This year has been quite the time for video games. There’s two new traditional consoles, both Nvidia and AMD released crazy powerful GPU’s, and Valve is moving into the living room with their SteamOS and console-like Steam Machines. It’s really a great time to be a gamer. As I wipe a tear from eye, Valve recently announced its lucky 300 participants for their closed software beta for Steam Machines, the uber-powerful living room PC’s aimed at the casual gamer, both in price and accessibility.
They also released an image of their hardware development line:
More importantly than the device, the free, opensource SteamOS will be publically available for the first time this Friday. Although Valve has warned that unless you’re a Linux ninja, you should probably avoid the OS until 2014 when a more user-friendly version hits the streets. If you’re a tinkerer, or just curious, you can get SteamOS most likely here sometime on Friday.
SteamOS indicate a big pivot for Valve in terms of software development. Not just in the idea that Valve is predominantly a games developer and publisher, but in terms of powering it with Linux. Steam currently enjoys a comfortable 70-80% of the digital download market, which dominates PC game sales. The vast majority of PC game sales are Windows-based. They want to force a big change away from Windows as the dominate OS platform. I’m not sure how I feel about this, but considering how Microsoft has been neglecting its flagship product, seen in the tepid release and reaction to Windows 8, I’d welcome a new option for gaming. More importantly, an OS meant for gaming.
What I don’t want to see is a big, destructive split in the PC game developers on Linux versus Windows development, creating two camps of games that can’t play with each other nicely. Leave that to the Xbox and the PS4.