Analysis: Why SteamOS probably won’t cause a PC gaming revolution

Aurich Lawson

When I had a chance to talk to a Valve representative at the company’s Steam Machine partner unveiling event at CES last week, my first question was the one that I’m sure is on the minds of a lot of PC gamers these days. That question: what does a gaming PC with SteamOS provide over a similar Windows machine that has access to a much larger library of natively compatible games?

Valve engineer and business developer Kassidy Gerber noted that SteamOS has been “really built from the ground up to be part of the living room.” On a Windows machine, Gerber said, Valve “can’t control the initial boot up experience like we can on SteamOS.” In addition, Gerber pointed out that the back catalog of Windows games on Steam will be supported through in-home streaming, and that the Steam Controller allows players to control games from their couch in a new way.

Looking at these arguments as a potential consumer, none of them are really that convincing. The Steam client on Windows already has a Big Picture mode that makes it work just as well as a “part of the living room” as SteamOS does. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to tell at a glance whether a computer is running SteamOS or a Windows-based Big Picture mode. Controlling the boot up experience and launching to Steam right out of the box is nice, but it’s trivial to get a Windows box to boot directly to Big Picture mode as soon as the system starts, if that’s what you really want.

Read 18 remaining paragraphs | Comments

via Ars Technica


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