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Old 09-23-2013, 02:45 PM   #1 (permalink)
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SteamOS/Steambox

I know we already have a Steam thread, but I figured that this was a unique enough matter to separate it.



SteamOS

It's like a hyrbrid between Steam and Linux. It is intended for a PC attached to a TV, (via HDMI) and will probably tie in to the "Steambox" but we have yet to have further details on that. The idea is basically a home console but with the pure Aryan blood of the PC gaming master race.

You can stream any games from a different computer to the box with supposedly very little lag. You'll obviously also be able to play any games on your Steam account via the actual machine that uses SteamOS, though this may be limited to games that are compatible with Linux. Note that this will probably dwarf your library, yet Steam also has plans to make more games Linux-friendly within the next year.

It seems like Steam will basically be competing with the next generation of consoles. Though the jury's still out, I expect it to be something I would choose over the Xbox One or Playstation 4.

What are your thoughts? Does this thing appeal to you at all? Is this going to be a big thing? Can an all-digital platform really sustain? Will Steam's attempt to deviate from Microsoft dependency actually work?

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Old 09-23-2013, 03:04 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: SteamOS/Steambox

I don't think there are enough details on either right now to make a really clear judgement.

I do think sure certain that if the Steambox is not made of upgradeable parts, that most PC elite users will not change to it.

It faces an uphill battle on getting Linux to be popular, especially if it makes its own flavor of it (I think the high number of different Linux distributions is a detriment to the core Linux brand). Still, the effort to break away from Windows dependence is a good thing, as Microsoft is clearly abandoning the open platform idea and trying to consolidate control over program usage and distribution in a closed app garden (luckily these efforts are failing for now).
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Old 09-23-2013, 04:06 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: SteamOS/Steambox

Yeah I really haven't heard anything about it so I can't really judge it one way or another.
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Old 09-23-2013, 07:35 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: SteamOS/Steambox

Oh wow, I didn't even see the link to the official site, missing all the data points. I'll try again.
---------------------------------------------------------
No details on an official Steambox as you said so I'll leave off any discussion of that. My previous point about upgrading parts still stands though.

To SteamOS...

WOW. Valve sounds like they have some serious ambition invested into this effort. Gabe must be really really pissed off at Microsoft. I think the strategy here is valid, as both primary PC OS providers (Apple/MS) are not interested at all in keeping an open platform on their operating systems moving forward.

In Microsoft's case they tried to kill off normal installers with Windows 8 by forcing all apps to be downloadable -only- from the Windows Store. This strategy has failed spectacularly, as there is nothing of value on the Windows Store, and the developers of apps for the other ecosystems (IOS/Android) have by and large not ported their programs to it. Despite this Microsoft has continued to double down on that effort, even going so far as to buy ALL of the ad space on the shop and ad supported programs from themselves earlier this year. Many developers were pissed when that effort ended, as nobody else is buying ad space from Microsoft, so ad-supported programs are not getting any revenue. Other things are forcing you to the new start screen every time you boot Windows 8 and the sidelining of the old desktop idea. These aren't complaints from me but it is a clear indication of their future strategy. Windows 8.1 apparently eases up on a lot of this but it is clearly a reactionary move to dismal sales. Despite this I do think they will pursue their locked ecosystem model in the future, their Windows Phone and Xbox strategies all point to this. Even more subtle things like the forcing of using signed drivers (this was really annoying in my previous job).

Microsoft's tactics of control don't really mesh with Valve, who want to offer Steam for free, and not have it walled off on a shop where Microsoft takes revenue per download.

Sorry if that seems like a long derail, but I think it explains why Valve is going the route it has chosen.


All that said, SteamOS seems to be focused on games, and only games. They haven't stated whether or not it will run general applications. There is a section for general software within the Steam store, but thus far I have never ever heard that used as a justification to get Steam, or ever promoted from Valve themselves. And with the Steam key DRM on those, it is identical to other closed app ecosystems anyways. Claiming a Linux distro and then walling it off would seem odd to me.

Another thing is that big picture mode and using the TV. Valve has been really focused on that in the last year. They clearly see the appeal of a machine hooked up to the TV. That quickly runs into the problem of competition with EVERY OTHER device trying to claim that space. They promoted the idea of streaming and media playing....something that EVERYTHING ELSE (we just had Vita TV announced last week) is doing as well. Granted, the Steam brand alone would easily push it to the forefront, but again there are no announced plans for a official Valve Steambox....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valve
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.
I really want to see the results of this, since the lowest system requirements would be a must for anything hooked up to the TV. Get it low enough and you could run it on existing home theater PCs people have already set up. Although again, if you're selling games, you'd want the user to provide the highest performing hardware possible.


I may have gone off on tangents here, sorry but this was really thought provoking news. I'm really interested to see how things develop, since this is easily the biggest announcement in operating systems in a while.

---------- Post added at 06:35 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:19 PM ----------

Valve has a countdown going on with a funny link name.

http://store.steampowered.com/livingroom/yesvalveistrollingeveryone/
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