SteamOS, Valve’s specialized gaming operating system, is gearing up for a full release, and should be widely available before the end of the year. The developing OS is a curious beast: It’s optimized for PC gaming but doesn’t run some of the most popular PC games. It is a Linux-based operating system developed by Valve. The software highlights PC gaming but will also have access to streaming video, music and other online services.
You must be thinking why would you run it. It will be very lightweight, and is designed specifically with big-screen TVs in mind. It aims to split the difference between customizable PC gaming and comfortable console gaming. Hooking a SteamOS machine up to your TV may be easier than hooking up a Windows PC or Mac. Because many Steam games allow you to use a controller instead of a mouse and keyboard, a SteamOS system can offer you hundreds of the industry’s most popular games at lower prices.
Any Steam game with Linux support should run on SteamOS, although Valve will pin down this list as the official launch date approaches. There are roughly 2,000 Linux games available through Steam, including major titles like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and indie darlings like Hotline Miami and Generally speaking, games that are compatible only with Windows and Mac will not run on SteamOS. The list of games that do not run on Linux is extensive: Series such as BioShock, Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty currently have no Linux support on Steam.
Valve does not produce any Steam machines; instead, it has collaborated with a number of partners to offer a full range of gaming PCs, from the budget-minded to the fantastically powerful. SteamOS is available free of charge. Steam Machines range from $460 to $5,000. You can also find a machine to fit your exact budget by constructing it yourself.
There is a Steam controller valve designed the Steam Controller from the ground up, to get the most out of Steam titles without resorting to a mouse and keyboard. However, the controller is not necessary; gamers can still use a mouse and keyboard, or another type of controller, if they prefer. For full impressions on the Steam Controller, check out our hands-on.
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