SteamOS and the Steam Box from Valve is poised to take on the Xbox One and the PlayStation in a fight for the living room.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, when you compare the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 against a Steam Box running SteamOS, PC gaming hardware is always likely to win out.
[UPDATE] Valve has officially named the SteamOS-powered Steam Box the Steam Machines and is hosting a beta testing contest.
Valve’s strategy for grabbing market share for the SteamOS and the Steam Box is remarkably similar to how Google gobbled up so much of Apple’s iOS7 market share with the Android operating system. Like Android, the SteamOS will be offered for free to hardware manufacturers. Also like Android, Valve will make money on SteamOS through the Steam store, which is comparable to Google Play. Both Google and Valve make their money by taking a small percentage of all purchases made through Google Play and SteamOS’ store. As a comparison, Steam on just the PC boasts over 50 million users while Xbox Live “only” has 40 million.
Both Sony and Microsoft have announced plans for providing streaming TV for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Microsoft even plans on making TV, gaming hybrids where TV episodes are connected via video game episodes. While Valve hasn’t announced anything like that for the SteamOS yet, most people assume Hulu and Netflix are a given. Since SteamOS and the Steam Box are open platforms it’s possible game developers could choose to release such hybrid entertainment experiences on the SteamOS as well.
Valve is asking hardware manufacturers to create multiple tiers for the Steam Box, which is essentially a guideline for hardware specifications. For example, there might be a free SteamOS-based Steam Box that’s mostly good for simple games and watching TV and movies. But a $300 Steam Box would provide the full gaming experience capable of matching the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
Of course, those familiar with Microsoft’s Xbox One DRM woes might be aghast about the SteamOS. The Steam store is all about digital downloads and DRM has been integral to its existence for many years now. Still, Valve is aware of the controversy so they recently announced Steam Family Sharing, which allows up to 10 family and friends to freely share the digital games they’ve purchased (with some reasonable caveats). But the SteamOS license also allow any Steam Box to run other game stores, so it’s possible we may even see GameFly on there in addition to the possibility of using DVD or BluRay game discs in addition to digital downloads.
Do you think the SteamOS and Steam Box can compete with the Xbox One and PlayStation 4?