After a year of rumors surrounding a potential Steam-based console, Valve officially unveiled SteamOS, a free Linux-based operating system built to stream games to TVs.
The operating system will work with users' existing Steam accounts, and gamers will be able to stream their PC or Mac games to their television via any SteamOS-supported device. SteamOS will support "living room machines," though Valve did not mention specific products such as Chromecast or Roku. SteamOS is meant to be an open-source operating system, and Valve says the direct Steam integration will allow for a new level of graphics performance. Valve is working to bring music and video services to SteamOS for additional entertainment, and the operating system will allow family members to share games across separate accounts with parental control options.
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Today's SteamOS announcement is just the first of three that Valve has planned for the week. According to The Verge, company co-founder Gabe Newell previously teased at plans to reveal "hardware opportunities" at last week's LinuxCon 2013, calling Linux "the future of gaming." Considering Valve didn't mention SteamOS compatibility with other TV-based devices, an official announcement regarding the long-rumored Steam Box console could be just days away.
With devices such as Miracast, Chromecast, and Roku, there's no shortage of ways to consume multimedia right on your television. However, the arrival of Steam on television could change the way people play games in the living room, and could pose a threat to the upcoming Xbox One and Playstation 4 consoles.