SteamOS not quite ready to take on the Big 3
SteamOS isn't the "SteamBox", but it's definitely a move in the right direction for Valve. In case you haven't heard, Valve introduced their new linux-based SteamOS today catering to those who want to enjoy Steam in the comfort of their living room. With SteamOS, Valve has "achieved significant performance increases in graphics processing, and [they're] now targeting audio performance and reductions in input latency at the operating system level". If that wasn't enough to entice you, SteamOS will also allow you to stream all of your Windows and Mac games on your SteamOS machine. SteamOS improvements over your current OS remain to be seen as no footage has been released to the public.
As great as SteamOS sounds, I don't really see this gaining a lot of traction, at least not until we see a dedicated machine for it which could come as early as next Wednesday ( http://store.steampowered.c... ). For now, it sounds like consoles from the Big Three still reign the living room. The two biggest concerns I have about Steam being in the living room is, players and games.
Currently, players who play video games in the living room enjoy the comfort of using a controller and sitting in practically any position ( http://bit.ly/18RbDQi http://bit.ly/16ndtZi http://bit.ly/19vgByq http://bit.ly/Ule43U). Is SteamOS going to support the use of controllers? My guess is yes. However, I think those who enjoy Steam prefer to use a keyboard and mouse (just a guess). As a PC and console gamer myself, I am conflicted. When it comes to using a keyboard and mouse, I prefer to sit at the edge of my seat staring at the screen from around a foot or two away. When I use a controller I don't really have a sitting preference (if I do it depends on the game). This could be attributed to many things such as TV size, room size, seating, etc. but I think gaming with a controller has much more flexibility than using a keyboard and mouse. Which would you prefer if you had SteamOS?
Onto the games. With the PS4 being able to support a keyboard and mouse (though I suspect only a few games will take advantage of this), what incentives does a gamer have for putting SteamOS in their living room? Transferal of their Steam library I guess. But where's EA in their living room? Most people I know have both Steam and Origin on their PCs. Without EA support I can't see Valve taking over Sony and Microsoft in the living room. Remember the Dreamcast ( http://bit.ly/15o8Ptb)? I loved Dreamcast, but with other competitors with more 3rd party support, Sega could no longer compete. In order to compete in the same arena, you need the games to back it up. With PS4 and Xbox One focusing more on independent games, does SteamOS have a chance? Maybe.
The best way I see SteamOS being implemented into the living room is through the "SteamBox". I don't think users would want to move their PC to the living room (unless it's already there) or even partition their HDD for the OS. A separate machine like the "SteamBox" seems more ideal. Even then I think they'll need to hold onto their cash cows such as Half-Life, Portal, Team Fortress, etc. and keep them as exclusives (or timed-exclusives) for their system in order to really compete. If that's not enough move units, then they'd probably have to make a comeback by releasing those games on the Big Three (Two) and and perhaps ditching the "SteamBox" all together. But for now, I can see SteamOS only being used by those familiar with Steam and not taking away any customers from the Big Three. What do you guys think?