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SteamOS is an OS (and Many Other Helpful Bits of Easily Accessed Info)

How can people possibly get this confused? It is in the name. Steam*OS*. But apparently some people still think that it's a streaming service because they somehow skipped down the official Steam article on the subject to selectively read a portion about its streaming abilities. Fear not, I'm here to provide some clarity.

First of all, SteamOS is an operating system. I know, it sounds more like a breakfast cereal than an operating system going by the name, but I assure you that it is an operating system.

"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.
SteamOS combines the rock-solid architecture of Linux with a gaming experience built for the big screen"

You see, it is an operating system built around steam with a Linux architecture. An operating system operates a system. Operating systems don't require operating systems to run them, thus it is foolish to think that another OS is require to run SteamOS. Yet lots of people think this is the case, which brings me to point two...

SteamOS can stream games from PC and MAC. But wait, wait! Don't let me lose you now! It plays games without a PC or MAC, too. It can play Linux games on its own AND stream games from PC/MAC.

"You can play all your Windows and Mac games on your SteamOS machine, too"

"Also" is a synonym for "Too" It means that both the first thing said and the thing just said both apply. Thus, the first thing, playing Linux games, and the second, streaming PC/MAC games, both are true!

Please take a 5 minute break from reading to process that difficult information before moving on.

Understand now that SteamOS is an OS that plays games both natively and through streaming? Good! Let's move on!

"But that has no advantages whatsoever!" you say, still not having read the article on, probably still under the impression that SteamOS is only a streaming service. But it indeed has some interesting advantages. For one, that streaming capability that is a feature of SteamOS and not its only function. Instead of lugging your desktop around if you want to play games in another room, you can play them on the device running SteamOS.

With a less obtrusive OS, you can potentially get better performance out of your game than Windows running on the same hardware. And the fact that gamers are getting an OS that could potentially be a good alternative to being forced to play on Windows is great. Especially since it's free.

Sure, some people will still need Windows for specific software, but shockingly, that doesn't apply to everyone just because it applies to yourself. Possibly not even the majority, since most people use computers primarily for email and web browsing and even their non-windows phones do that these days.

You would think that everyone would understand these simple concepts, since it is all laid out on Steam's website in one easy to read page: http://store.steampowered.c...
But I'm not here to judge; just inform you, you illiterate little...!! *ahem*

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AKR1519d ago

I just hope Valve knows what they're trying to shuffle their way into.

Steam is an amazing service as it is. But I wonder how many people would be inclined to actually use a full-on OS that's dedicated entirely to Steam-powered gaming. It's like a game-console PC, almost...A hybrid, perhaps?

Nonetheless - I'm really interested to see how this is going to play out.

Finalfantasykid1519d ago

I imagine it will be more for a console experience and for OEMs to more easily make their own 'SteamBoxes'.

Valve still has two more announcements in the coming days, I would not be surprised if the next one is their own official SteamBox.

darthv721519d ago

My take on the steamOS is strictly for the gaming aspect of a livingroom PC. It is essentially linux in a new name and as such it wont be as geared towards the productivity side of the PC market like windows is.

we can assume that you should be able to have both OS's on your Pc and switch back and forth depending on what you are doing. that is, if you dont have a dedicated gaming PC.

steve30x1519d ago

I am very interested in a gaming OS once it uses less resources for the OS than windows does and helps games run better.

RBlue_Desire1519d ago

Agreed. And there could be a good perfomance difference and I hope more developers support OpenGL.

s45gr321518d ago

Aaaah the joys of dual booting

ABizzel11519d ago


I think they're fine by releasing an OS. I think it would be a bad idea to release hardware unless it's something like the PS Vita TV or maybe a bit more juice for a $199 price, so you can stream all your PC games to your TV. I think releasing hardware that competes with the PS4 and XB1 is a losing battle at this point.

We'll see Wed. and Fri.

s45gr321518d ago

Well that is not a bad idea, and I agree a gaming console that directly competes with xbox one/PS4 is a losing battle.

zeal0us1519d ago

I'll admit I was one of those people who thought the only thing this OS could do was stream games. My fault for just taking Engadget's word for it(their original article only mention streaming games) and then commenting rather than going to the Steam site itself in the first place. A mistake I will not make a second time.

If big name publishers, developers, AMD and Nvidia provide support, gaming on Linux could become a viable option.

s45gr321518d ago

Why Steam while not perfect has been a service for gamers through and through with kickass deals, free online gaming, mods one click away (no more search and search or test and test), green light oh I could go on

LoveOfTheGame1519d ago

It really is kind of the fault of Valve for the little confusion. I first thought it was a streaming service/device thingy, to be technical, on the first read through.

I think the part that is throwing people off is at first "OS" makes sense what it is. But then they go on to talk about it only by mentioning living room machine, and the talk about streaming games. This gives people the impression it would just stream to tv or have a medium running steamOS specifically for that purpose.

I just reread the site and the only mention they had for SteamOS was with living room machine. So no mention of PC their unless I missed it. Main point Valve needs to be more clear on this, but that will probably be helped by the upcoming announcements. When are the next two again?

Blacklash931519d ago (Edited 1519d ago )

Next announcements will be on Wednesdays and Friday respectively. I was confused on what a "living room machine" was supposed to be. Nowhere on the page is it explained what exactly that is. But I guess it seems to be a living room PC, a concept many may not be familiar with.

Anyone who wouldn't know what OS means would be very confused. I'm sure what most people were looking for was an answer to "Is this Valve's new console or not?" due to the aniticipation of the Steambox's possible announcement.

SilentNegotiator, I highly doubt many learning from this blog appretiate being condescended to here. Inform, don't scorn. Some of those terms would throw an average consumer off, especially non-PC gamers expecting a new console announcement soon. If Valve gave examples of what a "living room machine" and OS are, as well as how they were supposed to interact with the mention of both native playing and streaming, there would be a lot less confusion surrounding this.

SilentNegotiator1519d ago

I expect more out of the N4G community.

At the least, so many people should not have thought that it wasn't an OS. The TITLE says "...a new operating system"

SilentNegotiator1519d ago

The "living room machine" thing might be a bit confusing, but it specifically says at the end that it's available for download soon.

And then there's this:
"graphics processing, and we’re now targeting audio performance and reductions in input latency at the operating system level"

None of those things would happen with mere streaming.

lex-10201517d ago (Edited 1517d ago )

I agree with backlash. I get what an os is and it's cool that valve is making a dedicated gaming one, if I can be so bold as to call it that, but what valve has said time and time again is that pcs and living rooms don't mix well. That's the whole reason they started the steam box project. So what is a living room machine? And on the subject of streaming to a TV how? How will this work? Will I have to buy a smart TV to use it, or will there be a little doggle like cromecast? Valve is mostly to blame for the confusion. They came out and said (paraphrasing) "We're making an os. It'll be Linux. It can stream. It'll be in your living room. It's great." and than didn't go into any sort of explanation or further detail.

Edit:and as soon as I post that there's a new article on n4g about it..

LoveOfTheGame1519d ago

Thanks for the info, and I didn't even think of the non PC community being confused by it.

The living room machine and mention of TV are the main points of confusion, I see OS and I think immediately computer operating system. So these two things being constantly crossed with little hard facts, gives way to mass speculation from the community.

Hell, I just read it again, and each time I do I keep thinking computer OS to begin with, but then move to the thought of only for TV/console device which would disappoint many PC gamers hoping for a new PC OS.

And with what Blacklash said, don't put all the blame on the community when valve is purposefully being confusing, as to aid in their reveal and not give anything away.

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