It’s going to be a big week for Valve, video games and Linux. The company announced last Friday that there would be three announcements this week, promising to change the way people play games. While rumours of a Steam console (nicknamed Steam Box or GabeCube) had been pervasive for the past few months, the years-long rumours of a Steam OS had begun to quieten down.
Last night, the first announcement was made, with Valve unveiling the SteamOS. While there aren’t any screenshots or really concrete details yet, we know it will be a Linux-based operating system or distro that runs the Steam client in Big Picture Mode. This is the display mode for TVs, targeting the console market. Right now, Valve are saying it will be distributed for free like any Linux distro, and it will also apparently be fairly open so that hardware suppliers can iterate quickly with it.
One of the big features announced for SteamOS is the ability to stream games via Steam clients on a Windows PC or Mac. There aren’t many details on whether or not it will be supported on a game-by-game basis, or whether or not it will just play the game and stream video to the console.
There’s also promise of video and music apps for it down the line, something even the current generation of home games consoles have. While these might not be enough to usurp XBMC or other HTPC software as a complete media solution, with its supposed openness, who knows how much extra functionality you’ll be able to add.
For now it’s labelled as coming soon, which in Valve time can mean just about anything. The next announcement will be made tomorrow, with some people speculating that the symbols being used for the announcements hinting at the unveiling of the Steam console.
What do you guys think of the announcement so far?