Valve has taken the first steps towards making their long-rumored “SteamBox” a reality with today’s announcement of SteamOS. SteamOS will be a freely-available, Linux-based operating system designed for living room PCs.
SteamOS will add a variety of new features to the Steam platform, including game sharing across accounts, parental conrtols, in-home streaming, and a place to purchase movies, TV shows, and music. All of these feature will available soon on the desktop version of Steam as well.
Valve is also working with “AAA publishers” to make their games natively playable in SteamOS in 2014. According to the company, “hundreds” of games already support SteamOS.
Hit the jump for a look at the full feature set of SteamOS and keep an eye on the official SteamOS page for more details about the operating system’s impending release.
Living Room & Steam
Finally, you don’t have to give up your favorite games, your online friends, and all the Steam features you love just to play on the big screen. SteamOS, running on any living room machine, will provide access to the best games and user-generated content available.
In SteamOS, we have achieved significant performance increases in graphics processing, and we’re now targeting audio performance and reductions in input latency at the operating system level. Game developers are already taking advantage of these gains as they target SteamOS for their new releases.
Steam is not a one-way content broadcast channel, it’s a collaborative many-to-many entertainment platform, in which each participant is a multiplier of the experience for everyone else. 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. SteamOS will continue to evolve, but will remain an environment designed to foster these kinds of innovation.
Four new Steam features focused on the living room.
You can play all your Windows and Mac games on your SteamOS machine, too. Just turn on your existing computer and run Steam as you always have – then your SteamOS machine can stream those games over your home network straight to your TV!
Music, TV, Movies
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.
In the past, sharing Steam games with your family members was hard. Now you can share the games you love with the people you love. Family Sharing allows you to take turns playing one another’s games while earning your own Steam achievements and saving your individual game progress to the Steam cloud.
The living-room is family territory. That’s great, but you don’t want to see your parents’ games in your library. Soon, families will have more control over what titles get seen by whom, and more features to allow everyone in the house to get the most out of their Steam libraries.