Valve unveils SteamOS, a free (gaming-centric) operating system

With the announcement of SteamOS, can a Valve 'SteamBox' console be far behind?

Valve will demo SteamVR hardware at GDC in San Francisco next week.

Well, it's not a console (at least not yet). 

But on Monday afternoon, in a move that one onlooker called "daring," Washington video game company Valve did unveil a gaming- and entertainment-centric operating system, SteamOS. 

"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," Valve wrote on the SteamOS landing page. "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." 

Plenty of questions remain. Among them: When will Valve actually launch the new OS? (The company says only that the software is coming "soon.") And what kind of capability and graphics power will SteamOS have? (Valve says that the software has "significant performance increases in graphics processing, and we’re now targeting audio performance and reductions in input latency at the operating system level.")

But here's one thing we do know for sure: Valve isn't done with the reveals. In fact, another two events are scheduled for this week, one on Wednesday and the other on Thursday. Over at Wired, Chris Kohler has a pretty good guess at what might be trotted out then. 

"Some clues to Valve’s next two announcements can be found on the teaser page," he writes. "The three announcements are represented as a circle (which we now understand to represent SteamOS), a circle in brackets and two circles together in the brackets. Since Valve has already said multiple times that it will do something with gaming hardware, Wednesday’s announcement is most likely a low-cost PC-type machine to be sold at retail that runs SteamOS." 

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Valve unveils SteamOS, a free (gaming-centric) operating system
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today