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Valve Cements Living Room Ambitions

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Game developer turned online game merchant Valve appears ready to take on home theatre PC (HTPC) space, if with software not hardware-- the company announces steamOS, a Linux-based operating designed around the Steam gaming service.

SteamOS"As we've been working on bringing Steam to the living room, we've come to the conclusion that the environment best suited to delivering value to customers is an operating system built around Steam itself," the company says. "SteamOS combines the rock-solid architecture of Linux with a gaming experience built for the big screen. It will be available soon as a free stand-alone operating system for living room machines."

As well as running games in a Linux environment the OS will provide game sharing and profile options, and should even stream games installed on Windows and Mac PCs through the magic of home networking.

As for further living room functionality, Valve promises it will also provide "many of the media services you know and love" on SteamOS.

Valve's choice of Linux comes to no surprise to anyone familiar with the company-- after all head honcho Gabe Newell is famously unhappy with Windows 8, having described it as nothing less than a "kind of disaster" and a "giant sadness" on multiple occasions.

Back at CES 2013, mini-PC maker Xi3 quietly showed off a prototype "Steam Box" called Piston, a supposedly Valve-sponsored HTPC "designed specifically to support both Steam and its Big Picture mode on larger HD screens.” Valve later disowned the project (even if Xi3 still hawks the device), but with SteamOS it clearly shows it has ambitions for the living room. Will it announce actual own hardware next?

Go SteamOS