The first of the three announcements was revealed to be ‘SteamOS’ which attempts to bring Steam furthermore into the Living-room environment.
A quote from the SteamOS preview page reads:
“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.
It will be available soon as a free stand-alone operating system for living room machines.”
The operating system, which is based on Linux, brings all of Steam’s current features to the big screen, such as Community, Workshop and Cloud. Valve claims that they are working hard to achieve significant performance increases in graphical rendering as well as sound performance and input latency, which game developers can take advantage of.
The main focus, however, is to extend Steam to the living room, in an attempt to further assemble Steam as an open and “collaborative many-to-many entertainment platform”.
Some of the key features include ‘In-home Streaming’ for PC and Mac, Music, TV & Movie Content delivery as well as improved Family Options. There is no word on what Media services will be available as of yet, however Valve says they have been ‘working with many of the media services you know and love’ so we can hope that there maybe integration with streaming services such YouTube, Netflix and Hulu.
SteamOS will be completely free for both users and manufacturers to install.
No release date has been set as of yet.
The second announcement Valve made was ‘SteamMachines’.
The longtime rumours about Valve’s so called ‘Steambox’ were officially confirmed on the unveiling on Wednesday. Described as “A powerful new category of living-room hardware is on the horizon”, Steam Machines, which runs SteamOS, attempts to integrate PC gaming with the living room environment.
The hardware will apparently take on multiple form-factors to enable users to decide between features which no doubt allow the device to be sold at different prices.
There hasn’t been any officially information regarding specifications or images of the device as of yet, however the FAQ rundown on the announcement page gives us a general idea of what to expect.
Valve have annouced that Steam Machines will be going into a beta, which anyone can sign up to by completing an ‘Eligibility Quest’ on Steam.
The third and final announcement of the week was ‘Steam Controllers’ – Valve’s take on user input.
The controller claims that it has compatibility for all games on Steam as it apparently can ‘fool’ older game engines into thinking that it is a being played with a traditional keyboard and mouse setup.
The controller’s design features two trackpads which unlike many traditional controllers, feature a touch based input that tracks the users thumbs rather than requiring the user to move physical analogue sticks.
The trackpads also feature ‘haptic capabilities’ to enable to device to deliver force-feedback to the user:
“The Steam Controller is built around a new generation of super-precise haptic feedback, employing dual linear resonant actuators. These small, strong, weighted electro-magnets are attached to each of the dual trackpads. They are capable of delivering a wide range of force and vibration, allowing precise control over frequency, amplitude, and direction of movement.”
In addition to the trackpads is a central high-resolution touchscreen that is geared for browsing your Steam library and using Steams Community features such as chat. Surrounding the screen are four buttons which can be mapped by game developers to certain actions and combinations within the game.
The controller, designed primarily for use SteamOS and Steam Machines can be used on any setup.
Like Steam Machines, Valve have chosen to do the same ‘Eligibility Quest’ beta for the controllers, however the model used for the initial beta testing will apparently differ from the one shown above and will not be wireless or include a touchscreen, so if you want to test the full thing, you might want to hold off for a bit.
We will be going into the Steam Living room announcements in more detail later on, however for now, let us know what you think of the announcements in the comments below.
Steam Store – The Steam Universe is Expanding in 2014
PCGamer – Steam Controller Announced by Valve
Around the International Community
HL Inside – Анонс контроллера Steam
HL Portal – Steam Controller vorgestellt
ValveTime.net – Steam Announcement #1: SteamOS
Half-Life Fallout – Valve introduces Steam Machines
I plan to buy a PS4, as well as a new laptop this year. I’ll also be looking to pick up something with SteamOS
Very pessimistic about this. It’s not that I don’t like the idea, but if Valve’s new platform does in fact become the de facto gaming operating system, that means that Valve gets a troubling amount of control over the entire gaming industry. SteamOS might be open-source, but by default, SteamOS probably won’t allow you to add non-steam games, won’t allow GOG.com or any other store than Steam and I’m worried how this is going to affect the gaming industry.
I’m equally worried that Valve’s intent focus on living room entertainment are going to leave us desktop-gamers behind. I want to play with a key and mouse, not on a controller from my couch and Big Picture, SteamOS and Steam Machines are made for the latter in mind.
I can’t help but wonder what’s going to happen to genres like RTS. Will they have any representation on SteamOS?
You can still definitely use a keyboard and mouse with Steam OS, I think the controller is just a friendly alternative for FPS and other games like that.
Not sure about GOG and non steam games though…
Personally I got hyped by all this and the question if I still buy a PS4 or Xbone is pretty much answered for me.
I only own a Xbox360 to have something when friends are over, but with this now that is pretty much no problem anymore.
The controller is the thing that excites me the most, even when it looks weird. But one can really just say something about a gamepad when he tried it out himself so I will still keep mouth shut on that.
Firsties!!!!!!!! <— Lame.