What is SteamOS? Five things you need to know

Valve envisions SteamOS as replacing traditional gaming consoles.  Credit: Valve
Valve envisions SteamOS as replacing traditional gaming consoles.
Credit: Valve

The tech world is buzzing today after Valve announced its free, Linux-powered operating system, SteamOS. SteamOS is Valve’s latest iteration of Steam, a marketplace for PC games, and aims to bring these games to people’s living rooms and televisions. Though dedicated PC gamers are fully in the loop, most people are fuzzy on what SteamOS is and if they need it. Valve still has two more announcements coming up about SteamOS, so there are plenty of unanswered questions, but here are five key points to understanding SteamOS:

1. It brings PC gaming to the living room: That means you can play PC games on your TV without a console. No discs, no waiting – you can instantly purchase hundreds of games to play while you sit on your couch. However, the games on SteamOS are still targeted toward PC gamers, not console gamers, so don’t throw out your Xbox or Playstation yet.

2. It connects to music and movies: SteamOS will be an all-in-one software that allows you to stream movies and listen to music on your TV. It’s unclear who their music and video partners will be, but you may be able to get rid of your Apple TV.

3. It allows sharing: Family Sharing is a feature that lets users share purchased games with friends or family through the program’s cloud. Players can take turns on the games and save their achievements in the cloud.

4. SteamOS is Linux-powered, but it isn’t just for Linux games: You can still stream your PC and Mac games using Steam on your computer.

5. SteamOS is free, but you will need a device: SteamOS won’t have monthly or initial fees, but you will need a streaming device, which Valve has not explained yet. The software is free — at its heart, SteamOS is still a marketplace that allows developers to sell games directly to players.


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