Valve’s Linux-based Steam operating system has finally been released for consumer use as of December 13th 2013. This follows on from last week’s announcement that Valve has joined the Linux Foundation, a non-profit organisation consisting of the single aim of increasing the distribution and use of Linux software.
With this release however Valve have warned their more casual audience to hold off for now until later in 2014. That is unless “you’re an intrepid Linux hacker already”. The reason for this is that many features are yet to be added. These include media and streaming options, while some unexpected minor bugs that arrive with the early prototype of any new operating system may still need to be ironed out.
Since the announcement of a Steam operating system on 23rd September 2013, analysts have been curious to see how successfully Valve’s new product would fit into the existing market. The timing is crucial with Windows 8, the main platform for PC gaming, remaining unpopular amongst consumers.
At present the Steam OS is made exclusively as a gaming platform, without much of the additional functionality that comes with Microsoft’s Windows or Apple’s MacOS. However in time, as more of Steam’s extensive games library gains functionality and as third party support increases, there are hopes it will begin to pick up some of the broader features contained in its competitors.
Alongside this release Valve is sending out the beta testing kits for its new ‘Steam Machine’ and ‘Steam Controller’, new hardware devices that have been designed to contest the living room space currently occupied by consoles. However, only the Steam Machine will take advantage of the superior specifications of PC gaming, as well as Steam’s expansive library.
As with all Linux-based operating systems, the Steam OS is available now for free to anyone that wants to try.