Valve’s Steam OS

Steam OS

Perhaps our main OS of choice in the future? I’m trying not to get ahead of myself thinking Steam OS could suddenly usurp my Windows usage, but it’s an intriguing thought nonetheless. While we are patiently waiting for Valve to unveil their Steambox(es) to the general public, the fact that Valve is going to launch a free Linux-based OS opens up a brand knew package of excitement.

Designed for the living room, Steam OS appears to aim for the console market by (conveniently) bringing the power of PC gaming to your couch. What excites me however, is the inevitability that the interface will be simple. Many Linux distributions, though free, tend to suffer from a myriad of different issues that have prevented them from being accepted into the mainstream consumer market. This ranges from lack of hardware compatibility to a general absence of specialized software that installs easily.

Personally, I’ve always thought that Linux was trying to do too much without having a dedicated function. What I mean is they don’t have a serious enough niche or a proper target market in the general computer-idiocy consumer space. They don’t have the enterprise suite focus that Microsoft offers with Office for Windows (LibreOffice, I love you, but I have to stick with Microsoft at work). Nor have they been given much attention from the creative masses that delve in amateur photography or other forms of creative design like Apple. Sure, there are some exceptions everywhere, and Linux seems to be doing quite well on the server side, but in most cases regarding desktop usage, it’s more curiosity than necessity. It’s more tinkerers than web-surfers. It’s not for those that are computer illiterate, despite the efforts of Ubuntu and Linux Mint.

Valve could change that. They can give Steam OS focus. They already have the incentive to make it simple since consoles pretty much demand it. More importantly though, they can target the gaming crowd and kill the substitution effect by releasing sequels for their famed franchises on a new engine… solely for Steam OS. Immediate killer apps.

Of course, I’d be just as annoyed with them as when EA made Battlefield 3 an Origin exclusive, but I’d probably take my Linux machine and install Steam OS anyway, or dual-boot. Gamers that don’t care about Blizzard games or League of Legends might make the hop immediately, and even EA has to respond eventually to the Windows App Store threat.

For me though, until Gabe Newell kicks the software thing for Steam into high gear however, I’m keeping Windows around since it’s compatible with Adobe Lightroom 5.