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PC gaming to hit your front room with Steam OS

Valve makes huge pitch for the big(ger) screen with a new Linux-based OS

The next generation console war has suddenly become a whole lot hotter with PC gaming giant Valve's announcement that it is to release its very own operating system designed to run on your living room TV.

Valve, which owns the incredibly popular Steam digital distribution platform, is one of the biggest players in the PC gaming market, and with SteamOS, it now seems to be making a concerted attempt to take on the might of Sony's PlayStation and Microsoft's Xbox.

SteamOS will be Linux-based, and it has been designed with living room-based PCs in mind. It aims to give users complete access to download its current platform's library of over mostly paid-for 2,000 titles. What's more, Valve plans to allow users to use something they're calling 'in-home streaming' to share games between their main PC or Mac to TVs elsewhere in the house.

The firm says its new system will allow family members to share their Steam libraries between individual accounts, taking turns to play them.

The announcement describes SteamOS as "a collaborative many-to-many entertainment platform, in which each participant is a multiplier of the experience for everyone else".

It adds: "Content creators can connect directly to their customers. Users can alter or replace any part of the software or hardware they want. Gamers are empowered to join in the creation of the games they love."

"In SteamOS, 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," the announcement runs. "Game developers are already taking advantage of these gains as they target SteamOS for their new releases."

Valve is also promising to work with media services to give users access to music and video. Further details on this are so far not forthcoming, but the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One will both be offering TV and film streaming services like Netflix when they are released.

This is the first of three announcements scheduled by Valve this week. Last week a teaser site went live, featuring a mysterious image that seemed to hint at the possibility of some sort of games console - perhaps the Valve-branded 'Steam Box', which has been rumoured in some form or other in the tech press for the past year.

steam teaser.JPG