Valve announces Linux-based SteamOS aimed at taking over your living room

PC gaming powerhouse brings its popular distribution front-end to the TV screen

PC game developer and publisher Valve Monday took the wraps off SteamOS, a software platform designed to combine the company's gaming offerings with existing living room entertainment.

Launched online via a website that displayed a countdown until 1 p.m. EST, SteamOS is based on Linux and will be offered free of charge to users and made “freely licensable” to hardware makers that want to create devices based around it.

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Valve says that the OS is heavily optimized for gaming and multimedia performance.

“We have achieved significant performance increases in graphics processing, and we’re now targeting audio performance and reductions in input latency at the operating system level. Game developers are already taking advantage of these gains as they target SteamOS for their new releases,” the company's statement said.

Although Valve promises further details “soon,” the initial announcement left plenty of questions unanswered – the company didn't offer specifics on availability, hardware or software partners, or system requirements. An email was not returned as of this article's publication.

However, it's worth noting that the same site that was counting down to the SteamOS launch now has a second countdown in place, implying that there will be more news coming around mid-day Wednesday.

Long the subject of rumors among the gaming community, SteamOS isn't the first move to try and unify the rest of the living room entertainment stack with video games in a single box – Microsoft was eager to play up the Xbox One as an entertainment center at its May launch, and the PlayStation 4 made a similar pitch.

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

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