In the first announcement of an apparent three we can expect this week, Valve announced SteamOS – a Linux-based operating system built for your living room. Is this the first step towards a “Steam Box” or do the plans go deeper?

The announcement from Valve features four key elements that will be coming to SteamOS and the Steam client: in-home streaming, family sharing, family options and media. That’s right, you might be getting Netflix on your Steam client:

We’re working with many of the media services you know and love. Soon we will begin bringing them online, allowing you to access your favorite music and video with Steam and SteamOS.

Does this mean that Steam is going toe to toe with the likes of Microsoft and Sony? What kind of ‘box’ can we expect – or will this run on existing devices? So far, according to the announcement:

It will be available soon as a free stand-alone operating system for living room machines.

Hmm, ‘machines’. Does this mean that SteamOS will work on a variety of platforms and hardware? I’m honestly really curious about what we can expect from this. Valve explains that SteamOS will be available as a free download and as a freely licensable operating system. Does this mean I can convert my PS3 into a ‘Steam Box’ when I upgrade to next-gen? Or will there be proprietary hardware for exclusive use with SteamOS?

It’s funny to think that it wasn’t so many years ago that Steam was seen as some sort of evil empire. Now, they are beloved – my Steam library just keeps growing thanks to awesome sales and Humble Bundles. It would be fantastic to play those games in my living room. It seems that they have put a lot of thought and effort into this, and I honestly hope that they do a good job. The more competition in the living room, the better – although the market is starting to look a bit saturated considering Apple TV, Vita TV, and all the other players on the market… not to mention next-gen consoles. Just too bad for people like Geoff and Gavin – how many living room gadgets can a house actually have?

Last Updated: September 25, 2013

was reviewed on PC

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