SteamOS – Liberation or Regime Change?

I know I’ve been a bit slow on the uptake of this, but I’ve been trying to figure out exactly what I think of this. On Monday, Valve, one of the biggest names in PC Gaming, made a surprisingly big and unsurprisingly divisive announcement.

 

SteamOS.

 

For those not in the know, SteamOS will be a free stand-alone operating system “for living room machines”. Basically, Valve have taken the Linux architecture to bring PC Gaming to your TV. No more sitting with your eyes six inches away from a monitor. A big feature being touted is a built in capacity for streaming content to your living room from your PC.
The platform will be open to modification from users – we can play the way we want, with the mods we want, the hardware and software we want, and get this – It’s got nothing to do with Microsoft. No more issues with games working on windows, no more abominable software like Games For Windows Live. This sounds brilliant! This is every PC Gamers dream!

 

Isn’t it?

On Wednesday, Valve came forward with another announcement. Next year, multiple “Steam Machines” will be released, essentially PC’s with SteamOS running natively. These machines will probably cost upwards of £300. So if I want to stream my content to my living room, I either have to pay for one of these new machines, or spend an equivalent amount on a new laptop or desktop to stream the content to or from.

I’m not entirely sure who Valve are targeting here. New console converts? Possibly. Existing PC gamers? Only if they have or can afford a second rig. This has thrown my opinion on the matter into some uncertainty. On one hand, this is the liberation from Microsoft that I, like many PC gamers have been crying out for for years. On the other, It seems Valve are developing a monopoly on PC Gaming. “Here’s a completely free, open source OS that anybody can use! Oh, by the way, next year we’re bringing out our own hardware that will run said OS really well! Yeah, that’ll be 400 quid please.”

Perhaps this is the tight Yorkshireman in me coming out. Only time will tell for sure, But I do have faith in Valve. Maybe too much faith.

 

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Hello internet. I’m starting this blog so that I have a place to voice my opinions (positive or negative) and write special features about games, gaming life and news, or just general stuff. Watch this space.