Last week, Steam posted a new page on their site, saying that they have a big announcement on the tail of their successful "Big Picture" feature for their Steam client. The all new page, which says: "Last year, we shipped a software feature called Big Picture, a user-interface tailored for televisions and gamepads. This year we’ve been working on even more ways to connect the dots for customers who want Steam in the living-room. Soon, we’ll be adding you to our design process, so that you can help us shape the future of Steam." Could this be the Steam Box announcement we've been waiting for? Here are the details for day one of three announcements!
At 11:00 AM PST, after a long multi-day countdown on the link above, we got the announcement, part one of three. After the page updated, we were taken to a link on the site, showing an all new Operating System, named SteamOS. Designed for TV's and the Living Room, this Operating System will be available...for free! Here's what Valve says about it:
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. SteamOS combines the rock-solid architecture of Linux with a gaming experience built for the big screen. It will be available soon as a free stand-alone operating system for living room machines.
The features that come with the all new operating system are nothing less than we would expect from Valve, with the ability to take your current Steam games, friends, and everything related to your profile...and move it to the living room! SteamOS is supposed to be fast, with significant performance increases in graphics processing. According to Valve, game developers are already taking advantage for their new releases!
Valve is ALWAYS looking to innovate, and the SteamOS will be no less innovative from what they have done before. They don't want Steam or the SteamOS to be a one-way broadcast channel. They want it to be "open", allowing for people to do what they want. In Valve's words:
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.
They are adding four all new features to both Steam and SteamOS that are focused on the living room. With in-home streaming, you can play all your Windows and Mac games on a SteamOS machine as well! All you have to do is have your computer turned on to stream over your network! Music, TV, and Movies are even being added! They plan to bring many of our favorite media services to both Steam and Steam OS. With Family Sharing, you can share your games with family members! Finally, the family features that you have come to know from your consoles are also being added to Steam. Now you can control who sees what on Steam in your family, allowing everything to get the most out of Steam!
SteamOS is the first step in a great direction for Steam. Including all of your favorite features such as the full Steam library, your friends, the Steam Workshop, cross-platform cloud, and all the other incredible steam features, SteamOS is going to allow you to play when you want...where you want. With two more announcements coming, stay tuned for more information! Could we be leading to the Steam Box?