Monday, September 23rd 2013

Valve Announces Steam OS

People looking forward to the big "Steambox" announcement were met by an anticlimax. Valve announced its own operating system for PC gamers, which turns any PC into a "Steambox." Simply named Steam OS, the operating system is a highly modified Debian Linux stripped to bare, with all its non-essentials tossed out, and proprietary multimedia CODECs added, along with fonts, runtime environments, and in-built drivers for popular GPU, sound card, and gaming-peripheral brands. In essence, there's everything in the operating system for PC gamers, and then some.

Steam diversified from distributing PC games to non-gaming PC software, and Valve plans to take that further by doing groundwork for its very own living room content-delivery platform to compete with the likes of Xbox One. Since Steam OS can be deployed onto x86-based PCs as tiny as an Intel NUC, it stands more than a half chance. Its baby-steps are taken with In-home Streaming, a feature that lets you stream content off a PC or Mac in your house. You can share games in your account with others in your family, and close friends, using the recently-announced Family Sharing feature. You get content-blocking features and restricted-accounts. You also get media-player software that lets you organize and play back music and videos in most open- and proprietary formats. You should be able to install popular web-browsers like Google Chrome. Steam OS is competitively priced against Windows 8.1 and OS X 10.9, at $0. Did we tell you that some of its icons look like companion cubes? Just kidding.
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88 Comments on Valve Announces Steam OS

#1
lyndonguitar
I play games
If it's a seperate OS from windows. I don't think it would be worth it to change the OS. Not all games are on steam(yet), some great games like Battlefield 4 won't be playable unless I dual boot, which is tedious to do. I doubt that EA will make their games available on SteamOS, or even an Origin port for SteamOS

I guess I'll stick to the same old steam for windows.
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#2
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
Fourstaff said:
I am aware of the fact that the binaries doesn't match, but its still half of the coding done if you can reuse big chunks. Well, someone got to start somewhere if we truly want to make Linux a decent gaming platform.
My point is the API makes up a very tiny portion of the game, a portion that's supplied whoever makes its engine (CryEngine/Unreal/Dunia/Source/idTech). Porting a DirectX 11.2 title to OpenGL 4.4 won't be a monumental feat. So what's stopping publishers from porting their stuff to Linux is not development/testing costs, but politics (i.e. Microsoft). You don't want to anger someone who's already giving you two platforms.

For example, Bioshock Infinite is based on Unreal engine. People at Irrational (its developers) don't bother themselves with API stuff, they just build the game with whatever tools Unreal gives them.
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#3
Nordic
I find this really exciting. Most of the games I play are indie games, and many of which are on Linux already. I haven't moved over yet because I havn't seen the point. If valve can push this further...
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#4
Covert_Death
this is genius for the streaming gaming part. I will be using this hands down when released so i can play my more casual games on my TV with a remote instead of on my PC.... pure genius IMHO.
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#5
AsRock
TPU addict
Crap Daddy said:
Question is why would I turn my PC in a steambox?
The OS is going be dedicated to gamers unlike windows and the fact that MS still not woken up and made a OS for gamers is just pitiful. Maybe this will push MS in to the direction that gamers have wanted for so very long now.

Maybe there be a performance boost ?.. we will have to wait and see.

Only thing tht bothers me is security with SteamOS and please of course there is viruses for linux and thee more used the more targeted it will become.
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#6
Prima.Vera
Frick said:
No. Not until Windows 9 comes anyway (which likely will be like Windows 8 but more). So just no.

If you're talking about Windows in general, no again. Sales would likely drop, but it won't dissapear.
I was talking about me... :o:D:laugh:
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#7
RCoon
Gaming Moderator
Gavin said:
Originally Posted by RCoon
Steam can do what it likes with this Linux OS. Only indie games are going to be developed for this linux based OS. Every other big developer is going to make games primarily for consoles, then port to PC. A very select few will ever make it to Linux debian(steamOS).
This is just a statement. It's like shaving your butt cheeks in WalMart because Best Buy wouldnt let you do it there.
Only HTPC's will see this SteamOS, anyone with high end enthusiast hardware worth 2K or more isnt going to install SteamOS and limit themselves to what they can do with said hardware. People should accept this for what it is. A free platform for indie developers with low budgets. This isnt some kind of Windows killer because Gabe has beef with Windows 8.

Quote:
Watch for announcements in the coming weeks about all the AAA titles coming natively to SteamOS in 2014.

Straight from the Steam annoucement
I'd love to know what Steam's translation of a AAA title is. My best guess is Half Life, Portal, L4D, DoTa, TF2 and CS. I'm almost positive when they say there will be AAA native titles, they certainly DO NOT mean BF4 and GTA V.
Hell, in two years time, Steam will have a console, a tablet, a smartphone with SteamOS on it, a god damn phablet, and maybe even a smart watch, because this one time Gabe decided he didnt like something about each of those on offer.
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#9
The Quim Reaper
All these comments asking why you would turn your PC into a steam box are missing the point, that's not what it's for.

It's designed as a companion OS for a second PC connected to your big screen TV in the living room, AKA: a Steambox.

All the windows games that wont run under linux can be streamed off your windows based PC through your home network and played in the living room, basically a local Gaikai service or how PS Vita will stream PS4 games.

I suppose you could make it the default OS on your current windows pc if you really wanted too, but i don't see many people doing that.
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#10
RCoon
Gaming Moderator
The Quim Reaper said:
All these comments asking why you would turn your PC into a steam box are missing the point, that's not what it's for.

It's designed as a companion OS for a second PC connected to your big screen TV in the living room, AKA: a Steambox.

All the windows games that wont run under linux can be streamed off your windows based PC through your home network and played in the living room, basically a local Gaikai service or how PS Vita will stream PS4 games.

I suppose you could make it the default OS on your current windows pc if you really wanted too, but i don't see many people doing that.
Alas, someone gets the HTPC point of this.
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#11
Frick
Fishfaced Nincompoop
I'm actually kind of surprised by this. A SteamBox would make tons of sense, as they would have control over the hardware and that would make things much easier. Now there's still this driver BS and getting things to just work, which is the main problem with Linux.

So I'm sort of sceptical about this.
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#12
Fx
Crap Daddy said:
On the other hand people building a new PC just for entertainment purposes might consider installing steamos since it's free.
I am sure many will, but I will stick with OpenELEC (XBMC) for those needs.

Still, I welcome SteamOS. Maybe one day I will no longer need to buy a Windows license just to play major titles upon release with my gaming PC.

However, the one dilemma this potentially poses is that it is designed primarily for gaming, and not gaming/productivity, which would replace the need for Windows. Hopefully it will be possible to dual-boot SteamOS and whatever free flavor of OS you prefer so that it wouldn't just be a 'steambox'.
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#13
Crap Daddy
The Quim Reaper said:
All these comments asking why you would turn your PC into a steam box are missing the point, that's not what it's for.

It's designed as a companion OS for a second PC connected to your big screen TV in the living room, AKA: a Steambox.

All the windows games that wont run under linux can be streamed off your windows based PC through your home network and played in the living room, basically a local Gaikai service or how PS Vita will stream PS4 games.

I suppose you could make it the default OS on your current windows pc if you really wanted too, but i don't see many people doing that.
Why would I need a second PC? Let's say I have one, nice monitor, good keyboard and mouse, sound. I can play AAA titles at high settings including games that are not available on Steam, Battlefield, Crysis maybe Ubisoft will follow and make Uplay exclusive titles, I don't see Watch Dogs or AC IV on pre-order on Steam. I also play Starcraft a lot and other RTS. These are not games you want to play from a couch. For all other games and the living room couch let's say I have an Xbox One or PS4 or both. So why would I need another "box" to play PC games? Unless there some kind of magic that will enable us to play at high settings 1080p AAA games streamed to a TV with a $300 device I don't see the point right now. Maybe I'm wrong and we have to see the whole picture after tomorrow's announcement.
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#14
The Quim Reaper
Crap Daddy said:
Why would I need a second PC? Let's say I have one, nice monitor, good keyboard and mouse, sound. I can play AAA titles at high settings including games that are not available on Steam, Battlefield, Crysis maybe Ubisoft will follow and make Uplay exclusive titles, I don't see Watch Dogs or AC IV on pre-order on Steam. I also play Starcraft a lot and other RTS. These are not games you want to play from a couch. For all other games and the living room couch let's say I have an Xbox One or PS4 or both. So why would I need another "box" to play PC games? Unless there some kind of magic that will enable us to play at high settings 1080p AAA games streamed to a TV with a $300 device I don't see the point right now. Maybe I'm wrong and we have to see the whole picture after tomorrow's announcement.
Guess what...it's not for you, move along, nothing of interest here.

For someone who wants a HTPC type set up in their home, it's ideal, no $200 fee for a 2nd Windows OS for a start...assuming you like to do things legally of course.

If it does break through and becomes a big success, and this is Valve so don't bet against it, then games could be written exclusively for it, as well as all the other stuff that a Windows OS can do...if it gives another avenue to break Microsofts virtual monopoly on an ever, increasingly restrictive platform, then we should all welcome it, for whatever use people may want.
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#15
Solidstate89
That's assuming you only use your HTPC for gaming. I have an HTPC in my living room, but I would never install SteamOS on it as Linux doesn't have a native Plex Client - only the Plex Server. Even as an HTPC-OS, it's still too limited.
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#16
Octavean
phanbuey said:
The reason for that is many of the killer apps that people are using are windows based, and linux has traditionally been a pain in the ass to use.

However, now that windows 8 managed somehow to be even a bigger pain in the ass to use than even linux, and gaming (which in itself is a huge reason people spend $$ on pcs) is moving to linux, that allows for a viable competing OS for a gaming rig. And people who want the best bang for the buck would much rather use the money that they saved on a windows license for additional gear.

So no - it wont change the world, but it will definitely give linux the boost in popularity and quality that it needs to compete with Windows Pho er.. Windows 8.
Gaming is no small industry but the ratio of serious gamers with respect to the overall number of computer users is likely small. Of those gamers the number willing, interested and excited about gaming specifically on Linux is likely smaller even still. Those in that subset would have probably already dived into Linux gaming already if they had such an affinity for it.

I'm mildly interested in SteamOS. Ive tried a few Linux distributions but not seriously and never gained proficiency with it. I never had any intentions of moving to Linux. I remember DOS commands and a few Unix terminal commands but those don't always translate well to Linux syntax.

Personally I am fine with Windows 8 / 8.1 and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion but I have always wanted to see a company toss a lot of money and effort into a polished Linux experience that I would actually want to use,...... Still hasn't happened though and Im not holding my breath.

So I will try SteamOS but I have no intentions of making any serious moves. I am adventurous enough to play with it but that will probably be the end of it. Its too early to make a definitive call though,...

There are a lot of people who know nothing about Linux and are totally unwilling to learn or accept it in this instant gratification world we live in. Im curious how well SteamOS will win such people over. Windows 8 / 8.1 isn't as alien to the typical Windows user as Linux is and a cheap or free program can bring back traditional Windows functionality to Windows 8 /8.1.

Those who are already inclined to use Linux and are proficient with it are among the installed user base and are kind of preaching to the choir.

Until Microsoft releases a relatively full featured free OS I don't see them being in competition with Linux.
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#17
wolf
Performance Enthusiast
This is going to be amazing.

The rebirth of OpenGL for gaming PC's, and I for one think it couldn't have come sooner.

awesome, awesome, awesome, awesome, awesome, awesome.
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#18
Cheeseball
Speculation:

Since the Xbox One and PS4 are now x86-based, their launch dates are near and the fact that SteamOS was just announced, don't you think this new Linux-based OS would be perfect for the new consoles?

That and slap on the PSN partnership that Steam currently has with Sony.

This is just speculation, but this would be an awesome OtherOS for the PS4.
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#19
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
Multiple sources speak of a Battlefield 4 for Steam OS.
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#20
Supersoft
Go steam os!

I only wish there were some way to contribute. Just spread the news I guess, and try my very best to rally support for Steam. Because Steam just will not accept a dime for a fantastic OS tailored to gamers. Allow me to mention an OS that isn't so friendly.. MICROSOFT.

I am currently building a new rig not because my hardware is outdated (well it is somewhat) but primarily, I'm forced to change to 64 bit to play DCS Eagle Dynamics software. They simply dropped me and said I do not meet system requirements (64 bit OS, even though when I purchased originally, it was 32 bit compatible). So, to play the $200+ dollars worth of software, I marched out to purchased a new 64 bit OS. Only problem though, was that Bill Gates would not allow me to buy Windows 7 for $100 because you see, it's OEM only for sale at NCIX. Meaning, I could instal it, but once I did, I can't use it on my new motherboard when I upgrade my rig shortly. This essentially forced me to opt for an upgrade to my hardware prematurely (spend more $). So, now, to play my games, I'm looking at $800 minimum for a new build, which of course I would be comfortable putting Windows 7 on since I won't change my motherboard for several years. I do have another option though.. Bill Gates has rewarded those who are honest and loyal to Microsoft, with the opportunity to buy a NON OEM version of Windows 7 for a mere $150 more ($250) which I can then re-instal on a newer motherboard. And that folks is why you hear people talking s*** about Microsoft all the time, and that folks, is why people do NOT pay for "genuine" copies of Windows. Why the heck would they? But I won't allow Microsoft to turn me into a criminal over it. That's why we all must pull for Steam here, get the message out there to people that, all dynasties eventually fall. And it will come in the form of Steam OS. They will be the pioneers who started the revolution, the revolt on OS monopoly. I for one am willing to go through growing pains if needed to support such an effort. I already have nothing bad to say about Steam and have enjoyed gaming on Steam for many years, constantly watching for their sales, which are seriously impossible for anyone else to match (75% off newer titles etc.). So I am eagerly awaiting for my 64 bit support to come from Steam OS. My rig is primarily for gaming, however I'm still curious how Steam will handle other stuff. But I'm confident that they will produce an operating system that will stand up for gaming and be stable, probably right outa the gate (speed bumps are inevitable, even with Windows). So I for one am holding off on my new rig, watching hardware prices continue to fall right before Christmas, and when this is finally available, I will build my rig around this OS, rather than being forced to go with the only Windows OS that seems suitable for gaming (Windows 8 blows chunks), and the winner is?.. Windows 7 , released in 2009 if I'm not mistaken.. Bill wants $250 for an operating system from 2009, lol.. Man, even if Steam fell flat on their face with this, they'd still beat down Microsoft cause I'll buy a 64 bit gamers OS from Steam for $0.00 any day before ever considering Microsoft again. They were too greedy.

GO STEAM OS.. I'm with you all the way, and if all goes well, will be purchasing my games on Steam whenever possible. Well.. I already do. Now go ahead, somebody call me a Steam fanboy and lets flame this irrefutable logic before somebody else reads it and realizes the truth.

Consumers have been taking it hard and dry for a while now. Is it really any surprise that someone couldn't be "bought"? That someone finally decided to give the monopoly a run for their money. This has been a long time coming. I would pay $100 for a stable OS release from Steam. Steam cares about their customers everyone, and will charge zip. This is highly admirable.

Best of luck!
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#21
Supersoft
Crap Daddy said:
Well, in order to run steamos you need a machine. What would that be? Maybe next announcement will clear this, steamos + steambox. On the other hand people building a new PC just for entertainment purposes might consider installing steamos since it's free.
JACKPOT!
Yup that's me you're talking about since Microsoft wants $250 for a transferable (non OEM) copy of Windows 7 64 bit, which I was planning on installing on my current aging rig (cause DCS Eagle Dynamics dropped 32 bit support). I was then gonna re-instal it on my new rig I'm about to build, but Bill Gates needed $250 instead of $100 for a non OEM OS released back in 2009 (joke). MS is not playing nice and I'm watching this VERY carefully here.. I'll be biting on this, big chomp too..
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#22
AsphyxiA
First, Steam will probably use Debian as it's core just because so many other linux distros use it, it's rock solid, and it's a mature platform. I really cannot see Valve using Ubuntu as the SoS core since it's a bloated pig that cannot be lightweight with trimming down to the point where it breaks. Eventually I would imagine that they will make their own flavor of Linux ala Android but that's probably pretty far down the road.

Now as far as SteamOS making as a platform, well, I see two out comes here and it all comes down to three hurdles: marketing, convincing developers, and drivers... 1st, they will not be able to use the word of mouth marketing scheme they use right now. They are going to have to make a strong presence in the market right along side Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony because all of these companies are going to do whatever they can to make this platform look terrible ("Fly Steambox Fly"). They will also need to convince more big name developers to port over to Linux and the rendering software issue is peanuts compared to getting people to move out of their comfort zone. However, the biggest hurdle and really the make it or break it problem is drivers. Valve will need to somehow get nVidia and AMD to actually sit down and write proper drivers to efficiently run the hardware in Linux. Sure let's say you get Rockstar to develop and port the next GTA over to Linux. If the game runs like poop on a mid grade system that is priced competitively with the Xbox One but looks like a console game on a 1000K+ system, SteamOS will tank faster than the movie Gigli.

I want this to work soooooo soooo bad, but Valve is going to have to move mountains to make this work.
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#23
Kursah
I agree, but I also feel if anyone can pull it off it will be Steam. I am looking forward to seeing this thing happen, failure or not. And if it fails, then hopefully they'll go back to the drawing board. I like the thought of a gamer-centric PC OS. Being based on Linux sounds good to me as well. :toast:
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#24
AsphyxiA
Another idea that came to me last night after a few drinks and much discussion with friends, if SteamOS tanks, why not make a dedicated front end for Windows? I'd rather see Steam go in the direction of linux because developers need to get themselves away from DirectX as OpenGL is much more efficent. However, if SteamOS does tank, having a dedicated frontend like XBMC would be a great runner up. I understand that everyone fears that Microsoft is going to lock it down to Windows approved apps. However, you know that someone is going to "Jailbreak" it and that is where this can be really good. In fact, I know this can be good because my main computer is a mid high-end PC dedicated to media and gaming. I use XBMC and Windows Media Center (only for Netflix mind you) and have the Windows 7 shell bipassed. Steam runs in the background but all games are launched within the XBMC gui and works very similarly to Big Picture with the media features desired. However, it took a good 2 or 3 weeks to get everything setup properly and running without hiccups. Having a dedicated piece of software that disables everything about Windows 8 Valve hates while bringing an easy to install and use interface that's dedicated to games and other multimedia would be killer. Hell, they could even write a script to install a SteamOS boot animation over the Windows 8 one. That's basically what I ended up doing.

BTW, anyone who thinks this cannot compete with consoles is wrong and my current system is proof of this. One of my good buddies who I game with on a regular basis loves my media box and actually prefers it over his 360. Sure he can't play Halo Wars, but he can play CoD with an Xbox controller, it looks better, and he can switch over to keyboard and mouse when playing Quake 3. He ended up purchasing nearly the same hardware specs and case, it ended up replacing his 360 in the living room (it's still around but doesn't get turned on much :D). His wife loves it as she thinks it's easier to navigate.

The point I am trying to make here is if Valve gets their shit together, whether it is Linux or a Windows front-end replacement, this will be a complete game changer in the market. My feeling is that this will be quite successful even if SteamOS becomes a dedicated stream box ("play your Steam games from your personal cloud").
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