Valve SteamOS: A Linux-based Gaming Operating System Announced

by on September 23, 2013 · 16 comments· LAST UPDATED December 17, 2013

in Linux Games

The year of Linux on the desktop or living room is here. Today Valve software announced SteamOS, a free Linux-based gaming operating system designed for the TV, DIY enthusiast and the living room. From the announcement page:

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.

More about SteamOS

  • Hundreds of great games are already running natively on SteamOS. More AAA titles coming natively to SteamOS in 2014.
  • You can stream games from your desktop and stream those games over your home network to your TV via a SteamOS machine.
  • You can play all your Windows and Mac games on your SteamOS machine, too.
  • Stream music and video with the SteamOS media services.
  • In SteamOS, Valve have achieved significant performance increases in graphics processing, and Valve working on audio performance and reductions in input latency at the operating system level. Game developers are already taking advantage of these gains as they target SteamOS for their new releases.
  • You can modify or replace any part of the software or hardware you want. No more lock-ins.
  • Valve are working on improving Linux kernel, drivers and debugging tools. This is a great news for both developers and users.
  • Standard parental controls for games and streaming services.

Input lag over a network... a horrible experience?

Streaming games over the internet adds the the network latency. However, SteamOS machine and TV will be in a local network. This will keep delay to minimum including encoding and decoding video between the two systems. This is just a guess and I will wait for the reviews.

I think Valve is following Android model. User will get consistent environment for all your devices or you can build your own device. SteamOS will be available soon as a free download for users and as a freely licensable operating system for manufacturers. For more information see SteamOS announcement page.

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  • Jeremy Martin

    “You can play all your Windows and Mac games on your SteamOS machine, too.”

    Using what? Wine? PlayOnLinux? CrossOver (not free)? etc… I would like to know how they could make that statement and it be factual. What are they using to achieve this goal?

    **Edit**
    after doing some googling about SteamOS i got more insight about what it can do. This device will stream your valve steam games, be it Linux,Windows or MAC, to your tv. So perhaps the wording is a bit off…not ANY Windows games…just ALL STEAM supported games can be streamed.

  • barhofesh

    Streaming to the “SteamOS” machine within the LAN

  • linux-gamer

    it should be called GlaDoS

  • Phil

    SWEETNESS! I’m so freaking excited about this!!

  • Captain Obvious

    I’ve got a better solution. It’s called HDMI. ;-)

  • tfw0qe

    I’m guessing we’d have to have a separate Windows machine for the streaming. I’m also guessing that Valve would try to fit SteamOS with the Raspberry Pi computer for that whole living room experience.

  • Matt North

    I’m looking forward to seeing what Valve do with this.

  • Chris Demetriad

    Fair enough lol.

  • thedo0der

    Steam has been porting games to linux for a while now.
    @Jeremy: Steam for Linux, no wine, no playonlinux, just steam on linux..(you live under a rock?)

  • Jeremy Martin

    Can you read? That is not what I asked. I know full well what steam is..Also i have been playing games on GNU/Linux for a very long time…ever hear of Loki Games? Ever played UT or any Quake back in the 90′s? I have. I also know gaming under GNU/Linux has taken some hits and had some positive progress as well over the last decade. WineX (now transgaming) made games such as BF 1942 play great under GNU/Linux and I played the hell out of original counterstrike as well as half life…. yes i have heard of steam before. However, admittingly, I have not been playing PC games of any sorts for a couple years now but steam has been around for a while..including when I used to play.

    Anyways with that said I was wondering how do they intend to allow you to play every Windows game on your SteamOS machine? Steam does not currently support every single possible Windows or MAC game out there so I am interested in knowing how they intend to do that. I am missing some vital piece of the puzzle with this statement….either that or I don’t fully get what SteamOS is supposed to provide. This article was the first time I read about SteamOS.

    **Edit**
    after doing some googling about SteamOS i got more insight about what it can do. This device will stream your valve steam games, be it Linux,Windows or MAC, to your tv. So perhaps the wording is a bit off…not ANY Windows games…just ALL STEAM supported games can be streamed.

  • thedo0der

    I was only responding to your comment.
    “You can play all your Windows and Mac games on your SteamOS machine, too.”..

    I did totally misunderstand, my bad.

    @disqus_8l0Ip07vON:disqus : I in no way was trying to offend or ridicule you, I was just surprised that; it appeared like, you were unaware that Steam for Linux was porting games for some time now. Which, with your last post you have clarified that you are not living under a rock.

  • thedo0der

    I wonder if this is all a part of the “Steambox’s” plan and the push to
    get games out of a market with “closed systems with proprietary
    implementations”.

    In my opinion, it sounds like they are either
    streaming your games from your PC or it could be similar to other “Cloud
    Gaming” services (GAAS).

  • Jeremy Martin

    no worries :D

  • Liam

    Call me a cynic, but I don’t think this is nearly as exciting to FOSS advocates as it is to game enthusiasts. Show me a functional SteamOS that is actually Free Software–i.e. we all have unrestricted ability to access, use, modify, and redistribute every last byte of both source and binaries, regardless of whether it’s “available for free”–and I’ll be impressed. But as long as they use proprietary components, it’s a birthday cake with a beetle baked into the center.

  • Lukas

    I don’t think they are going to port it to ARM (Pi architecture). That’d be too much work I think. I guess they are doing x86, and maybe ARM64 later on.

  • iamtheobama

    That is why we all love Valve! ^^

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