Valve wants to bring PC gaming into the living room with its open source, Linux-based SteamOS beta, which is currently available for beta testers now.
SteamOS is designed to be used in the living room, with features including in-home streaming, playing movies, TV and music, along with sharing Steam games with family members. Valve wants to see Steam help convert PC gaming directly into the living room, and SteamOS is should be a logical first step towards that overall goal.
SteamOS is based on the Debian flavor of Linux designed to run Steam games — and isn’t compatible with Microsoft Windows games or applications – but an update is expected sometime in 2014. Valve heavily customized Debian 7.1 for it to be used specifically in the living room, running the Gnome desktop. Valve wants users to enjoy SteamOS as a gaming resource, but users are able to download and install any type of Linux-supported app.
As far as Linux versions go, Debian tends to have a steeper learning curve than something like Ubuntu, Mandriva, Mint Linux. SteamOS
Here are the system requirements to run SteamOS:
- Intel or AMD 64-bit CPU
- 4GB RAM
- 500GB+ storage space
- NVIDIA graphics card (AMD and Intel support coming in future release)
- UEFI boot support
- USB port for installation
- One Valve installation method requires 1TB of free storage space available
Valve made SteamOS available publicly, but recommends casual users wait for future releases in 2014, as this initial download is more geared towards savvy Linux users and more experienced tech enthusiasts. For anyone curious, the SteamOS download can be found here, while an alternate download site is available here.
As Valve prepared for the launch of its SteamOS, the company also joined the Linux Foundation, a non-profit group focused on spreading knowledge related to open source content. It showed strong support to commit towards Linux video game development, which is something that many Linux users have called for over the past few years.
There is great potential for the use of SteamOS in the future, but only after the Linux savvy users tear it apart and give Valve some feedback.