When it comes to Operating Systems Microsoft and Apple has always been the frontrunners, the likes of Linux and Ubuntu never made a big enough impact for the mainstream audience to switch and over the years the major Operating Systems have also become the norm, making their position that much stronger. However Steam wanted to try out their luck and release their very own Steam OS that is directed towards gaming enthusiasts in general. The question is, is Steam OS a legitimate threat to the major Operating Systems and with time can it evolve into an Operating System that people will actually considering using just for the sake of better gaming experience? Well today we are going to take a look at Steam OS and find out what it offers and what it lacks.
What is Steam Machine and Steam OS?
This is probably the most obvious question in the minds of people who were not able to catch the Steam OS presentation at CES 2014, first of all it’s not an all-purpose operating system like Windows or MAC OS rather it is an operating system that specializes in running intensive applications and games. Its Linux based and is puts all its resources in running only one application, this specific application will be connected to everything Steam offers. So what you are basically getting is a console like interface but with the capabilities of a PC yet you get to keep the portability and enjoy it in your average couch in the living room.
Though Valve is also planning to offer Steam Machines that will offer dual boot into Windows and Steam OS but will cost a lot more whereas the console like version of the Steam Machine will be far cheaper competing with major consoles like PS4 and Xbox One. But with the exception that unlike your consoles that Steam Machines will be upgradable to any new hardware that comes out.
Will it be worth it?
This is the biggest question here, why would anyone want these Steam Machine or use Steam OS? Well the most obvious reason is its cost effective plan and more portable design, like consoles the Steam Machines will also sport a ‘System on a chip’ method while sporting hardware designed to output SteamOS games at 1080p (since that is the norm now) making it a console replacement with PC upgrade capabilities. Also the Steam OS itself is quite efficient for gaming as many tests showed that even in standard systems it yields better results in games compared to the likes of Windows.
Chances are that like consoles Steam Machines will also receive exclusive titles making it a hybrid of source with best of both console and PC world, but as good as these sound as concepts in reality it won’t be as easy since PC and Consoles are already well established in their own place and it will take a lot to convince someone that any one device can embody the capability of both. So yes the potential is there but it will depend on the interest from developers and work that will follow upon official release, only then it will be worth people’s money. As it stands currently, most major games are not supported on Linux and we’re excited to see this change.
Steam OS Is Still in Its Baby Stages, but Can Be a Game Changer?
Steam OS definitely takes a different route than your everyday consoles, as we previously mentioned its attempting to be a hybrid that will blur the line between both worlds. The OS itself is definitely something we can see many using as a gaming only operating system in order get superior performance and support however the idea of buying a machine that will attempt to replace both my gaming PC and console is hardly possible , especially at this stage for Steam Machines. We get the concept but at this point only the OS seems viable that too only to certain extend to a limited audience.
Probably one of the most interesting gaming gears I have seen in recent memory, the Steam controller is a curious device. Though it looks like standard gamepad at first sight but sports concave haptic feedback pads instead of your average analog sticks, it also has 16 buttons that can be assigned to multiple actions in the game. We personally think that the feedback pads are far superior to analog sticks in terms of fps gaming due to its ease of use, granted it still does not rival a gaming mouse in anyways but it’s an improvement and can be a far better tool for casual console gamers. It’s a combination of a mouse and keyboard and although it’s not as efficient as the classic duo it’s a step ahead of any console gamepads out there for now. Either way regardless of what happens with the Steam OS and Steam Machine, the Steam controller is something we would like to see utilized more by game developers.
At CES 2014 it definitely looked like that the Steam OS can be the true next generation console with its upgradable hardware and futuristic gamepad, but they are still mere concepts that won’t reach any true success without the help of developers and the support of the targeted audience.