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"What's the Point of Steam OS?"

Subject: Systems
Manufacturer: PC Perspective

That Depends on Whether They Need One

Ars Technica UK published an editorial called, Hey Valve: What's the point of Steam OS? The article does not actually pose the question in it's text -- it mostly rants about technical problems with a Zotac review unit -- but the headline is interesting none-the-less.

Here's my view of the situation.

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The Death of Media Center May Have Been...

There's two parts to this story, and both center around Windows 8. The first was addressed in an editorial that I wrote last May, titled The Death of Media Center & What Might Have Been. Microsoft wanted to expand the PC platform into the living room. Beyond the obvious support for movies, TV, and DVR, they also pushed PC gaming in a few subtle ways. The Games for Windows certification required games to be launchable by Media Center and support Xbox 360 peripherals, which pressures game developers to make PC games comfortable to play on a couch. They also created Tray and Play, which is an optional feature that allows PC games to be played from the disk while they installed in the background. Back in 2007, before Steam and other digital distribution services really took off, this eliminated install time, which was a major user experience problem with PC gaming (and a major hurdle for TV-connected PCs).

It also had a few nasty implications. Games for Windows Live tried to eliminate modding by requiring all content to be certified (or severely limiting the tools as seen in Halo 2 Vista). Microsoft was scared about the content that users could put into their games, especially since Hot Coffee (despite being locked, first-party content) occurred less than two years earlier. You could also argue that they were attempting to condition PC users to accept paid DLC.

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Regardless of whether it would have been positive or negative for the PC industry, the Media Center initiative launched with Windows Vista, which is another way of saying “exploded on the launch pad, leaving no survivors.” Windows 7 cleared the wreckage with a new team, who aimed for the stars with Windows 8. They ignored the potential of the living room PC, preferring devices and services (ie: Xbox) over an ecosystem provided by various OEMs.

If you look at the goals of Steam OS, they align pretty well with the original, Vista-era ambitions. Valve hopes to create a platform that hardware vendors could compete on. Devices, big or small, expensive or cheap, could fill all of the various needs that users have in the living room. Unfortunately, unlike Microsoft, they cannot be (natively) compatible with the catalog of Windows software.

This may seem like Valve is running toward a cliff, but keep reading.

What If Steam OS Competed with Windows Store?

Windows 8 did more than just abandon the vision of Windows Media Center. Driven by the popularity of the iOS App Store, Microsoft saw a way to end the public perception that Windows is hopelessly insecure. With the Windows Store, all software needs to be reviewed and certified by Microsoft. Software based on the Win32 API, which is all software for Windows 7 and earlier, was only allowed within the “Desktop App,” which was a second-class citizen and could be removed at any point.

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This potential made the PC software industry collectively crap themselves. Mozilla was particularly freaked out, because Windows Store demanded (at the time) that all web browsers become reskins of Internet Explorer. This means that Firefox would not be able to implement any new Web standards on Windows, because it can only present what Internet Explorer (Trident) draws. Mozilla's mission is to develop a strong, standards-based web browser that forces all others to interoperate or die.

Remember: “This website is best viewed with Internet Explorer”?

Executives from several PC gaming companies, including Valve, Blizzard, and Mojang, spoke out against Windows 8 at the time (along with browser vendors and so forth). Steam OS could be viewed as a fire escape for Valve if Microsoft decided to try its luck and kill, or further deprecate, Win32 support. In the mean time, Windows PCs could stream to it until Linux gained a sufficient catalog of software.

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

This is where Steam OS gets interesting. Its software library cannot compete against Windows with its full catalog of Win32 applications, at least not for a long time. On the other hand, if Microsoft continues to support Win32 as a first-class citizen, and they returned to the level of openness with software vendors that they had in the Windows XP era, then Valve doesn't really have a reason to care about Steam OS as anything more than a hobby anyway. Likewise, if doomsday happens and something like Windows RT ends up being the future of Windows, as many feared, then Steam OS wouldn't need to compete against Windows. Its only competition from Microsoft would be Windows Store apps and first-party software.

I would say that Valve might even have a better chance than Microsoft in that case.


February 3, 2016 | 02:17 PM - Posted by -- (not verified)

read that ars link

SteamOS is a dead fish flopping.

February 3, 2016 | 05:27 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Agree. It's come out finally with a total wimper. There may be a certain group of Windows haters that wish for it to succeed, but it won't. Windows just gets the job done. Version 10 makes up,for the mistake of 8, DirectX 12 will become huge in the next year or so, and Microsoft making the upgrade free just cuts SteamOS off at the knees. There's just no practical reason to use it. Why hamstring yourself for no reason.

February 3, 2016 | 06:57 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

That's a big load of CACA! M$'s vision of total control is what has made Valve create Steam OS and at least there will be an alternative OS for gaming! I'm just hoping that there will be Steam OS based devices running AMD's Zen based APUs so I can get by without any M$ OS dependence!

Valve only needs a small percentage of the market to sustain a viable Steam OS ecosystem and ensure that M$ can not lock things up after one of its forced cumulative OS updates, while the pro 10 slack jaws stare on in horror!

Steam OS, Specifically Valve's commitment to supporting a hardware ecosystem for the Debian based Steam OS will ensure that many will have a method of escape from M$'s clutches now and in the future, I'm sure that the gaming industry will support Steam OS/Linux OS based gaming under the Vulkan API, because that's what most of the mobile market will be using for its gaming needs, and those games developed for the Steam machines/Steam OS and Vulkan will be easily portable to an mobile Linux Kernel based devices that adopt the Khronos group's Vulkan graphics API(The public release of Mantle).

Who cares about M$'s windows 10 spy-ware, and ad pushing bloatware when there will be hardware certified to work with a Debian Linux based OS from OEMs, and that ARS author made no effort to get any issues resolved other than the obvious effort he made to slam Steam OS, It's not as if M$ has had a history of problems with some of its OSs ME/Vista/8/10(spy-ware) etc. Just the presence of Steam Machines on the market for sale by the OEM's is a good sign, and if the Linux OS based laptop OEMs will begin to offer some AMD APU based laptops then things will be great for me, I could care less about M$'s software ecosystem after windows 7, I'm never updating beyond windows 7, and getting ready to make the move to Linux after 2020!

Screw M$, Comcast, and the rest of the cabals of crooks, there will be enough going to Steam OS for their hardware/OS needs to keep Linux gaming alive and growing.

February 3, 2016 | 11:46 PM - Posted by -- (not verified)

do you even read? Or does your keyboard just catch fire before you have a chance?

THERE IS NO alternative OS for gaming, steamOS is a flop, which means linux is also a FLOP.

FLOP FLOP FLOP....fish

February 4, 2016 | 11:38 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

You like bending over for some forced updates with 10! But Steam OS is just starting out and there will be Vulkan to make games better without having to go all DX12 and joining up with the empire! You like all of you gaming CPU cycles eaten up by telemetry, what a fool you are!

February 4, 2016 | 05:11 PM - Posted by aaronfranke (not verified)

What I don't get is, why would you denounce the only alternative? Do you realize that you're promoting a monopoly? Even Windows users should support Linux, even if they don't use it or never have used it, because it means Microsoft will be forced to step their game up and improve your own platform.

March 28, 2016 | 08:10 AM - Posted by tbonesan

How can it be a flop after such a short time. It's not over till the fat lady sings, and she ain't singing. Steam OS is just getting started. So far almost 2000 games, including newer gems likes Street Fighter 5 - that's pretty good by any metric.

Tell me one decent DX12 game worth writing home about that justifies installing MS spyware10 on a computer?

They've been dangling that DX12 carrot for quite some time now. But what have we seen from them? More Windows App store Nazi nonsense and shenanigans.

My gosh son, if you can see the writing on the wall or think it's a bad idea having Steam OS and Vulkan keeping them honest, god help us all

June 3, 2016 | 03:19 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Holy shit, you are fucking illiterate.
Linux... " a FLOP " ???
DO YOU KNOW WHAT WOULD HAPPEN WITHOUT LINUX??
THE INTERNET WOULD COLLAPSE, SERVERS WOULD CRASH EVERY 5 MINS THAT RUN WINDOWS SERVER, IT WOULD LAG LIKE FUCK, AND MICRODRUG CAN INCREASE ITS SERVICES TO WHATEVER IT WANTS AND YOU COULD DO NOTHING YOU PIECE OF ILLITERATE ASSHOLE.

I am not promoting linux, I am showing how wrong you are.

February 4, 2016 | 11:23 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Enjoy your crap tech then...:/

February 8, 2016 | 01:31 PM - Posted by DCPanther (not verified)

You're either being controlled by Microsoft or controlled by Valve. One has experince creating an eco-system, strong tools, and building APIs. The other took 3 years getting Offline-Mode to work. At least being under the control of Microsoft, I know what I'm getting into. Under Valve, I don't/

June 22, 2016 | 06:13 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

You are not under valve control, SteamOS is just a strip-down distro launching steam in big picture. You can install any other distro an play the same games avalaible on SteamOS.

I'm not even sure why you would pick steamOS over a more complete OS like Mint. Stick with windaube and enjoy these hours long update screen at launch mate.

February 4, 2016 | 05:08 PM - Posted by aaronfranke (not verified)

DirectX 12 will not become popular for sometime at least, and may never become popular at all. Microsoft's decision to only support it on Windows 10 means that developers will still have to make a DirectX 9-11 version if they want to support Windows 7 & 8.1, as well as an OpenGL or Vulkan renderer if they wish to support Linux. The alternative is simply to create a Vulkan renderer first so that you can hit all 3 markets with 1 API. The latter seems vastly more practical for everyone.

April 19, 2016 | 05:38 PM - Posted by herbsthewerd (not verified)

If Microsoft developed/released a "Windows 10 Xbox Edition" that you could download for free, it would probably bury Steam OS overnight. Just make it gamer centric with a Steam like store and start the takeover. MANY budget builds would go this route.

February 3, 2016 | 02:21 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

SteamOS will quickly become irrelevant as Microsoft shovels piles of cash at developers - in the form of incredible support and cooperation, of course - to make DX12-only games. Microsoft will easily make that money back selling data it collects from Windows 10 users. Meanwhile, they will release a significant number of Microsoft/Xbox exclusives (MCC, Fable, GoW, Forza, etc.) via the Windows 10 Store to get more upgrades and compete with Steam from the inside.

*insert Admiral Ackbar image macro here*

February 3, 2016 | 03:01 PM - Posted by Scott Michaud

I'm not sure if SteamOS will become irrelevant. It supports the Steam platform with Media Center Extender-like functionality, which will continue to be useful.

Also, Vulkan looks quite interesting compared to DirectX 12. The Khronos Group has done some clever things with it, including standardizing the shading language as an LLVM-based bytecode compatible with later versions of OpenCL. This has potential, but there's also a lot of directions that have it end up being irrelevant. Again, it's clever, though.

February 3, 2016 | 04:26 PM - Posted by nathanddrews

I would love to see Vulkan dominate - then all platforms from Linux to MacOS to Windows could enjoy much of the same benefit of what DX12 offers to only Windows users. But then I'm reminded that OpenGL always played second fiddle to DX in previous generations, so there's little hope of Vulkan suddenly switching it up. I can hope, though...

February 3, 2016 | 05:09 PM - Posted by Scott Michaud

Apple has not signed on to Vulkan.

February 4, 2016 | 09:19 AM - Posted by Jann5s

But google has, which includes android, and there are more android devices than windows devices in the world. I'm rooting for Vulkan.

February 3, 2016 | 04:28 PM - Posted by ThE_MarD

Heyyo,

That's true about Vulkan... But there's two major crippling facts about it based on the same problem... It's late.

SteamOS definitely suffered without it since native Vulkan support on Windows and then potentially on Linux could have avoided quite a few negative reviews of SteamOS... Then again, some of those issues could have been avoided by having native OpenGL versions of those games on Windows... But OpenGL is apparently still more difficult to use than DirectX11.

Second and more critical? Vulkan is not only late.. But delayed. DirectX12 has quite the head start meow and developers are tinkering with it... Who is to say once they get comfortable with DirectX12 they won't bother with Vulkan? WarGaming would be my primary example since they got so comfortable with DirectX9e that they haven't bothered for the longest time implementing DirectX11... They are finally building a new client side engine and announced Dx11 and 12 on it but not a word of Vulkan...

I do like what Vulkan means to all Gamers, I truly do... But look at OpenGL 3.0. It was VERY late and didn't even have the same hardware features as Dx10... I'm just worried history will repeat itself.

February 3, 2016 | 05:19 PM - Posted by Scott Michaud

It could be a problem. That said, it's really a good idea to compare native OpenGL with native DirectX, but Vulkan and DirectX 12 should be closer. The hiccup that concerns me most is branding inertia.

February 3, 2016 | 11:47 PM - Posted by Lando (not verified)

Second and more critical? Vulkan is not only late.. But delayed. DirectX12 has quite the head start meow and developers are tinkering with it...

It seems that at least some developers are already working on Vulkan support. Valve has demoed DOTA 2 Vulkan version about a year ago. Valve should release a reference Vulkan driver source code on launch so developers and people who are interested can really learn to master Vulkan.

I'm pretty sure game engine developers has access to drivers and specs already; Unity, Unreal Engine, etc. Unity, Epic and many others are members of Khronos.

February 5, 2016 | 03:51 PM - Posted by Lando (not verified)

Many interesting Vulkan "news" today.

The Talos Principle - Vulkan screenshot: http://www.croteam.com/talos-principle-will-support-vulkan-first-screens...

A blog about Vulkan memory management: https://developer.nvidia.com/vulkan-memory-management

Vulkan Programming Guide: http://www.amazon.com/Vulkan-Programming-Guide-Official-Learning/dp/0134...

February 5, 2016 | 04:45 PM - Posted by Lando (not verified)

The Talos Principle - Vulkan screenshot: http://www.croteam.com/talos-principle-will-support-vulkan-first-screens...

... and yes, I think it was pretty funny :). But still, I don't think they were joking about supporting Vulkan in their engine. It would be great to have Vulkan based games soon as possible after an official release.

So many Vulkan news recently. I guess the release can't be far anymore ...

February 3, 2016 | 05:29 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

DirectX is the defacto standard. Only a fraction of modern games still bother to use OpenGL anymore.

February 3, 2016 | 07:12 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Vulkan will be used on Tablets and Phones for gaming, so Steam OS and Vulkan developers will have that Vulkan based market to help with seeing that Vulkan based gaming will prosper and live on a long time. The Mobile Devices market under Vulkan will dwarf the DX12 based market, so Steam OS/Linux based games under the Vulkan graphics API will have loads of spinning gnomes demos, as well as games accelerated by the Vulkan graphics/GPGPU API across PC/Laptops/tablets/phones!

DX12 will only be available on that bloatware/spyware infested 10, with even more CPU cycles unavailable for gaming while M$ data mines for personal metrics, and employs more Ad injection attempts in the future with each new forced windows 10 update!

February 4, 2016 | 04:24 AM - Posted by Youre a fucking moron (not verified)

That's bullshit and you know it.

April 20, 2016 | 01:21 AM - Posted by frodowiz (not verified)

yeah, something is for sure.perhaps your blindness of the current trends? maybe its just a case of standing to close to the trees to see the forest.

February 4, 2016 | 05:15 PM - Posted by aaronfranke (not verified)

*the defacto standard on Windows and Xbox. Every game with a port to another platform has to have a non-DirectX renderer.

February 3, 2016 | 02:41 PM - Posted by Lando (not verified)

It is worth to keep in mind Bioshock Infinite runs on Linux but it is made for Windows. Linux version uses eON. To make the comparison at least a little more fair would require that the game is written for Linux and the drivers has profile for the game.

Sure, Microsoft/Windows has decades of head start what comes to gaming. It takes some time to catch up. At least to me having over 1800 games already on Linux is pretty impressive.

SteamOS 2.0 uses still dated software and is X11 based. I'm pretty sure Valve will switch over to Wayland or DRM/KMS directly at some point. The other tech that is required is Vulkan.

I'm surprising if PC users wouldn't be interested on SteamOS. Even "Windows XP openness" is still just totally closed black box with full of restrictions. SteamOS is open and let PC users to own their computers and use as they like.

February 3, 2016 | 02:51 PM - Posted by Scott Michaud

I agree on many of these points. Linux is a much better platform for art, as its copyright structure enforces that society can perpetually support intrinsicly valuable content.

That said, Windows XP-era Microsoft is, generally speaking, sufficient, especially when compared to Windows RT and iOS. Even desktop Linux games are dependent upon the closed platform of x86, so, short of the Web, we're always forced to make some compromises.

February 3, 2016 | 11:34 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Even desktop Linux games are dependent upon the closed platform of x86, so, short of the Web, we're always forced to make some compromises.

Yeah, that's true. I may remember wrong but I think there are laws in some countries that WIFI firmwares has to be closed source as well. So there are some cases there is no choice.

Despite of some closed source software the platform itself is still open. I think it is great to see users having fun with their computers and porting their favorite platform to various of hardware:
PS4 + Linux (X11)
DS3 + Linux (Wayland)
etc.

It is surprising to see many PC users to be just fine with Windows and doesn't even seem to want an alternative for it which would give them much more freedom.

February 4, 2016 | 11:54 AM - Posted by remc86007

Is it really surprising? I doubt that the thought of having "more freedom" even occurs to the vast majority of PC users. If there were lots of things that Windows couldn't do, then maybe, but as it stands, Windows more than adequately serves the needs of most people.

February 4, 2016 | 12:59 PM - Posted by Lando (not verified)

Well, somehow I have always thought that PC users would like to have a control over their computers and "master" them. It doesn't seem to be case among PC users even in technical sites, that surprised me. I guess my imagination has been wrong from the beginning and additionally to that maybe times has changed ...

February 5, 2016 | 11:14 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Yup, I just modified the kernel to get Razer atrox xbone one controller to work. Windows users are SOL until they release a driver, if they ever do. I just had to add two lines to xpad

February 3, 2016 | 07:38 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I think Steam OS has no future unless Denuvo is released for it.

February 3, 2016 | 07:43 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I personally wouldn't use a steam machine or steam OS for that matter, but I'll support a billion dollar company trying to push Linux forward in anyway possible - I'm tired of only having to run Windows for my games anyway.

February 4, 2016 | 05:17 PM - Posted by aaronfranke (not verified)

+1. This is the idea. Yes, it's not really ready yet, and won't be until we get more AAA games and Vulkan is out for awhile. Supporting it from the shadows is a good idea right now. I don't expect anyone to try to only use it for gaming until 2020 or so.

February 3, 2016 | 07:58 PM - Posted by boidsonly

For those who want to remove/limit M$ data collection in Win 10, visit this link and use this free app. It's especially useful if you upgraded to/installed Win 10 defaults; those defaults give M$ unfettered access to your data.

https://www.oo-software.com/en/shutup10

Pass it on to those who will have an interest in it.

February 3, 2016 | 11:32 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

And will this software always be able to work if M$ adds more/different spy-ware with the next windows 10 "Update"! Enjoy your permanent game of privacy whack-a-mole with M$ and windows 10, it will never be free of new M$ attempts at getting at your private personal metrics! It's best for gaming and computing in general for there to be some open source Linux based OS choices for those that want to avoid all of the the spying on the proprietary OS ecosystems! The spying and the loss of user control over their own hardware, is the reason that Steam OS and other Linux based open source OSs should be supported.

February 3, 2016 | 11:57 PM - Posted by Lando (not verified)

It would be easier to trust that software if they would share the source code. Additionally you can't be sure if that software actually fix all the problems since we don't have access to Windows source code either.

I'm quite sure there are some open source alternatives so the user at least is able to see what the software does.

February 4, 2016 | 11:31 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

You can use a couple tools like https://www.safer-networking.org/spybot-anti-beacon/ and https://www.oo-software.com/en/shutup10 with a few clicks and a reboot and have your Windows 10 secure. You can also use https://www.glasswire.com/ to further monitor your network and block the remaining call to home services M$ has running to your liking see here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQ5qzg4xZiQ (How To Protect your PC & Network with GlassWire by Barnacules Nerdgasm)

Yes these tools get updated very frequently to also combat what Microsofts tries to change to enable back those settings.

Best to use Windows 10 Enterprise x64!

February 4, 2016 | 11:57 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Enjoy that eternal game of privacy whack-a-mole, and you will have to keep updating and checking with 10 on your hardware, sucking more of your data cap, and taking away more CPU cycles with its data stealing services and ad pushing! And what if M$ bakes the spyware so directly into things and provides no framework of OS hooks for that third party software to be able to monitor things, What Then with those backdoor channels!

P.S. You'll need at least 500+ of those Enterprise x64 seats to qualify for any enterprise licensing, and they will not come at a low low price. It's best to go Linux and help become part of the solution, and nobody is forcing you to give up windows 7, just lock in down in a Linux based virtual machine instance after 2020 for legacy stuff isolated from any net access! Vulkan will be there for windows 7 also! So to keep the spying down only install security updates for 7 from now on, and get rid of those tricky KBs that M$ is trying to push out to 7, and gradually work on getting over to Steam OS for gaming and Linux Mint for productivity!

February 3, 2016 | 08:13 PM - Posted by solarisguru

I'm currently running a Windows 7 based Steam Machine. I changed the Windows shell to Steam's Big Picture mode so as soon as the OS boots all you get is Big Picture and Steam. I even changed the Windows loading screen to a Steam logo. Most people who come over to check it out can't tell it's running on Windows and I can still enjoy my entire library of Steam games. I tried running Steam OS but only about 1/5 of my games were supported. When/if Valve ever fixes that problem, I might try it again...

*edit*

I also tried running Windows 10 on this machine and found that 3/5 games had issues running properly or at all, so that's why I went back to Windows 7.

February 4, 2016 | 12:18 AM - Posted by Goofus Maximus (not verified)

Windows 8.x and onwards makes gaming even more difficult. I can say that Windows 10, for me, is at least a BIT better than 8.1 was, but I definitely had to put some effort into making some older games work, using compatibility magic.

Once I got them running at all, they ran without issues however. This kind of reminds me of my times using Linux, where just about everything requires some effort to get working right at the start...

February 4, 2016 | 05:19 PM - Posted by aaronfranke (not verified)

Your problem isn't really one that can be fixed by Valve, but can be fixed with a combination of more users, more developers, and time.

February 3, 2016 | 08:17 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Are you numbskulls for real?

Just look at the stats

http://swbstats.com/

If VR doesn't cause motion sickness, Sony is going to be dominating in 3 years and have all the developers. All others are going to look the way Apple used to look to XP.

Developers want to develop for whatever has the greatest potential for their pockets. Everything else is just low hanging fruit. 2020 will be the next opportunity for whatever is next and Sony will have backwards compatibility and possibly accessories already in the hands on the minions.

Apple is the only trojan horse around 2020 as their minions are jackasses.

At this stage, Amazon has a better chance with the future of dominating gaming than Windows or SteamOS.

Get with it already

February 3, 2016 | 10:59 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I don't know how reliable it is to site a game like Star Wars Battlefront as an indicator of platform sales.
Keep in mind that there was a lot of push-back from consumers on the PC side of things because many PC-based Youtube personalities took a stance against Star War Battlefront for being a DLC-ridden, half finished game.

Now, don't get me wrong, I definitely think for the majority of AAA games consoles are going to dominate sales compared to PC.

If developers are putting money toward porting games to not only PC, but to other superminority operating systems like MacOS and Linux, then it's pretty obvious that they're making money from the PC market.

The games that generally don't get ported over are the ones that Sony/Microsoft/Nintendo pay for exclusive rights to (e.g. Bloodborne, Halo, etc.)

February 4, 2016 | 12:08 AM - Posted by Lando (not verified)

If developers are putting money toward porting games to not only PC, but to other superminority operating systems like MacOS and Linux, then it's pretty obvious that they're making money from the PC market.

If the developers would use follow good programming practices, write portable code from the beginning and use open standards like Vulkan, porting game to many PC operating systems shouldn't be a huge issue.

I don't have stats but I'm quite sure there are lots of PC game developers who knows Windows+DX well but are very new for example with Linux. It takes time them to step out of Windows world and learn tech.

Porting the Unity Editor to Linux: Stuff I Wish We’d Done Then

February 3, 2016 | 11:48 PM - Posted by -- (not verified)

http://steamcharts.com/

we are with it already, numbskull

February 4, 2016 | 12:46 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

DOTA - Free to play - lots of money here
Counter Strike - 4yrs old or 17 however you look at it, lots of money here
Team Fortress 2 - 9 yrs old - even more money here
CIV V - 5 yr old game - with holiday sales for like $10 ohhh money
Fallout 4 - http://www.vgchartz.com/gamedb/?name=fallout+4

BTW i play equal PC & Console and i had planned to purchase Oculus until how dismal PC game releases have transpired for the past 12 months.

i'm still not getting rid of my keyboard+mouse anytime soon

February 4, 2016 | 09:46 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

fallout? has that game EVER been big on the PC.... nope.

no shocker really right? so why toss it out there like that, oh thats right cause you want to bash PC gaming and that number supports your bias.

Again...nobody here goes out of their way to start talking a storm up about consoles...but leave it to the console fans to come here talking about PC gaming.

February 4, 2016 | 11:57 AM - Posted by -- (not verified)

thats also JUST steam games.

there are 1098430284039834 other PC games people play the hell out of

http://caas.raptr.com/most-played-games-november-2015-fallout-4-and-blac...

and thats not even the full picture.

It sounds like you are just some AAA game fan, stick to consoles if that is your bread and butter but the PC gaming landscape is huge and not just hog tied around big money AAA games, which are quickly turning to crap themselves.

Also why are you crying about "money" games? steam sales, cheap games, free to play games, its all a win win for gamers.. are you really crying that PC games don't cost enough? LOL really? Pretty sure steam is making $$$ hand over fist on PC games with zero slow down.

4 year olds playing CS:go ? you seriously think a 4 year old is going to be playing FPS online? *eye roll* rip it up with silly kid comments all you want console voice chat is down right toxic... meanwhile PC gamers are some of the nicest people you will play with.

February 4, 2016 | 05:22 PM - Posted by aaronfranke (not verified)

You can use KB/M on SteamOS. All of the games you listed are on Linux except for FO4. Also, you should get the HTC Vive instead of the Oculus Rift.

February 5, 2016 | 10:51 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

PC gamers are great , why the hell are you calling them kids? you want to hear kids yelling curse words, hit up the console headset.

Your ears will catch fire.

February 4, 2016 | 05:09 AM - Posted by alkarnur

Even in the best case scenario, no one was saying that Steam OS was going to win overnight or over the span of a year.

The rise of Steam OS is and will continue to be gradual. slowly accruing titles and an ever bigger percentage of Windows games that are also available on SteamOS. In just two years, the percentage of Windows games that are available on Steam OS has gone from 0% to almost 26%. That's over a quarter of the entire Steam library supporting Steam OS even though it has only about 1% market share.

The number of games available on the platform divided by the platform's market share is orders of magnitude higher on Steam OS than it is on Windows. This tells you that not just Valve, but also game developers really really REALLY do not want to be locked into Windows. In that sense, Steam OS is the exact opposite of a flop.

The number of Steam games with Steam OS support has been steadily increasing at a rate of 1000 games per year or about 80 games per month.

In the best case scenario, when the percentage of Steam games supporting Steam OS reaches a critical point, say 60 or 80%, THEN we would we see a relatively rapid rise of Steam OS market share and a quick switch to or adoption of Steam OS, over about a period of one year. Kind of like what happened with the rise of Android smartphones and, later, Android tablets. No one now dares argue that Android hasn't won the market share wars in the smartphone and tablet segments.

This switch to Steam OS, aka "the year of Steam OS", is at least 3-4 years away. As I said, Steam OS must first accumulate a large enough percentage of Windows games. Certain things may accelerate this trend as VR and the Valve Vive support Steam OS.

Everybody in the PC ecosystem, whether it's game developers, digital store owners, chip designers, gamers, etc. has now irrevocably learned that Microsoft will do the absolute minimum it can get away with and will sit on ass with its monopoly and while there's no competition to force them to innovate, dragging the PC ecosystem as much as they can towards stagnation and away from dynamism and fast progress.

February 4, 2016 | 11:38 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Atleast all my games run amazing on Windows 7, 8,8.1 & 10 compared to Steam OS.
You seem to have forgotten to mention that on purpose huh...

February 14, 2016 | 08:26 PM - Posted by Mike S. (not verified)

I bought The Mortal Kombat Collection on Steam for Windows and it doesn't work. I neither know nor care if that's Valve's problem or Microsoft's - the point is, sticking with Windows isn't the perfect solution.

February 4, 2016 | 01:39 PM - Posted by -- (not verified)

------------------
This switch to Steam OS, aka "the year of Steam OS", is at least 3-4 years away
------------------

your shitting me right? linux has been saying this every single year since 1994...have a seat, enjoy purgatory...you'll be here... well forever.

February 4, 2016 | 02:09 PM - Posted by Lando (not verified)

Actually Linux is doing pretty well ...

- smartphones
- cloud
- embedded devices; TV, routers, etc.
- servers
- super computers
etc.

February 4, 2016 | 03:25 PM - Posted by -- (not verified)

the only reason linux is on smartphones and TVs is because of android.

you want to count android as a free open source linux distro? LOL

and the rest of those...exactly, linux is shoved in the back of a dark closet never to be touched by everyday people on a daily basis.

Linux will never live on the desktop widely used by normal people, the community is to fragmented. Even Redhat pulled out and they now run their very tightly built distro, cause they have to support it...so they P-A-Y people MONEY to build and maintain their product.

When it is used in a server role, paid IT staff are looking over the servers, and paid IT staff create exactly what they need for what its doing, its locked down and not phucked with ever again. There is a COST to running whatever OS you choose, and linux does have a COST. Its not free sunshine rainbows.

You linux fanboys act as if you have never worked a single day in the tech field....because you probably haven't, besides being "that kid" that knows stuff about "computers" that your parents friends call.

February 4, 2016 | 04:18 PM - Posted by Lando (not verified)

I have made many Android builds myself for various of devices - https://source.android.com/
Unfortunately most of the firmwares are binaries/closed source.

It doesn't matter in what form Linux is being used. Unlike Windows you can use Linux freely and in many various of ways. And as we have seen Linux has spread very fast and the usage keeps growing.

At least to me it is great to have different options for PC. If you like Windows that's totally fine but it is great to see gaming moving outside of Windows world. PC is getting stronger than ever before.

February 4, 2016 | 05:29 PM - Posted by aaronfranke (not verified)

So maybe it indeed won't be popular on the desktop in 4 years. However... just as mobile phones filled a niche that people didn't even know existed, who is to say that SteamOS won't also slowly gain popularity? I definitely can see some people wanting it as basically a Steam Link that can play some games locally, I do not see it being wanted to be used on $2000 rigs anytime soon.

Also, even though people have been saying "it'll be the year" for decades, it's true that support has been growing... just veeeeeery slowly. I'm guessing 2020 but I wouldn't put money on it, honestly it could be 2030+.

April 20, 2016 | 01:42 AM - Posted by frodowiz (not verified)

the only reason linux is on smartphones and TVs is because of android.

...+1 linux kernel...

Linux will never live on the desktop widely used by normal people

... last time i checked, i was normal, my parents were normal, 2 guys i work with, and a friend who inherited my old laptop was normal. And none of the aforementioned folks want to go back..

so they P-A-Y people MONEY to build and maintain their product.

... thats called a community. linux distros thrive in communities. red hat gives back to the community in the form of engineers. linux 101. hey are you sure you arent a closet linux fan...

When it is used in a server role, paid IT staff are looking over the servers, and paid IT staff create exactly what they need for what its doing, its locked down and not phucked with ever again.

... well duh, i mean wouldnt that be a good thing?

and linux does have a COST. Its not free sunshine rainbows.

... you are right. sometimes there is a little rain mixed in. otherwise you wouldnt have the rainbows. but it is free as in beer and free as in freedom..

thank you for supporting linux.

June 3, 2016 | 03:43 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

+1 that was beautiful :)

Android is simply a form of linux, linux can take many shapes and sizes that's why it's good.

February 4, 2016 | 01:50 PM - Posted by 24nolf

In 3 years...

$149 steam box+5,000 games+media apps(Netflix,etc.)

Imagine that.

February 4, 2016 | 02:57 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Batman Arkham Knight was just officially canceled for MacOS and Linux. It was already a sh*t title, but it's just a sign of reality that it's just not financially worthwhile to release games for those platforms.

April 20, 2016 | 01:49 AM - Posted by frodowiz (not verified)

actually its a sign neither macos or linux users would settle for that crap. this is why steam has a refund policy. linux users and mac os users are shown the be more generous with their money and the window gamer
(http://blog.wolfire.com/2010/05/Linux-users-contribute-twice-as-much-as-.... if the publisher thought they could get away with it, they would have tried.

February 4, 2016 | 03:18 PM - Posted by Jeff C. (not verified)

I had a home gaming system arrive at my house about a year ago. The part # was SM01 and it came in a wooden box with wrought iron ends, kind of like a pirate box. Research has hinted that only 300 of these hardware home systems were made. I'm not a gamer. If anyone's interested, contact me and I'll send pictures. It also seems WiFi capable and has some sort of Recovery stick/flash drive.

February 4, 2016 | 05:31 PM - Posted by aaronfranke (not verified)

That would be Valve's first series of "standardized" Steam Machines. I'd indeed like to hear more about that, please post pics and your location, and also PM me on Reddit, /u/aaronfranke

February 7, 2016 | 01:25 AM - Posted by Photonboy (not verified)

SteamOS will be a success, IMO.

1) Valve's strategy is long-term.

2) Valve isn't tied to a specific performance level like a PS4, so there's no rush on when it "succeeds".

3) The "success" of the platform boils down to people buying enough games on SteamOS for Valve to justify the effort.

4) The COST to maintain SteamOS will likely not end up significantly more than what they spend already to maintain the Windows Steam client.

5) Valve will get some financially benefit by hosting Netflix and similar applications which make more sense in an HDTV environment.

6) They have an excellent, inexpensive, transitional device called the Steam Link to stream games to an HDTV.

7) SteamOS will concentrate on the HDTV interface like game consoles do.

8) Basically, SteamOS will offer something similar to console gaming that can be SUPERIOR in performance to the consoles.

9) Price will continue to drop on hardware, so look forward say two years and see what performance and games offered we get for $400 (USD) or so. Maybe a Polaris/Zen APU?

10) SteamOS may get shared memory support working, which would be problematic for Windows to do in the relative short term (i.e. 16GB HBM2).

11) Vulkan or other API alternatives to DX12. (if nothing else it helps promote competition)

12) Software ecosystem likely more stable and secure due to relative lack of other software, and good Linux distro.

13) Steam Controller. Lots of negativity but it does offer functionality you can't find elsewhere. Nor do you have to use that controller.

14) Virtual Reality - this really needs a lot of processing power. If you want to do it in the living room then the current consoles will be problematic.

Laying back on the couch seems like a pretty nice way to do VR. Maybe two people on the same couch in the same game? Possibilities..

15) *Lots of interest by Linux users (or MS haters) alone.

Summary:
Again, Steam Machines are a long-term strategy so that's fundamental when considering the question of why to bother.

I think they'll find their niche. It will be very interesting to see what happens for the next-gen console release (2020?) as well. I think those consoles will be Zen/Polaris APU's and provide full backwards compatibility (plus some titles back to the XBox 360).

Valve has a lot of issues to sort out, and they're pretty rough around the edges now but I think things will look pretty positive in two years.

February 8, 2016 | 11:53 AM - Posted by madhatter256 (not verified)

Still no half-life 3.... *sigh*

February 8, 2016 | 12:03 PM - Posted by madhatter256 (not verified)

In all seriousness, the steam OS / steam box vision was essentially what the Phantom was trying to accomplish back in 2004/2005.

Valve cannot compete with a juggernaut like microsoft because linux just isn't there yet in terms of intuitiveness, compatibility and portability, which has been this way for decades. Also, if the in-fighting within the linux development community continues like it always has, then there will be no progress. You still have the arguments over which sector linux should focus on: Server or end-user, debian or whatever, ubuntu or arch, etc.

There will never be a comparable linux gaming PC to what you can do with microsoft that can be packaged and sold to the masses.

February 14, 2016 | 04:50 PM - Posted by Goofus Maximus (not verified)

Wish me luck! I'm going to do something silly-stupid! I'm going to install the steam client in Linux Mint (Cinnamon 17.3) running in Virtualbox on my Windows 10 machine! I will then install my old backlog favorites of Half Life, OpFor, and Blue Shift, to see how badly they run!

Valve came up with the brilliant idea of running steam using non-generic generic libraries, which messes with virtual machines, but I have learned how to excise those libraries, after which it has been documented that Steam runs just fine with the GENERIC generic libraries. I nuked my previous Linux VM because I didn't give the Virtual Disk enough space. Installing it the second time was much easier, after I knew what I was doing!

This is bound to end badly, but wish me luck! It will be neat if the games manage to run at all.

February 14, 2016 | 06:16 PM - Posted by Goofus Maximus (not verified)

and I'm back. Steam client installed in Virtualbox without any issue at all. Half Life downloaded and installed without issue.

Well, Half Life ran, slowly, at low resolution, but playable, if not for one issue, and that is THE MOUSE! Mouse input is crazy, laggy, and random, and seems unfixable. If I set the arrow keys to do turn, look up, and look down, I could probably play Half Life in the box, but with the mouse, it's a non-starter.

Folks with more RAM, a better CPU than my Pentium G3220, and an actual graphics card, might actually find running these old games in a VM to be... tolerable, if not great.

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