PC. I think most xbox games make it to PC, don’t they?

Which has nothing to do with how much money Valve would make from Half-Life 3 and Left 4 Dead 3 on the PC. They may have been born on the PC, but like Call of Duty and Battlefield, those games will surely make most of their money on consoles.

There are emulators. Which have allowed me to enjoy some Wii game sin full HD :wink:

Emulators are legal. And assuming you own the physical game, it should be legal to play games on emulators on PC, but that might depend where you are located.

Well, many emulators need a BIOS, and getting the BIOS is usually the legally tricky part. I can’t remember if Dolphin needs one. I know for certain you need to either hack a Wii/Gamecube and take OS files (which is legally grey) or illegally download something to get low level sound emulation.