Valve Introduces Steam OS

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Valve’s big announcement that has been teased over the past week was finally revealed today. Valve will be expanding its digital distribution service Steam with Steam OS.

The game developer plans on expanding its Steam service in to the living room by releasing, for free, a Linux based OS called Steam OS. It will feature family controls, music and video streaming, as well as the ability to stream your entire Steam library to any PC in your home.

This announcement was made public today after Co-Founder and Director, Gabe Newell, hinted toward it at LinuxCon one week ago.

The big question here is why is this important?

Newell said at LinuxCon that the future of gaming will be on Linux, meaning simply for gaming to evolve and move forward it has to be done on an open platform.

This is the opposite approach that Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo have taken. It has become easier to self-publish on those platforms but the PC still remains as the most open platform available.

The implications, especially for indie game developers, are huge. Self-publishing is something that Valve was the first company to truly openly support through its Greenlight service. This support will continue, but could possibly expand to reach a wider audience.

This comes after the disclosure of the “Steam Box” that was unveiled at CES in January. After the initial reveal, very little has been disclosed about it until now.

The Steam OS, like everything else on Linux, will be free to download and install. The exact date was not disclosed but Valve said it will be available soon.

Valve is definitely not your average game company. They have built a reputation of being very pro-consumer over the years and have continually expanded their service. No doubt many loyal Valve supporters will flock to the new platform.

You can watch Gabe Newell’s full speech at LinuxCon here.

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