The Linux-based living room gaming announcements Valve co-founder Gabe Newell promised last week began today with the unveiling of SteamOS, a new Linux-based operating system focused on living room gaming.
“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 on a page announcing the upcoming OS. “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.”
Why a new OS? Valve says that with SteamOS, the company has “achieved significant performance increases in graphics processing, and we’re now targeting audio performance and reductions in input latency at the operating system level.” The Linux-based platform will also be freely licensable to hardware manufacturers, allowing a wide number of “Steam Box” living room PCs to germinate. Newell has previously called Windows 8 a “catastrophe” for the gaming market, so it’s not at all surprising that his company decided to move forward with a more open option under its direct control.