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Valve, the makers of Half-Life, have unveiled a new operating system meant for gamers: SteamOS. According to Valve, it’s meant for “living room machines”, so this could be what the touted SteamBox runs on when it launches later this month. Of course, it’s going to be all about the digital distribution platform Steam.
SteamOS is built on Linux, so it won’t run all of the nearly 3000 games on the Steam store, but Steam for Linux has been around for a while and there are a few great titles already in there, like Portal and Half-Life. However, Valve announced that if you have a Windows or Mac system running in your house, then those can be streamed over WLAN to your SteamOS machine.
And since it’s a living room machine, you are probably going to share it with family members. So Steam has introduced a Family Sharing mode to play each other’s games while earning your own achievements. You will also have control over which games are shown to which user, so your dad’s games don’t show up in your library.
The idea behind SteamOS seems to be a play at openness. “With SteamOS, ‘openness’ means that the hardware industry can iterate in the living room at a much faster pace than they’ve been able to. Content creators can connect directly to their customers. Users can alter or replace any part of the software or hardware they want. Gamers are empowered to join in the creation of the games they love,” the company writes.
The SteamOS system will also include media viewing options as well as access to some popular media services, although Valve has not disclosed any names yet. The company has also not said when SteamOS will be available for download.
This was the first of three announcements scheduled for this week that Valve has been teasing for the past few days. Our guess is that the remaining announcements are the SteamBox — Valve’s first console — and the introduction of Half-Life 3.
What else do you think Valve is going to launch? And what do you think of SteamOS?