The Steam machine. What it is and what does it mean for linux?

 

A radical shift is about to happen in the field of gaming and also computing as  a whole. The company leading the shift is named Valve. You may know it as the company who built a fortune on the online gaming portal, Steam. Microsoft’s latest release has been a disappointment.

Many have even gone as far as to say it is the next Microsoft Vista. Many companies have expressed disappointment at Microsoft’s latest release and the company as a whole.

People want freedom; freedom of choice. Microsoft doesn’t provide freedom. Microsoft doesn’t focus on it’s consumers and has turned a blind eye to developers.

Linux, the underdog, the black horse, welcomes everyone with open arms. It listens to its community and improves upon itself. While Linux is more secure, faster and compatible than Windows, it has a terrible weakness: Gaming.

Gaming has been the bane of Linux for years. People don’t use Linux because developers don’t make games for it and developers don’t make games for it because people don’t use it. The familiar chicken and egg scenario. What is the solution to this problem?

Enter Valve’s steam OS. Valve says developers have become tired of Microsoft; They are itching to change. Valve’s Steam OS is the answer. It may be the key to making Linux  mainstream.

What are Valve’s plans you ask? Well Valve provides a minimum set of specifications for a Steam Machine (A computer with Steam OS installed) and companies follow these specifications and may even improve upon them to  make steam machines. Steam machines are available at many price points from 500$ to over more than 1000$. Even the 500$ machines can give the PS4 and the  Xbox One  a run  for their money.  Already have a PC? No problem, download and install  Steam OS (it is free) on it and you are good to go.

steam machine controller

SteamOS is essentially steam running on Debian. It is built upon Debian (One of the most stable Operating Systems in existence) and starts steam on bootup in full screen mode.

SteamOS is  the PC’s move against consoles and may also be the key to get Linux into the mainstream. As people buy more steam machines or have Steam OS on their PCs, the Linux using population will grow (Steam is built on Linux) and so inevitably developers will be forced to take notice and make games for Linux. This could surge Linux into popularity.

Alienware steam machine

People will buy steam machines because it is an established name in the business. At CES 2014 many big name manufacturers like Alienware and Gigabyte showcased their Steam machines.

BONUS: How to Build your Own Steam Machine

Game on!

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