Today Valve announced SteamOS, an entire operating system built around the popular gaming platform Steam, and with Linux at its foundation. The news comes on the first day of three the company has scheduled major announcements for. Valve, developer of such games such as the highly decorated "Left 4 Dead 2" and "Portal 2" series, are also the force behind computer gaming's best friend. Steam isn't just a way to buy and play video games, it's a community in and of itself. The company has been searching for a way to extend that community to living room sets and compete with the big three: Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony in their own arena. "In SteamOS, we have achieved significant performance increases in graphics processing, and we're now targeting audio performance and reductions in input latency at the operating system level," says Valve.
"Steam is not a one-way content broadcast channel, it's a collaborative many-to-many entertainment platform, in which each participant is a multiplier of the experience for everyone else."
Steps were taken with Big Picture Mode which allows players to use their TV to access their games, so long as it's connected to a computer running Steam. While it isn't quite the "Steam Box" rumored to be in development for the past year, SteamOS takes the concept bounds further as a standalone download for internet-connected machines. Without giving a specific release date, Valve claims gamers will be able to get their thumbs on SteamOS "soon" and for absolutely no cost. It's reported that hundreds of games are already running natively on SteamOS, with plenty of AAA titles to be announced in the coming weeks and available as soon as 2014. Living room machines running SteamOS will be able to play both Windows and Mac games. Valve is also striking deals to bring music and video playability to the service.
Remember, there are still two huge announcements to be had in the coming days. The second of which is scheduled to go live tomorrow at 1:00PM EDT. Perhaps gamers will get their Steam Box after all.
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