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Monday, September 23, 2013
Steam Challenges OS Heavyweigths With SteamOS

Valve today introduced the SteamOS, challenging Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Xbox One, Sony's PlayStation 3 and 4, and digital media streaming boxes such as the Roku, Apple TV, and Google TV.

The SteamOS proposes a new way to experience games and home. It runs not on a free operating system that forms the basis for Android as well as other distributions such as Ubuntu and Linux Mint.

The code will be made freely available for manufacturers who want to launch their own gaming hardware.

Designed around gaming, the SteamOS will also embrace music, TV and movies, with Valve teasing further announcements from "many of the media services you know and love."

In-home Streaming, Family Sharing, and a Family Options scheme are the three other features that focus the SteamOS on making PCs ever more relevant to living room entertainment.

The Family Sharing feature allows different players to progress through the same game download at their own pace, while the Family Options suite is designed to ensure that "the living-room is family territory"; all four complement Steam's pre-existent Big Picture mode made for living room TVs.

SteamOS will encompass Steam's already huge customer base, estimated to be about 50 million active users.

Two more announcements are expected throughout the week. Valve's co-founder Gabe Newell, speaking recently at an annual Linux convention, had indicated that his company was interested in unifying mobile and PC technologies.

The company is also known to be working on plans for a budget-friendly computer dubbed the "Steam Box."

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