Valve recently announced SteamOS, a Linux-based custom operating system that is set to optimize Steam games for the users’ living room.
Valve then touted that it has been in touch with media streaming services that users “know and love.” The implication here seems to be, at the very least, Netflix, which has dutifully worked towards perfecting its infrastructure, server locations, and algorithms to ensure a top-shelf customer experience.
But the announcement has left a lot of gamers scratching their heads. Firstly, what kind of hardware will be required to run the OS? Is this announcement, perhaps, leading up to more information on Valve’s Steambox? Can you run the OS on your own hardware? And will it require a partition to run? SteamOS is reveling in ambiguity, and has us thirsting for more information. I get the sense that all will be revealed very soon, though.
Whatever the deal is with SteamOS —which hopefully will bring some old systems out of obsolescence— Valve has made it quite clear that it’s now interested in competing for the prized takeover of your livingroom in its entirety; the same position that Microsoft and Sony have been aggressively vying for with features like DVR or the Vita TV.
If that becomes the case, I’m inclined to wonder if they’ll be able to compete. Steam already has a loyal, gigantic, and rapidly growing fanbase due to its reputable Steam Sales. Would that audience bring Steam into their living room, as Valve blurs the lines between PC and Console in the next generation? Would the allure be enough to entice people into choosing Steam Box, or a PC running Steam OS over the Xbox One or PS4? Only time will tell.