Steam Introduces Free-To-Download SteamOS, Streams Windows & Mac Games

Mihir Patkar 24-09-2013

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 8 Things You Didn't Know About Steam Steam started out as an annoying program that came with Half-Life 2, but it’s grown into the PC game store of choice for most PC gamers. Although some people aren’t fans and prefer alternative stores,... Read More .


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.

Steam Introduces Free-To-Download SteamOS, Streams Windows & Mac Games Valve Launches SteamOS Living Room

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?

Source: Steam | Image Credit: TheGreatJug

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  1. linux gamer
    November 14, 2013 at 12:59 am

    Windozzzzz is so lame it uses ntfs, it means "no true file system".

  2. Don
    October 20, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    Linux is great i know for a fact that when i go on some websites in windows 7 and try to play a video it lags and stutters then i boot into ubuntu or linux mint and go on these same sites and videos play perfectly no problem. and this site is great simple informative very easy to use thanks

  3. Jack Russ
    October 1, 2013 at 10:57 am

    Linux users never complain windows, but we just tired seeing no progress with that fat os.

    • Seth
      October 13, 2013 at 4:21 am

      Agreed. People constantly say, "Oh look at Linux..... No support, no software, and nobody will want to learn it! Honestly I think it is great and if I had more patience to port Solidworks and all my other games and engineering software I might still be running it. PEOPLE understand Linux is as simple or as hard as you make it.

      On a closing note to this silly rant the sentence
      "Windows 8 uses less resources than Windows 7."
      is just silliness when Linux or Unix is involved in the talk. You wanna talk speed? Do a quick Google search on super computers tell me where Windows 8 or Windows Server Stacks up there. I think it was at the top!

      heh heh

  4. tux234
    September 25, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    Those guys who dislike Windows, but are forced to use it for gaming and would prefer using their favourite Linux distro (*me me me me!*) will also profit from SteamOS even if they decided on not using it.
    The reasons for that are simple:
    a) Valve said they got many developers to port their games over to linux
    and even better:
    b) Valve convinced NVidia and AMD to pour some love into their proprietary Linux drivers. This means that even non-gamers will profit by SteamOS. Speaking of myself, my Ubuntu installation w/Gnome 3 is rendered unusable if I don't use the proprietary ones and if I do, things sometimes still are messed up. A lot. And I lack the time (and disk space) to install Fedora. So, looking forward a lot to SteamOS.
    Also, I'm soo gonna testdrive that OS. Love the idea!

    • Kaden
      September 25, 2013 at 5:52 pm

      This will be a failure. If so called power users can't wrap their heads around some changes in Windows 8 and keep whining about it, then how will they adapt to Linux? There is no point going to something with barely any support (Linux) and more complicated vs. OS with all support and user friendly (Windows).

    • Robert B
      September 27, 2013 at 10:47 pm

      Kaden, you are missing the point tux234 was only commenting how he has been locked in to using windozzzz for gaming, he never mentioned anything about Windozzzzzzz8! Just that up to now the if you were a gamer you had to have windows installed. He was commenting on the possible positive side effects for people like himself as well as me who would like to see a change in the landscape where the developers started to move away from always using Microsoft technologies and development tools. He mentions several positive things that have happened in the past few months as a result of Valve Corporation making this move to Linux. Perhaps with the clout that they have in the game marketing arena perhaps more and more developers will see the benefit of using OpenGL instead of Direct X. If most of the developers were using Open GL and Open AL instead of the current way of doing business of always using Direct X all the big AAA games that come along would be easily ported to all the other platforms. In my opinion it is poor business practice to continue to use Direct X. There are only two platforms that use it, Windows OS and the Xbox family. All the millions of games sold annually on the PSN for PS3, Vita and the soon to be released PS 4 do not use Direct X and if the truth be known are probably using Open Gl because you do not have to pay anyone a dime to use it. Also if you think Linux is more difficult to use than Windows especially Win 8 then you have not used any of the distros of the past 5 years or so. Yes there are some that you still need to be a geek to use but that is a very small percentage. I think that the moves that Valve have been making are not for short term gains but for the long haul. The more developers that begin to use the open tools and technologies the better for all gamers regardless of what your chosen platform is. Why is this? well if they want to make a game for Windows they can, how bout the Mac or Linux well if they are not using Direct X then it is easily ported because everyone including the new consoles are all using the same X86-64 hardware and all the video cards I have every owned have all supported Open Gl as well as Direct X. The statement that you make that with Linux there is no support and with Windows there is all kinds of support. Well it has been my experience since 1999 when I began using Linux there are extremely friendly and knowledgeable people who populate the many different user forums, and yes there are user forums for Windows as well but I think you are talking about official support from the various companies. Well in those same years yes on the Windows side you can call a support number but you better have your credit card in hand when you do. On Linux there are user forums for every distro I have ever used as well as many user forums for even the various different desktop UI's that are available as well as for the major pieces of software that you find on many distros and there has never been a problem I encountered or question I had about anything that was not quickly resolved. So far there has been a lot of speculation concerning the Steam OS, if it is a highly optimized version of Linux that it great for gaming but not for other tasks then I will just have a dual boot or multi boot set up. My primary OS for daily tasks will not change from what it is now. Gentoo Linux but will then include Steam OS for Linux gaming and until there is a sufficient number of good games being developed for Linux I will still have Windows 7 installed. I will just have the freedom to chose which OS I will boot based on the need at the time I turn on my PC. Even if there is a quantum shift in the gaming landscape that happens over the next few years where Microsoft is no longer dominate I will always be running Windows 7 because I have too many games already that would never be ported to anything, at the moment I have a game library on Steam of 166 games. It has been my experience over my life time that more completion is always better for the average joe, not necessarily for the corporations and I do not know anyone who gives a darn about them.

  5. Michael
    September 25, 2013 at 11:51 am

    SteamOS isnt to replace your Gaming PC -- from what I gather its to have a 'media' center PC in your lounge, that lets you stream from your Gaming Rig. Think Wireless Controller and 'hopefully' no lag streaming to the lounge. Instant Win.

  6. Mart K
    September 25, 2013 at 6:11 am

    I hoe this means, that more mainstream games start to work on Linux. Today the choices are quite slim for me.

  7. techdude
    September 25, 2013 at 1:22 am

    HL3 don't make me laugh. Although it is 2013.

  8. Zhong J
    September 24, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    It's an interesting idea to port Steam into an operating system but simultaneously odd, the OS sounds mainly for playing steam games and it's an whole operating system devoted for this purpose which is hugely unproductively. If Steam fans have bunch of time to kill, they can chow down on installing the OS and what they can benefit whether if they are marketing free/paid games.

    • Pablo
      September 24, 2013 at 11:07 pm

      Double Boot. Some people would use SteamOs for playing games and the horrible Windows 8 for any other thing, and I say horrible cause when talking about games Windows 8 is a nightmare

    • Rudolph Sokolov
      September 25, 2013 at 2:01 am

      Pablo, games on Windows 8 works perfectly fine. What kind of problems are you having? Check Steam hardware survey. Windows 8 is gaining (Windows 8 64 bit 14.01%, Change +0.76%). Windows 8 uses less resources than Windows 7. I personally haven't had any problems with any of my games. GeForce GTX 670 with i5-2400k unlocked.

    • Baka no Kami
      September 25, 2013 at 3:54 am

      Running an OS designed around the Steam client and games is no more unproductive than having an Xbox on PS3.

      SteamOS sounds like an attempt to bridge the PC and console markets. Want Steam on your TV? Buy a Steambox. What's that? You already spend $1000 building your gaming PC and don't want to buy anything more? Here's a free OS that'll turn your PC into a Steambox.

      Also don't forget that since SteamOS is going to be linux it'll probably use resources a little more efficiently than Windows. That means people building their own Steambox can probably get the same performance as a Windows PC with cheaper components.

  9. Eugene Belyakova
    September 24, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    Just run a HDMI cable from your PC to your TV.