GAMES PUBLISHER Valve has released its long awaited Steam operating system (OS).
The Steam OS has been designed to appeal to those who want to hook up their living room TVs to a PC games playing experience.
Based on Linux, Steam OS is free to download and free to license for game developers and manufacturers, which has led to the announcement of a number of dedicated Steam OS machines including the Jetpack, which we profiled recently.
Valve has an obvious advantage for launching a new games oriented OS, as the existing Steam ecosystem already has thousands of games available that are cross-platform, meaning that anyone who wants to try it will be starting with a full fledged games library from day one.
Valve has also confirmed that it is working with media providers to offer multimedia content. It has not announced any names yet but we expect to see music and movie streaming, as well as catch-up TV in the future.
Steam OS features include full parental control, the ability to stream Steam games from a Windows machine, and for the first time, the ability to play all the games in a household, no matter whose account they belong to, but with individual user profiles to earn achievements.
In addition to the Steam OS release, 300 beta testers will take delivery of prototypes of the Valve's Steam Machine today, a powerful and upgradable games machine set for release next year.
Valve admits that its prototype is still a bit rough and recommends that a knowledge of Linux is helpful to install it at this stage, with more convenience and polish to be added in the new year. µ