Valve unveils Linux-based living room operating system SteamOS

steamOSValve made the first of three scheduled announcements today, unveiling a free Steam operating system designed for living rooms and based on Linux.

SteamOS is a stand-alone operating system made for PCs and built around Steam’s current platform. It “combines the rock-solid architecture of Linux with a gaming experience built for the big screen,” as Valve describes 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,” Valve wrote.

Bellevue-based Valve also announced family sharing and in-home streaming features for SteamOS, which allows gamers to stream games from a Windows or Mac computer straight to a TV. In addition, Valve is working with “many of the media services,” to make music, TV and movies available on SteamOS.

valveValve co-founder Gabe Newell hinted at this week’s news during a keynote at last week’s LinuxCon, when he said that Linux was the “future of gaming,” due to the openness of the platform. Valve reiterated this view today with the reveal of SteamOS.

“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,” Valve wrote. “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.”

Valve has long talked about bringing PC gaming into the living room and this week’s announcements should set the groundwork for how the company plans to do so. Now that we’ve heard a bit about a Steam operating system, expect to hear something about Valve’s plans for “hardware opportunities we see for bringing Linux into the living room,” as Newell said last week. 

The next announcement will come Wednesday at 10 A.M. PST. 

  • Out For Justice

    Awesome news!!! Valve rocks!!!

    Love the news, “…allows gamers to stream games from a Windows or Mac computer straight to a TV”.

    Freeeeedoooooommmm!!!!!

  • Out For Justice

    New iterations of Half-Life and Teamfortress please.

  • Jason Farris

    I’m curious how this materializes; afterall, I’ve been using Steam on the living-room set and the HT projector for quite some time now. That said… would I dedicate a box to their OS? Maybe if it dual-booted. Otherwise, that’s a lot of expensive hardware dedicated to one ecosys.

    • guest1234

      I imagine dual-boot wouldn’t be a problem. However I think the main selling point here is SteamOS is an OPEN ecosystem (unlike PS4/XBox One which I see as primary competition).