Steam Rolling Into Your Living Room

by Mark Smith

The community, content and convenience of Steam are en route to a living room near you. And best of all, it’s free.

Valve is one of the most innovative forces in the gaming industry, and that sentiment is amplified by Monday’s announcement of SteamOS. As a long-time PC gamer, no conversation about the pillars of the game industry would be complete without mention of Valve Software.

From their award-winning and innovative games to the leading PC game distribution and community platform Steam, Valve is synonymous with PC gaming, and the ability to innovate.

Now Valve is at it again. The concept of SteamOS from Valve really hits home with me because there are three things I’m very fond of: big screens, PC games and customer choice. SteamOS is an elegant way to get your PC games into your living room and onto your biggest screen.

SteamOS is built around the already familiar Steam and is a version of Linux. But it’s enhanced for gaming — and for gaming on the big screen in particular. Combined with the fact they’re giving it away to users, and hardware providers, for free, SteamOS has the potential to usher in a new era for gaming in the living room.

This means that anyone can build hardware and software for use in the living room, on an operating system designed to be lightweight, extensible and optimized for gaming. Suffice to say, we here at NVIDIA are very excited.

Engineers from Valve and NVIDIA have spent a lot of time collaborating on a common goal for SteamOS: to deliver an open-platform gaming experience with superior performance and uncompromising visuals directly on the big screen.

NVIDIA engineers embedded at Valve collaborated on improving driver performance for OpenGL;  optimizing performance on NVIDIA GPUs; and helping to port Valve’s award-winning content library to SteamOS; and tuning SteamOS to lower latency, or lag, between the controller and onscreen action.

The collaboration makes sense as both companies strongly believe in the importance of open-platform innovation, and both companies are committed to providing gamers with a cutting-edge visual experience.

Valve will deliver a great, open-platform gaming experience, and NVIDIA will continue to be the best choice for gaming on any open platform or operating system, including SteamOS.

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  • Scott Gurney

    Super happy about this partnership. The opengl support is very nice, and likely speaks volumes as to the progress on source 2.0 and ultimately- Half life 3 🙂

  • Paul_cz

     Very exciting, although I hope AMD had their engineers at Valve too, and you all worked on this together as one big happy family 😀

    Eventhough I already have my PC in living room, connected to both 24″ LCD and 55″ TV, the minute I can ditch windows, I will.

  • SpaceCaptainWarlock

    Given that AMD won the bid for the hardware in both the PS4 and Xbox One, Valve’s SteamOS presents a great opportunity for nVidia to really help drive the next generation of gaming toward the PC in a big way.  I’m excited about this collaboration.  I would really love to see the PC get the same level of game developer support that consoles currently enjoy.  nVidia’s support is crucial.

  • James Barr

    Please, please, please start doing a full-bore push forwards Linux open source driver development, Nvidia! If Linux can become a realistic alternative to Windows for PC gamers, the possibilities are staggering.

  • Phillip Kilby

    I’m going to give steamos a shot but see how I go first.

  • Manja

    This is great news. Great to see more gaming support for GNU/Linux. maybe someday the time will finally come to also have all games on GNU/Linux and have no need for any expensive and closed OS anymore.

  • Amish Crusader

    I want to see nVidia devs step up and start contributing to the nouveau project, for starters. Not just releasing docs that explained most things that have already been reverse-engineered. I wonder if this blog entry would have been made had it not been for AMD’s announcement. Two next gen consoles using AMD now, and Tegra 4 mainly a paper launch with 1280×800 as a reference design… get it together nVidia!

  • TheGameGuru

    Nvidia is on a roll right now.

    New partnerships with 4K display manufacturers, a partnership with valve to help develop this OS.

    They weren’t kidding when they said “The PC is our console”.

  • Ray Plant

     As from what I heard nvidia didn’t loose a bid, they saw money else where… Maybe this is it??

  • atikkur

    it’s glad to hear nvidia is supporting this great forces in the pc gaming universe of mankind

  • Adriano Manhaes

    FPS gain is expected in steam OS + Nvidia drivers ? At least for games, goodbye Windows.

  • Frank Kaufmann

    Please NVIDIA. Release some EGL capable Linux drivers. If Steam OS has to use X11 it’s just embarrassing. 

  • Brian Reed

    I dont get the point of SteamOS…. I can hook my PC tower to my TV already and play games. WHat am I missing here?

  • Nicholas Perry

    If we get good Nvidia driver support and the ability to force Anti Aliasing modes from a utility like Nvidia Inspector for this, I’m all in.

  • fm123

    Seems like they weren’t supposed to say anything until now.  They’ve been working with Valve on Steam streaming since at least last year, which is how Shield works.

  • atikkur

    the future of pc gaming, the freedom of valve that can do anything they want to their steam platform and not be dictated by directx or threathened by windows (win8 and later up that may ruin pc gaming/steam’s bussines).

  • virtualmatrix258

    Nvidia didn’t lose the bid, they didn’t even bother in the first place. Nvidia has other things up their sleeve. From new cards, Shield and Tegra. Let AMD at least survive off the console scraps.

  • Matthew Pierson

    So what you’re saying is that Valve is making an operating system for PC’s that is specifically for gaming?

  • Paul Bastin

    They totally should have used Nvidia’s APU’s… Oh wait…

  • Lee Chong Yew

    +1. I’m having a common issue with my SLI-enabled 100% NVidia rig (NForce750 motherboard with two GeForce GTX260 cards) where the USB ports randomly stops working. I have confirmed that it only happens with the NVidia graphics drivers installed, I’ve run up to 8 hours nonstop with the nouveau drivers and had not have a single USB port lockup, although the tradeoff is that the performance isn’t as good and the second card is left idling because there is no SLI support in nouveau. This seems to be a common problem, but the proposed fix (turn off MSI/MSI-X support in the kernel) doesn’t work for me even though it worked for some other people.

    If NVidia would just swallow their pride, give up on the idea of a universal binary blob and just help nouveau achieve a working alternative driver. Besides, the existing proprietary drivers aren’t going to work in Wayland either, which Ubuntu is migrating to by the next release? Ubuntu and it’s respins is one of the largest Linux userbase, if not the largest, and it’ll make sense for NVidia to ensure that their drivers work.

  • This_is_unreal

    Nope…it’s Optimized for Gaming…it seems that you can still use regular programs like a spreadsheet or word processor….hence the reference at Steam page that you could even control a robot with it.

  • Vanillacide

    Hope Nvidia have done something like AMD’s new Mantle in SteamOS.

  • Josh Morland

    AMD Mantle API and R9 290X GPU inbound.

  • Gilbert Cheng

    For this announcement and other shitty excuses from AMD for shitty drivers, such as doesn’t announce it’s releases early enough, blah blah; I’m definitely considering Nvidia for my next PC. Currently rocking dual 7870s with the shittiest experience on Linux.

  • Joe Gilbert

    It will be powered by Linux and optimized for gaming. Anyone can already configure a stripped down Linux distro yo boot into nothing but big picture mode, but this will make it easy. Plus the optimizations on top of that.

  • Saqib Mansoor

    LOL@console scraps. I like how you just single handedly reduced billions of investment for next-generation consoles like PS4 and Xbox One down to mere “scraps”.

  • virtualmatrix258

    Billion dollar scraps. It wouldn’t be the first time this has happened in the history of technology. Could’ve fooled me about the “billions” seeing as though the APU’s are stuck somewhere between 2010-2011….

  • Moribus

    Will users be able to play non steam games on that OS?

  • Ino van den Berg

    oke tim eto learn how to dual boot my win8x64 pc

  • Ino van den Berg

    oke time to learn how to dual boot my win8x64 pc

  • Boris_Furlong

    If i was building a new gaming PC, the last thing i would do is put AMD chips in it. Intel Ivy-Bridge FTW…that and of course a GTX series Nvidia card. In my humble opinion; the consoles have gone for cheaper parts in order to maximise profit margins. However if Steam is supported on these next gen consoles…it could be amazing.  

  • Dany Rioux

    Corporate shock for those nVidia employees when they go back “home” where things work differently. 😉

  • MaxxEnergy

    I am curious as to how the NVIDIA SHIELD comes into play with Steam OS. Since they both are built on Linux they should be able to work together. If they make the SHIELD the controller and Steam OS the launcher then I am very certain they will see a lot of sales. 

  • Kevin Kemble

    can u play origin games, use Skype, and web browsers? if do I probly will get it, if not its a deffinit no

  • rvfh

     You can run Linux and thus ditch Windows today. I have zero out of our six computers running Windows. I use Kubuntu.

  • rvfh

    I’d be curious to see whether Valve, after advocating for Free Software [1] will accept the proprietary NVIDIA driver. Or will they push the Nouveau driver?


  • Andre Prasetya

    any chances of nvidia shield running Steam natively ?

  • Sean James

     I would like to know this as well. I have a few games on Origin and one on uPlay (And yes, I realize that neither are very good) that I would like to be able to play on the SteamOS, should I get one. If not, I may just have to use a different one for them.

  • staraffinity

    Not having an ”entire” operating system running in the background with all processes that eat up resources you should be able to get more out of your hardware on an operating system geared for games, and Steam OS might be just that.

  • Frank Kaufmann

    1 week later and NVIDIA already listened! Not quite enough EGL to support Wayland but it’s happening!

  • Bio_c

    One more proof that my ideas are good. I was thinking in a Linux-based gaming system a month ago ( I really have to become millionaire to make my ideas become reality before others succeed with similar ones).

  • Wanton

    It’s a Linux operating system, not a Windows. So even if SteamOS would support other than steam games they would have to be Linux compatible. So I’ll say it’s 100% NO for Uplay or Origin games for SteamOS.

    But you can have dual boot. You can boot to SteamOS to play Steam games to get better performance from steam games and boot to Windows when you want to play Uplay or Origin games.
    If it installs anything like Ubuntu you can make it to dual boot very easily during install.

    You can probably install dual boot to SteamOS pre-installed machines too because it’s just a normal PC.

  • Wanton

    Read my reply to Kevin Kemble

  • Gareth

    if you are talking about the xbox/ps4 APU’s then….Well…. 2010 and 2011 APU and other hardware items are just cost effective.. they work well together when optimized and are within the budget.

    who would buy a PS4/Xbox1 if it cost $1500?… might as well get a pc… only reason people buy a console is because its a cheap way to get anywhere close to a decent gaming exp under a $2000 pc.. hell even 2k won’t get you top of the line.. mine cost me 2500-3000… moms laptop cost her $4000…..(latest MSI)

    I know Nvidia is a good quality brand and all but they are just to expensive for the average gamer…I had the choice of any $500 GPU last year October… it was either a 2GB Nvidia GPU or a 3GB AMD gpu…so mid range or top of the line? sorry but I took the 3GB and haven’t looked back =P.. so the point of that is if Nvidia won the so called “bid” Ps4/Xbox1 cost would of risen a few $$$$$$ because they are greedy =P

  • Gareth

    intel rules the CPU market BUT.. they are expensive… I looked and I could get a 6-8 core CPU which is overclockable for $300 and a 4 core I7 4770k = $450 where I live….

    So its understandable that people want a quick cheap build go for AMD over intel… I waited and bought my 2500k 3years ago….can’t afford to move over to a brand new Mobo at this time just to run AMD….same reason I am not on Haswell either =/ 1155 FTW!!!!

  • Gareth

    problem with that is none of those UI’s are user friendly… honestly I tried it and hated how confusing it was and some crap about the OS not supporting some of my games so bah… windows7 = perfect gamer OS… Win8 has to many issue’s with game compatibility and literally 0 “ or wiki” questions with solutions so you are literally stuck with your $60 game unable to play it…

  • Seth Forbus

    Maybe someday. I still have too many great games that rely on direct X. There is no pheasable way to get directX onto linux right now. Wine works but it takes way more configuration than I have time for sadly. I got selected for the steam hardware beta though so I will be trying some things with the steambox they send me.

  • Steve Starr

    You do realize that number of cores and clock speeds don’t really mean all that much right? Your 6-8 core AMD isn’t going to touch any Intel i7 configuration, it won’t even come close. The differance is in the cpu’s architecture. You should have saved your self money and bought the $450 i7 as its still cheaper than what you would have purchased from AMD to match it.