October 3, 2013
Valve announces SteamOS
So, Valve’s fight for living room dominance is continuing with a vigilant response in light of Sony’s PS4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One coming later this year. It’s no surprise that Valve is doing whatever they want with PC players (in beneficial ways, of course) in as little time as they need because of remarkable Steam sales and profits. (Mind you, all of these great add-ons to Steam have generated for Valve a lovely little chunk of profit, not to mention more customers to a great app.) So, what’s the next innovative idea that Valve has cooked up for PC players this year?
Entering stage left, the SteamOS, a free standalone operating system made just for living room machines, of which I think there is some variation between rooms. In all likelihood, this could be the software publishing giant’s miraculous dive into their own operating system that can bring a few more followers their way.
Valve’s biggest issue with public favor and growth has been that they are mostly an online digital distribution service. With their newest announcements, such as a Steam controller peripheral for PC, Valve can extend their hands into player’s living rooms with Big Picture mode.
The SteamOS has been stated to “combine the rock-solid architecture of Linux with a gaming experience built for the big screen,” according to a representative at the announcement.
Valve has made the central preoccupation of this OS to allow the player to change whatever part of the software or hardware that they want (given that it’s Linux based) while also allowing players to customize and trick out their OS in any way they see fit. Effectively this means that Steam’s OS will allow PC players to utilize the freedom and security of living room gaming systems in as little time as three months.
It’s embarrassing, honestly.
But what surprises me the most about the announcement of this new operating system is that it’s geared specifically from the branch of the Steam app on operating systems that range from Windows XP to Windows 8. The problem here is that Microsoft has cast a cold, dark shoulder to PC players that haven’t given their Windows 8 OS a chance.
Most of us hardcore gaming types haven’t left the comfortable confines of our Windows 7 compatibility modes, so why should we feel the need to switch over to a new OS inspired by Apple’s simplistic sentiments for ergonomics? Another issue that has always presented itself in that regard is that Windows 7 isn’t the pretty kid on the yard anymore (well, not at to Microsoft, at least), and most of our games aren’t supported on later models of Windows.
The operating systems keep changing. Meanwhile, Valve is having an issue keeping the code of the Steam app stable on PCs when the base operating system is changing. With an operating system of their own, Valve can put a large wrench in the gears of console development that has plagued PC development for so very long.
Image Credit: Valve Corporation