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Guest Post: The Steam Ecosystem Vying for Gaming Dominance?

With the announcement by Valve, that a Steam ecosystem will be available on a Steam Box that will play not only your preexisting Windows and Mac games but the full Library of games available on Steam as well, Valve has revealed SteamOS, its own operating system based on Linux, designed for living room gaming PCs and the living is the battle ground for your entertainment space that the XBOX ONE and PS4 are also fighting for this season.

2014 marks the first steps toward what ecosystem will dominate that coveted space in front of your flat screen. Valve’s Steam Box, its vision for an open video game console. It combines Steam’s preeminent video game digital distribution platform with a user interface designed for TVs, the BIG PICTURE all on top of the Linux platform. It will also be free which I think is it’s biggest selling point for gamers that have had enough of Microsoft’s Windows OS 8 problems and the limited catalog of games available for the Mac. “It will be available soon as a free stand-alone operating system for living room machines,” according to the company. Valve has already announced that major game developers are already on board with Linux, and will be building triple-A game titles that will run natively on SteamOS in 2014 that puts them squarely in competition with XBOX ONE and PS4 with none of the backwards compatibility issues that you have with every next generation console. SteamOS boxes will also have a workaround for the huge existing library of Windows games: in-home streaming.

Not unlike the Nvidia Shield, it will include a method for wirelessly streaming games from your existing gaming computer that you already have STEAM on to your TV, which Valve says will also come to the regular Steam client at some point in the near future. Also like the XBOX ONE and the PS4 coming to both Steam and SteamOS: streaming video and music services. “We’re working with many of the media services you know and love,” Valve writes. That means never having to leave the Steam ecosystem to watch YouTube or do your social networking and you can play the background music of your choice while playing your favorite games.


So why would Valve create a brand new operating system for gaming? “As we’ve been working on bringing Steam to the living room, we’ve come to the conclusion that the environment best suited to delivering value to customers is an operating system built around Steam itself,” the company’s announcement reads. Valve says that by working at the operating system level, they’ve managed to improve graphics performance, and can also improve audio and reduce controller latency. Valve co-founder Gabe Newell famously called Windows 8 a “catastrophe” and has publicly blamed Microsoft’s operating system for tanking PC sales. Also with Windows 8 app store it puts them direct competition for Steam’s video game revenue model, and lets Microsoft own the shopping experience. Newell said that Valve was planning to create three tiers of the Steam Box, “good,” “better,” and “best,” with “good” likely a $99 box that would stream games from other more powerful computers that most gamers already have so a $99 Steam box is still cheaper then the next Windows OS or a upgrade to Windows 8 for a PC gamer or even the Mac OS, and “better” being a $300 box that Valve would both build itself and allow partners to build so long as they adhered to a certain hardware spec. Valve has all the ready-made hardware you can buy to get started with SteamOS. At CES, the company said it already had 15-20 hardware partners lined up.

Some of the most exciting things the Steam OS coming out at this time is a apple to apples comparison to the new console gaming systems and the way it will reinvent the way we look at and talk about gaming as we know it today.

By Lee Gaddies
Guest, Technology Today 12/3/13


November 25, 2013 Posted by | Audience Communication | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment