Earlier this week Valve announced the SteamOS, that’s right, an entire operating system based on the game distribution platform that’s become the go-to place for PC games. SteamOS is a Linux based operating system which Valve hope to bring gaming on Steam more into the living room, the only problem is, you’ll need some hardware to install it onto. The good news however is that it’s completely free.

The SteamOS concept is simple, it plans to help bring the Steam distribution and gaming platform to living room PC’s in an operating system that’s based purely around Steam but with a user interface that’s controller and living room friendly.

According to the company the SteamOS has received backing from big developers who hope to have “AAA titles coming natively to SteamOS”. Currently however due to the OS being built on Linux gamers can’t quite take advantage of the massive library of games available on Windows. Don’t fret though, Valve have thought of that.

With SteamOS you can stream your games directly from your Windows or Mac Steam client.

You can play all your Windows and Mac games on your SteamOS machine, too. Just turn on your existing computer and run Steam as you always have – then your SteamOS machine can stream those games over your home network straight to your TV!”

The company also hopes to bring this feature the regular Steam client at some point too.

Finally SteamOS (and eventually the Steam client) will begin to include music and video streaming services. Valve haven’t revealed which ones yet, but presumably Netflix and Spotify will be two of the many services they hope to include in both the OS and the standalone client.

“But what about the Steam Box” I hear you cry. Well sadly, so far, that’s not happening. Valve seem to have ditched the hardware idea and opted for working on software based around the client itself and as a result have improved graphics and audio performance and latency issues plaguing various controllers.

There’s still hope for a Steam Box however thanks to the openness of the software. According to the announcement ““openness” means that the hardware industry can iterate in the living room at a much faster pace than they’ve been able to.” so companies like HP, Lenovo, and Asus for example could create the hardware, install SteamOS, and voila! A Steam Box.

This also gives hardcore PC gamers the option to build their own “Steam Boxes” with the hardware that they want in their own system and install SteamOS onto that, providing the hardware is compatible, something which I assume Steam are going to focus on too.

Now, that may not be all as Valve have two more announcements in store for us, one of which could be an actual Valve built Steam Box. We’ll obviously find out more later today/this week.

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