back to article The agony and ecstasy of SteamOS: WHERE ARE MY GAMES?

Gamers' perception of Steam over the years has changed considerably. This digital distribution platform, which was developed by Valve, was met with derision when it launched back in 2004 – but jump forward 10 years and Steam is the coolest kid on the block. What self-respecting gamer doesn’t blow all their money on a Steam sale …

  1. Greg D

    still early days

    but I predict greatness for this platform. Just need game developers on side, and driver devs to sort their crappy *nix drivers and we're laughing.

    1. yossarianuk

      Re: still early days

      > sort their crappy *nix drivers and we're laughing

      The Nvidia binary (non opensource) driver on Linux equals/beats Windows now - its only AMD drivers and opensource ones that are behind.

      i.e - here are Windows 8.1 vs Ubuntu 14.04 benchmarks

      http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=nvidia_ubuntu14_win81&num=1

      (hint - Windows loses nearly all tests)

      1. Greg D

        Re: still early days

        The big players have decent nix drivers. It's the other guys, like Broadcom, Realtek, Asus etc. that suck. You need more than just graphics drivers to run a machine ;)

      2. j0rdan

        Re: still early days

        They are OpenGL based benchmarks.

        So until the majority of developer make games using OpenGL instead of DirectX, which platform OpenGL runs better on is kind of beside the point when it applies to a small number of big triple A games.

        And studios aren't going to make the switch any time soon, the big reason they use DirectX is that it is much better documented and has a much bigger pool of talented developers with years of experience, which cant just be thrown away for the very small (from a commercial standpoint at least) benefits of OpenGL.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: still early days

          DX is extremely platform limiting. The only reasons nowadays that you'd start something new on it is if you've already limited your past time and knowledge on it (like you said), or subsidised by Microsoft.

          I used to be DX's biggest cheerleader. I did not know any better at the time.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: still early days

            Search another comment named "Directx is a load of horsesh..." right here on El Reg and you will find out you are not alone.

        2. Daniel B.
          Boffin

          Re: still early days

          Everything can and should be on OpenGL instead of DirectX. It used to be that everything was on OpenGL, it was sometime around the 2000s that some studios started using DirectX instead. But looking at the current PC gaming market, it seems everyone's switching back to OpenGL. And that's for full engine games; some use engines like Unreal that already do OpenGL on non-Windows platforms.

          Goodbye Windows, and thanks for all the BSODs.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: still early days

          Except that OpenGL is older, more stable, and is the first step towards making cross-compatible games. And the reason that's starting to be a big deal again is because everyone who is not Microsoft exclusively supports OpenGL as a standard, including Sony and Nintendo, as well as Apple. iOS and Android both use OpenGL exclusively for games.

          All using DirectX Graphics does now is limit you to Windows and the XBox.

        4. Fibbles

          Re: still early days

          Game developers switching to OpenGL will benefit you even if you're determined to stick with Windows as your OS.

          With OpenGL, the only thing that limits graphic features is the hardware support. If a game ships with the latest OpenGL 4.x graphical bells and whistles then you can use them so long as your hardware supports them. It doesn't matter if you're using Windows XP or Windows 8.1.

          With DirectX, it doesn't matter if your hardware supports the DX12 features that the game ships with. If Microsoft won't release DX12 for your version of Windows then you're stuffed.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: still early days

        "The Nvidia binary (non opensource) driver on Linux equals/beats Windows now - its only AMD drivers and opensource ones that are behind."

        No it doesn't. Major pieces of support are still missing (e.g. Optimus).

        Linux is about 5 years behind Windows in its support of modern hardware, that's a big gap to try and fill.

    2. NoneSuch

      Re: still early days

      Once I have Steam running all my games I'm off Windoze completely. The only thing left on my PC is Steam and my games. I do everything else on Kubuntu with ease.

      I have 155 Steam games currently. As long as the newer ones work, I'm happy.

      1. yossarianuk

        Re: still early days

        Kubuntu user here also !

        Of the major desktops KDE seems to be better for gaming than any Gnome3 based one.

    3. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Steam Streaming

      We're just dipping our toe into the following: A several years old gaming PC in the basement (i7=920, 6 GB, GTX280), running Steam under Ubuntu OS. It streams the Steam games over the LAN to any old non-gaming PC or laptop.

      The goal is the physical convenience of a laptop, combined with the gaming performance of a huge tower.

      We can't yet report on the results, but it's looking hopeful.

    4. Noel Bourke

      Re: still early days

      I don't know what he did here. I have the same BRIX platform running SteamOS and I have no graphics issues.

      And out of my steam library of nearly 800 games more than 300 run natively on SteamOS. I'm currently play Metro: Last Light.

      In my particular setup SteamOS makes a lot of sense. I have a beast of a gaming PC (i7 4970K, 2 X 780 Ti) in a rackmount chassis in the server room. Whatever isn't ported yet (and thats less and less everyday) I can stream at 4K!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: still early days

        300+ games, for a platform that's not fully ready yet?? WTF are people complaining about?

        The fanbois on here are getting worse... these forums are just full of people who'd rather spread FUD and bullshit about tech that isn't from their favourite company (usually MS).

    5. e^iπ+1=0

      Re: still early days

      Hmm, maybe some games don't work here.

      How about a count of approximate number of working games on various platforms?

      Does the steambox beat anything using such a metric? In particular I'm curious as to how it might compare to the current Wii (which seems to be a bit of a fail) on such terms.

  2. Steven Raith

    Some suggestions

    Serious Sam 3 and Metro Last Light are available on it, and are both top fun.

    Metro Redux should be out on it soon, too.

    I like the idea of SteamOS, but my Ubuntu+Steam box does me fine for now.

    1. NumptyScrub

      Re: Some suggestions

      My main gripe is that of my 280+ title Steam library, maybe 35 are available on *nix. That's an even worse percentage than the 55->18 quoted in the article.

      To be fair the 35 was a year or so back, when I only had 250ish games and installed Steam on my Mint miniPC just to try it out. But it shows that I am, currently, still stuck with needing at least one Windows box if I want to play the vast majority of titles I've already bought. :(

      1. yossarianuk

        Re: Some suggestions

        They have Civ 5, once you start playing that you'll have no time left for anything else anyway.

        There are actually 600 games now in Linux Steam.

        http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=MTc1NDI

        1. NumptyScrub

          Re: Some suggestions

          A lot of my recent purchases have (or will have) Linux ports, and the day is slowly approaching that I'll not need to factor a Windows license in to the cost of the next big upgrade.

          Having said that, an awful lot of the Linux games on Steam are the indie devs (not necessarily a bad thing) and a lot less of the major publishers. I should probably fire up Steam on the Mint box again and see how much is now available, hopefully I'll be pleasantly surprised :)

          (Note: I've got no need of Civ5 because Destiny is due to be my next major time sink)

          1. Steven Raith

            Re: Some suggestions

            I refuse to buy any game that isn't released on Linux these days, even though I do have a Win7 install with Steam on it. Which is not a very effective tactic.

            I email the publishers contact email address/contact form explaining why I refuse to buy it, however, even though I could play it on the Windows side, which is probably more so.

            My wallet is here, fuckers. Just give me an excuse to throw the contents at you.

            Steven R

    2. el_oscuro

      Re: Some suggestions

      My Ubuntu + Steam box runs games better than any other PC gaming system I have ever used.. Here games just work. The one that didn't work, it told me my video drivers were too old. They were - the card was 6 years old. I but an updated video card for $50 and poof! everyting works. I wish my Windows gaming experi\ence was this good.

  3. weebs

    FerretGirl20?

    1. Yag

      I sense a lot of steam friend request incoming...

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Can't wait for it !

    Not before 2015, you say ? Well, okay then. I have a GB partition all ready for it on my PC.

    Because of course I'll be using my PC.

    1. dogged

      Re: Can't wait for it !

      > I have a GB partition all ready for it

      That could be an issue.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Pff, silly me. A Terabit partition, obviously.

        1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

          That could also be an issue!

        2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Pff, silly me. A Terabit partition, obviously.

          Ow ow ow. Having a major GOML moment here.

          Why, when I were a lad...

  5. Andy Tunnah

    Never gonna replace windows

    On other forums, especially ones with a less mature, more "I think numbers are a perfectly acceptable replacement for letters" type crowd, the same argument is always cropping up - SteamOS will never be a true contender for a console as it's Linux at heart, and only a small fraction (and certainly no new AAA titles) get released for it.

    All these Steam Machines with ridiculous hardware and GTX780Ti cards just to play 5 year old indie games is daft.

    It's an admirable effort, however it feels almost like false advertising, you'd be surprised by the amount of less well informed or tech savvy folks who assume SteamOS = Windows Steam standalone.

    1. Steven Raith

      Re: Never gonna replace windows

      Those people clearly aren't well informed or tech savvy.

      Anyway, as noted, Metro Redux will be out on them, and Cryengine has full support, the next Source engine, too.

      You are spot on however, that it's a chicken and egg scenario - if they don't make games for it, no-one will use it. If they don't use it, no-one will make games for it!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Never gonna replace windows

        > You are spot on however, that it's a chicken and egg scenario - if they don't make games for it, no-one will use it. If they don't use it, no-one will make games for it!

        And also the next Unreal tech.

    2. phuzz Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: Never gonna replace windows

      When Valve first released Steam the only reason most people installed it was because it was necessary to run Half Life 2 (but oh how we grumbled, especially those of us still on dial-up).

      Valve could do the same to drive uptake of SteamOS. Personally I can't see Half Life 3 (or L4D3 or whatever) being a Linux exclusive, but even a one week exclusive would drive a massive increase in users.

      Also, just by releasing games on Linux Valve are helping the platform, whether it's passing bug fixes and performance enhancements upstream, or just raising the profile of penguin gaming. A lot of the most used game engines (eg Unity) make it pretty simple to export to Linux (and OSX) as well as Windows now.

    3. Grifter

      Re: Never gonna replace windows

      >>and only a small fraction (and certainly no new AAA titles) get released for it.

      Blah blah so much fail. There has been literally an explosion of games that are available for Linux since Steam came out. Now we're waiting for Van Helsing 1 to come out of beta, just heard Dead Island is about to come out. In September we're slated for Wasteland 2, Killing Floor 2, the new Gauntlet is coming out around there as well. Is Witcher 3 triple-a enough for you?

      Why on earth would it 'replace' your windows gaming? At _most_ it would complement it, so what's the bitching about?

      How about this, since the availability of titles available for Linux is just a small fraction, why don't you get off the comments and go play the remaining fraction of titles. That'll really show us Linux users!

      1. Andy Tunnah

        Re: Never gonna replace windows

        Whoa there fella calm down I've got nothing against Linux, and nothing against SteamOS.

        Yes there has been an explosion of games...but not major titles. Dead Island and The Witcher being on Linux from launch is great, however those other games aren't AAA titles. As gamers they're coveted IPs and especially the older crowd will love them, but the gaming landscape isn't catered to us.

        And about it complimenting your Windows machine, that doesn't make sense, anyone who has Windows has absolutely NO reason to boot into SteamOS - you have the full catalogue of titles at your disposal already, you don't need to go into SteamOS.

        I understand you're passionate about Linux and that's fair enough, however you just sound like an out & out spoilt little brat with that last paragraph. I have nothing against Linux and would love to see it gain market support, but as it currently stands, and as stood for a long time, gaming on PCs means Windows above anything else.

        1. Boothy

          Re: Never gonna replace windows

          Quote: "anyone who has Windows has absolutely NO reason to boot into SteamOS"

          A lot of PC gamers are all about the framerates, if OpenGL gaming is faster under SteamOS than the same game under Windows (which seems to be the case from various tests I've seen), and as you automatically get access to all platforms supported when you buy a game, (i.e. you don't need to buy the game again), then I could see quite a few people setting up a dual/multi-boot rigs.

          A lot of gamers are used to dual/multi boot anyway, i.e. Win 7 64 + Win XP 32 for those legacy games that don't play nice under 7 and/or 64bit.

          Although I suspect the main use, would likely be something like an Intel NUC sat under the TV with SteamOS on it, and a Windows PC in another room, streaming to the NUC.

        2. Grifter

          Re: Never gonna replace windows

          Look clearly you're not into Linux, which is fine. I'm not into cars for example, don't know a thing about them, don't care about them whatsoever either. Likewise for that same reason I don't expect someone who doesn't really care about Linux to know anything about it.

          Yet whenever the topic of Linux gaming comes up on the reg there is no shortage of people disseminating as if they are the authority on the issue, when they've only substituted knowledge for an emotional decision of what the truth is. They don't care so they don't know but they have an opinion thus it must be truth. Infact a lot of people are openly hostile to the idea of gaming on Linux; You think I'm passionate about Linux, but you're wrong, I'm merely reacting defensively to the hostility.

          What it usually all boils down to when you strip away all the superficial complaints is this: “You should not play games on Linux because there are more games for Windows than there are for Linux,” and while that discrepancy in quantity is absolutely a fact, it also absolutely misses the point which is; it doesn't matter one bit if there are two million games for Windows or twenty million, you're never going to play them all anyway.

          So we have fewer titles, but we have an intense growth rate and a fair quality of the available titles, many of which are indeed contrary to your assertion major titles. You say gaming on PCs means Windows, but I've been gaming ever since I made the switch, and for me gaming on PCs means Linux.

          The games I mentioned in the previous post are certainly not triple-a titles (apart from W3), and if you thought that's what I meant then I must have expressed myself poorly, I apologise for that, those games are merely ones that are just around the corner and games that I personally await with great eagerness to play, I used them as examples of what is currently going on, every month new games are revealed and it is a very exciting time to be a Linux gamer.

          As for triple-a titles, there hasn't really been enough time to tell what's going to happen and if you hear anyone claiming otherwise, then you know they're full of it. I'll grant you that you could be correct and there won't be any Linux ports at launch of any upcoming triple-a titles, you could also very well be mistaken (I certainly hope you are).

          What you should consider however is the list of engines available for Linux, some which have been finished porting this year, we have Linux games running on Unreal Engine 2 and UE 3. UE 4.1 is available now as well, and since Epic has previous experience with Linux it seems extremely likely that the new accompanying UT feature a Linux release. On the CryEngine side we have a triple-a title called “Homefront: The Revolution” which will feature same-day Linux launch. Another CryEngine game I'm really looking forward to is “Kingdom Come: Deliverance”, though I don't know if that one counts as triple-a, either way the combat system looks bloody brilliant. Unity is another very popular engine. Point is, there is so much going on -- too much to mention -- and so much available that triple-a just seems inevitable. Time will tell, not prophets of discontent.

          Shoutout to S2 Games, Savage and HoN/Strife for life, more Ferraris for Maliken! Thank you guys for unwavering Linux support!

          1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: Never gonna replace windows

            The Qty *does* matter because high numbers improves that odds that they'll have the ones you want.

            I don't actually watch 520 TV channels available from my provider, but several of the ones I *do* want are not available from the provider that offers "only" 260.

            Number matter.

            1. Grifter

              Re: Never gonna replace windows

              Sorry but that's a terrible comparison, you wouldn't buy 520 games only to be able to play a few. The whole business model of cable tv is to inundate you with extra channels that you really don't want but must pay for in order to get the one you do want, it's almost extortion.

              If numbers are what matters to you for games, then I'd say you're more of a collector than a gamer. But that's ok, to each his own, there are plenty of Linux games and plenty^2 to be released, if that isn't enough for you that's also fine, noone is going to break into your house and replace your windows machine with a linux one.

    4. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

      Re: Never gonna replace windows

      Given how closely the PS4 and XBone are hardware-wise, this may free up enough in-house developer resources to add Steam-OS to the mix.

  6. MJI Silver badge

    Steam on Mint

    Done it here and it was about 3/4s of the games.

    UEFI worked fine.

    Oh and of course the other boot was 7, the owners did not want 8 at any cost.

    Games performance is fine on both OSes

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Steam on Mint

      I see the MS shills are out in force,

      So was I downvoted because someone did not want Windows 8 or because they dared to want dual boot?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Steam on Mint

        Don't take it personally, if you talk negatively about any Microsoft product.. you'll get a few downies on you.

        Let me demonstrate: "I don't like Notepad" (see the downvotes?)

        I've been using Windows, professionally, long before these fanbois. It's my right to speak badly about them.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Steam on Mint

          Personally I am wondering if the MS Shills change their porn picture every time they change CEO.

          After knocking one out to their picture of Steve or Bill, do they knock one out now to the new chap?

        2. dogged

          Re: Steam on Mint

          > I've been using Windows, professionally, long before these fanbois.

          I'm confused by the notion of "Windows fanbois" or "MS fanboys". Nobody's a "fan". I don't believe they exist. I use the products and will admit some of them are good but enthusiasm? That'd be like being a fan of British Gas or your local waste removal contractor. It's just a thing you use.

          To be honest, I suspect this is why I get irritated by people who get all fanboy about linux or Google or Apple. You don't start internet flamewars about Powergen versus eon, do you?

          Pathetic, really.

      2. Daniel B.

        Re: Steam on Mint

        So was I downvoted because someone did not want Windows 8 or because they dared to want dual boot?

        I'm guessing because someone didn't want Windows 8. The MS shills think that Windows 8 being refused by non-techies is heresy speak and does not exist at all.

  7. Gene Cash Silver badge

    No thanks

    I've bought Minecraft, Don't Starve, and Kerbal Space Program straight from the sources, as I think they deserve full dosh for their games w/o a cut for a middleman.

    I also read the Don't Starve & KSP forums, and the number of sob stories involving Steam is pretty high. Their games won't play or update without a lot of pain.

    For me, when KSP releases an update, it's probably a hell of a lot easier to download and unpack a zip file than to deal with Steam.

    I think they have a way to go.

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: No thanks

      Steam is great for all those old games that come by for a few bucks in the sales and make you think: I should play that. I certainly wouldn't buy any big price games directly from steam.

      When games are easily available directly from the source, I don't see the added benefit of steam.

      1. Lionel Baden

        Re: No thanks

        Didnt pay a penny to the steam sales this year.

        Steam is getting overrun, by shitty developers building quarter of a game, releasing it and not doing anything else.

        A few indie games is ok but the amount they now have is getting ridiculous, Please can we get a decent fully made game without built in DLC.

        If you like me you will be looking forward to Toxikk, its worth googling :D

      2. roselan

        Re: No thanks

        "When games are easily available directly from the source, I don't see the added benefit of steam."

        Convenience.

        I didn't even know KSP was available from their website, nor do I care. Without Steam, I would never have known of the last games I played/bought. It's long past I bought a gaming magazine, or even visited a gaming website. And it's kept up todate without me having to do anything.

      3. Len Goddard

        Re: No thanks

        A major advantage of steam is that it bypasses the extreme pain of upgrading windoze or migrating to a new machine.

        MS have never really caught on to the concept of an upgrade - generally it is a case of reinstalling all your software and attempting to recreate your old configuration after they've moved all the settings around for no good reason. With your games in a steam library you just download steam and reinstall as/when you play them - no more searching around for old CDs/DVDs etc.

        Of course, this is not an issue under linux where upgrade-in-place is generally well supported.

      4. Tim Bates

        Re: No thanks

        "When games are easily available directly from the source, I don't see the added benefit of steam."

        Well when the publishers decide Steam is the better method of selling, and make their DLC Steam only, it does start to matter... Euro Truck Sim 2 fans who bought non-Steam are a little disappointed right now.

    2. Hellcat
      Coat

      Re: No thanks

      I remember the days (and I mean sometimes days) of searching for a decent mirror for the latest countre-strike patch. When Steam came along with 1.6 it was both a blessing and a curse. No more malware infested click-lottery downloader sites - but also forced updates which could screw up offline lan gaming

      Mines the one with the Steyr AUG in the pocket - not a Bullpup!

    3. Long John Brass Silver badge

      Re: No thanks

      Have a +1 for KSP

      Personally I'd love to see the SPB PixHawke renamed MechJeb

  8. AceRimmer

    Alternative Steam OS

    My primary computer is a Linux Mint machine, except when i want to play games, then I boot into My Steam OS AKA Windows 7

  9. P. Lee Silver badge

    I have 34 games

    Out of around 130 which run on Linux (openSuse in my case). To clarify, Steam on Linux isn't beta.

    Apart from L4D2, hl2 etc from Valve, Civ5, StrikeSuitZero, Metro 2033, Serious Sam, Trine2, Witcher2, Amnesia et al, Dota2, Frozen Synapse, Swapper, Dungeon Defenders and a stack more.

    I do miss Defense Grid, but DG2 is coming to linux soon. Whoohoo! SSZ was lots of fun as are some of the smaller indie games such as swapper, frozen synapse, limbo etc.

    I wouldn't get a NUC for games though. I rarely get cutting edge stuff, but I have a 680GT running to power a 27" screen. You'll want something quick for FPS where streaming really doesn't cut it. Streaming works well for Monkey Island 2 though!

    I suspect the devs are comming on-side with general portability for consoles and OSX meaning linux is an easy addition.

    1. A Known Coward

      Re: I have 34 games

      Of the 91 steam games I own, 53 run on linux. Currently playing XCom: Enemy Unknown (Enemy Within) and Metro Last Light.

      Debating whether I'd enjoy the X3 series (Terran Conflict, Albion Prelude, Reunion), loved the space combat aspect of X-Wing vs Tie Fighter back in the day, but not sure whether the whole accounting/trading side of X3 would be fun.

      Will definitely be buying Metro 2033 Redux when it's released and may buy Witcher 2 when they've shaken out the bugs. Looking forward to all the games (including AAA titles) which are due to arrive on the platform, especially since so many of the AAA engines have been ported to Linux in the past year.

      1. Salamamba

        Re: I have 34 games

        Terran Conflict is excellent, and the ability to build entire fleets means I'm still playing it (having bought it when it was released). I can't play any later verisons though, as I have a serious loathing of Steam.

        I used to use Impulse (from Stardock) before that got sold, and had no problems, but I found steam buggy, I ave issues with the resources used by it, and the way it desperately wants to run whether games are being played or not; and the (still) ongoing problems with running games offline.

        I'm obviously not the target demographic for this system.

      2. P. Lee Silver badge

        Re: I have 34 games

        One further thing, PlayOnLinux seems to include an additional large number of my windows games.

        However, I've struggled for some time to get FarCry2 running under it. When it finally got up and running the mouse felt a bit unresponsive and it crashed fairly soon afterwards. It would be great if Valve could put in some work on WINE to get a whole host of older less demanding games up and running - stuff that no-one is likely to port natively.

  10. msknight Silver badge

    Haven't steamed for a while

    I got Steamworking under linux a while ago, but the dearth of games meant that I didn't bother. Played Half Life again a bit and that was it. I'm back on modded Minecraft and renting a server in the US.

    They will have to really break the game/platform problem before I'll enjoy spending time in Steam again, like I used to in the dark days of Windo$e.

  11. DrXym Silver badge

    It's unlikely to improve

    Porting a game from Windows to Linux is a large undertaking. If you're lucky, the game was built with OpenGL and other cross platform libraries which at least raises the hope of being able to port it. If you're really unlucky then it's all DirectX and Win32 and it might have to be rewritten or compiled against winelib.

    Either way you now have two platforms to build, test and support and potentially two separate release schedules. And this assumes you still have the source code and the resources to spare to port the game. Many companies can't even find the money or resources to port a game to the Mac or Wii U because the return isn't there. It means SteamOS is only ever likely to have a fraction of the games of Windows.

    It seems more likely to me that SteamOS will only succeed as a platform for cloud gaming. The game can be streamed from a Windows device, or a Linux device - it doesn't matter to the client. It also means people don't have to buy an expensive PC - SteamOS could be a Chromecast style stick plugged into the TV, or even integrated into the TV itself. That's where the platform will succeed or not - as a cloud gaming client. The fat SteamOS could still exist and perhaps gain traction from the success of the thin client version - there is still benefit from running games locally. But by itself I don't see it stands any chance.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: It's unlikely to improve

      I think otherwise.

      People are starting to get pissed off with Windows, they want alternatves. As to coding, in the console world they are already handing different APIs and OSes.

      How much work to move from a version on BSD (Most well known gaming versions being CellOS and Orbis OS, as well as Vita OS and Apples OS.) using an API influenced by OpenGL, to Linux with OpenGL?

      So if there is a Playstation version as well as a Windows version, it will not be a huge job to go Linux.

      The gaming engines are almost all multi platform (excluding the first party engines from the likes of Naughty Dog & co) So when the engine you use goes Linux most of the work is done.

      To be honest Direct X and the Windows platform is a minority among the amount of platforms, just that a lot of people own one of the three.

      DX Windows, X360, XB1

      Open GL, Linux, Mac OS

      Bespoke APIs Playstations - all 3 current

      No idea - Nintendo

      1. Steven Raith

        Re: It's unlikely to improve

        Don't forget mobile games, which are primarily OpenGL-variant based.

        Targetting for OpenGL is very sensible these days and most major engines now have support for both OGL and Linux (Unreal engine, Cryengine, Source, power a substantial slice of all AAA gaming) so building it for linux/OGL is effectively a compile switch and some debug; just like compliling for XBone/PS4/MacOS/Windows is just a compile switch and debug, because PS4 and Mac OS can't use DirectX, so you need to target OGL anyway, unless you are doing a Microsoft exclusive title.

        DirectX is not a niche target obviously, but it's dominance has never been less certain, which is a good thing IMHO.

        Steven R

      2. DrXym Silver badge

        Re: It's unlikely to improve

        "People are starting to get pissed off with Windows, they want alternatves. As to coding, in the console world they are already handing different APIs and OSes."

        An OS that runs a tiny fraction of the games on hardware which is capable of running all of them isn't much of an alternative. Someone could boot Windows straight into Steam Big Picture mode and have ALL OF THE GAMES. Plus games they bought from other services like Origin / UPlay / GOG etc. Plus any other apps they'd like to use through a TV like Netflix, XBMC etc.

        "How much work to move from a version on BSD (Most well known gaming versions being CellOS and Orbis OS, as well as Vita OS and Apples OS.) using an API influenced by OpenGL, to Linux with OpenGL?"

        A lot is the answer. The kernel is largely an irrelevance. It's the services and APIs that sit on top that matter and if they differ in any substantial way then that implies a lot of porting.

        "So if there is a Playstation version as well as a Windows version, it will not be a huge job to go Linux."

        Yes because a Playstation game doesn't have huge swathes of SPU code to port, or RSX specific shaders, or hardcoded assumptions about the platform such as handcrafted assembly designed for an in order PPC CPU, or low level memory / timing hacks, or a backend compiled against PSN services, or assets which are optimized for 720p resolution displays or other platform compromises.

        Porting from the PS3 version of a game would be even worse than porting from the PC version. At the least the PC version is designed to run on a similar hardware architecture as the SteamOS, is likely to be more scalable and is likely to target AMD and NVidia GPUs. But even if its written in OpenGL and other portable libraries it still represents work, testing and support.

        We can already see how many companies bother to port their PC titles to OS X even with tools like Cider. The answer is a mere fraction. The effort is greater and the return is less from SteamOS. Why should they bother?

        1. MJI Silver badge

          Re: It's unlikely to improve

          Porting from the PS3 version of a game would be even worse than porting from the PC version.

          I was not on about porting from PS3 (although that seemed to be quite common in the last few years) but about the fact if there is a PS version there is already non DX code there. So if you have code already written for other platforms adding yet another would not be a show stopper.

          As I mentioned only 3 platforms currently supported use Direct X, Windows (XP to 8), And the two most recent DirectXBoxs 360 and 1. One of those platforms is HUGE, but it is only one platform.

        2. P. Lee Silver badge

          Re: It's unlikely to improve

          There's a difference between Windows on a generic box and a Windows games system.

          Do you think MS will want competition for xbox? How much does even an OEM license add to a system? Is it possible that Steam want an alternative to Windows because an aggressive Windows App Store could easily squeeze them out?

          This isn't just a, "be nice to the linux desktop users" move, this is Valve making sure they aren't locked into an OS with a vendor well known for turning on its partners. It's also Valve providing a system which should be as easy as consoles to manage. The trick will be getting people to invest in the up-front costs of a steambox in return for the steam sales available later.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's unlikely to improve

      Speaking as a developer... Windows is a pain in the ass. Linux is easy if you're building a new game engine with OpenGL. It keeps getting better while Windows decays into a fragmented hell like Linux was 10 years ago. While I try to maintain a Windows build, it's an afterthought.

      Expect to see some SteamOS exclusives, at least from indies.

      For marketing purposes... SteamOS and Linux have a "cool factor" where Microsoft only has volume. Guess which is more important for a niche developer who's happy to get 10,000 sales.

      1. AceRimmer

        Re: It's unlikely to improve

        "SteamOS and Linux have a "cool factor" where Microsoft only has volume Guess which is more important for a niche developer who's happy to get 10,000 sales."

        Hopefully the Volume option if they want to stay in business and continue to make games.

        1. MJI Silver badge

          Re: It's unlikely to improve - AceRimmer

          Well it is cheaper to add Linux to a Windows PC than Windows to a Linux PC.

          What was interesting was that a P4 booted into XP struggled to run 1 game, rebooted into Mint 15 and it ran fine.

          Linux is the ONE platform you can add for free!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's unlikely to improve

          "Hopefully the Volume option if they want to stay in business and continue to make games."

          Not for a niche developer.

          The volume option means more support, idiot customers, more competitors. Have you ever released anything on a Microsoft platform?

          1. AceRimmer

            Re: It's unlikely to improve

            "Have you ever released anything on a Microsoft platform?"

            Yes

            I'm a Microsoft SQL Server BI Contractor...

            I try and leave contracts before releasing anything but usually fail and have to do the release.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's unlikely to improve

      > Porting a game from Windows to Linux is a large undertaking.

      That's becoming less and less of the case.

      Many games these days are using standard engines. If they support Linux as a target then a lot of the heavy lifting has been done.

      Valve's efforts to get their titles to Linux will accelerate as Source become more mature and consistent on the Linux platform. I think this is likely to be true for a lot of games as general stability and engine support becomes more mature.

      1. E Haines

        Re: It's unlikely to improve

        The reason it *is* likely to improve is because it's becoming less and less common to write games entirely from scratch, which need to be ported by hand. Instead you use a pre-made engine of some sort, which has support for multiple platforms out of the box, so the "porting" has mostly already been done for you. This makes it far more economically sensible to make games available for platforms with smaller marketshare.

        1. DrXym Silver badge

          Re: It's unlikely to improve

          "The reason it *is* likely to improve is because it's becoming less and less common to write games entirely from scratch, which need to be ported by hand. Instead you use a pre-made engine of some sort, which has support for multiple platforms out of the box, so the "porting" has mostly already been done for you."

          The likes of EA, Activision etc. have in house middleware engines for their games. Even if they ported those engines to Linux it doesn't mean that porting is as simple as a recompile. Go look at the credits of some game and there might be as many or 30 or 40 people working on a single platform and hundreds in total. It all requires development effort, testing and continual support. Why do you think so few PC games get ported to the Mac let alone to Linux? It's because the potential return isn't justified by the effort.

          As for indies, yeah they could use Unity or similar, assuming they fork out for the Pro version. It still costs time, effort and money to test and support that platform.

          1. DrXym Silver badge

            Re: It's unlikely to improve

            I love the thumbs down I'm getting for stating the reality of porting games. Cognitive dissonance at work from people who Want To Believe (tm) I suspect.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: It's unlikely to improve

              DrXym, have you actually tried game coding in Linux within the past decade?

      2. DrXym Silver badge

        Re: It's unlikely to improve

        "That's becoming less and less of the case."

        About the only chance you'll port something easily is if its written above the OS and abstracted away from its details, such as a JVM, or QT or similar and that isn't applicable for most games.

        I really shouldn't have to explain this. Anybody who has ever had to port anything from one disparate platform to another could tell you how painful it is to do. Even if the problems are surmountable it is still time, effort and money - things that a company must justify by the potential return to bother. And they won't justify it for the negible returns of SteamOS.

  12. Ross K
    Thumb Down

    Being forced to put some extra hours into Half Life 2, Rust and Don’t Starve wasn’t too painful, although I did miss being able to play my new RPG game of choice: Divinity Original Sin.

    Are game saves not stored in The Cloud™ or anything?

    Some Steam games will play on Windows but not linux/SteamOS?

    What's the point? it seems like a fairly half-arsed setup...

    1. Greg J Preece

      Were you expecting that games would miraculously work for Linux overnight? Valve doesn't have a $make_linux_worky_time_now variable in their code, you know.

      I find it interesting that we didn't have this same kind of FUD and blah-blah about it being completely pointless when the OSX version came out. Perhaps - and this is just my defective brain at work - more games will appear on Linux over the course of time? Most indie games I look at now seem to release for all three platforms.

      I was in the Steam for Linux beta. Back then I had around 30 games available to play, mostly Valve. Now I have 130, so perhaps a better way of looking at it is that the number of available games for the platform has more than quadrupled since release. I'll bet money it's got more games available than any of the new consoles, but no-one calls them pointless for being new.

  13. JonP
    Coat

    Dr Freeman would be proud*

    ... but I imagine he's getting more than a tad frustrated being held in limbo waiting to find out what happens next for 7 years!

    *obligatory HL2 ep3 / HL3 whine.

  14. PaulM 1

    Microsoft will hijack Steam Boxes just like they hijacked netbooks

    I have noticed that Steam Box suppliers such as Alienware have been shipping PCs originally designed to be Steam Boxes with Windows 8. I suspect that Microsoft will charge next to nothing for Windows 8 on Steam Boxes. Gamers will then have a choice between running 100% of their Steam games under Windows 8 on their Steam Box or only 25% under Steam OS. This is what happened with the Netbook where Linux was killed off by Microsoft offering Windows 7 virtually for free on Netbooks. Windows 8 Steam Boxes are not completely bad news for people wanting cheap games. A steam game can cost 90% less running under Windows 8 than it does running on an Xbox One.

    1. Ross K
      Gimp

      Re: Microsoft will hijack Steam Boxes just like they hijacked netbooks

      This is what happened with the Netbook where Linux was killed off by Microsoft offering Windows 7 virtually for free on Netbooks.

      Are you serious? You think linux flopped on netbooks because of Windows 7?

      First of all, cast your mind back. XP Home was installed on netbooks long before Windows 7 Starter existed.

      Secondly, anybody who ever used that godawful linux distro Asus installed on the original Eee PC will know better than to blame Windows.

      You linux fanboys are hilarious - you think every obstacle in the way of linux is somebody else's fault. It doesn't say much for the quality of the OS when it couldn't compete with XP Home...

      1. PaulM 1

        Re: Microsoft will hijack Steam Boxes just like they hijacked netbooks

        "You linux fanboys are hilarious"

        The only Linux programming that I have done has been for embedded Linux systems. My desktop PC and my Netbook are Windows systems. To me the value of desktop Linux is to stop Microsoft becoming too controlling and greedy. I have a Windows 7 Netbook and I am grateful to Linux for forcing Microsoft to cut the cost of Windows 7 on my Netbook from $100 to $10.

        1. Ross K

          Re: Microsoft will hijack Steam Boxes just like they hijacked netbooks

          I am grateful to Linux for forcing Microsoft to cut the cost of Windows 7 on my Netbook from $100 to $10.

          How did you come to that conclusion?

          Nobody was offering Linux as an option on netbooks by the time Windows 7 rolled around, so I wouldn't think much of your theory.

  15. djack

    Zotac Steam Box

    I followed the link about Zotac's upcoming steam box. Full, glitzy press release oh! and product details ...

    ZOTAC Previews ZBOX Steam Machine

    Intel Core processor (TBA)

    NVIDIA GeForce GTX graphics processor (TBA)

    Other details TBA

    Final naming TBA

    All-black 3rd Generation ZBOX chassis

    Orange lighting

    SteamOS preinstalled

    Steam Controller bundled

    Coming 2H 2014

    Ahh, informative.

    I found that complaining about the (beta) installation process of an OS that is still in beta, and is targeted for self install only by people comfortable building their own rig from scratch, or bought pre-installed on a system to be a little disingenuous.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    a thought

    SteamOS is "open source, free and negates the idea of platform"

    except the platform is now the Steam delivery system. You still need that to play the games?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: a thought

      You're able to take the OS, modify it, re-build it, and put it on whatever machine you wish.

      You can't even fart on a modern console without sirens going off.

      The delivery system is how they make money. Without it, they get no money. Without money, you get no games. It's not rocket science, is it?

  17. Downside

    platform independant hahahahahahahahahahahahahhahaha

    SteamOS is not platform independent - just the opposite! It's the Intel PC architecture.

    If all you want to play is a Limb-o-like indie, then some little 200 quid fag-packet linux box (not including 512GB SSD) will be just gggreat. If you are wanting to play Dragon Age 5 or WoW with any decent framerate, you're going to be disappointed.

    The reason the existing consoles work is that they provide a stable fixed target to aim at for devs. A continually evolving hardware bundle like the steam boxes will be will just not work.

    Are you going to throw away last years SteamBox because this years version from Alienware has much better gfx? If you're a PC centric gamer, of course you are...that new game doesn't run well on the last years model you've got.

    That's what you do all the time with your PC. New gfx card this year, oh a new PSU because the last one wasn't meaty enough, oh more memory, oh new CPU is out so new mobo and...

    Valve don't really care - they are coining it in from you all right now ! You already have PC's and why would you no just connect up your pc to your TV? You probably already do. If they cared about games, they'd get around to writing some rather than milking you all just as much as Sony, Microsoft and Apple do.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: platform independant hahahahahahahahahahahahahhahaha

      It's obvious to me that you know nothing about SteamOS. And I'm only vaguely curious about it.

      You're just bias, towards your favourite platform, and you'll trash-talk anything else without bothering to investigate or research.

    2. Greg J Preece

      Re: platform independant hahahahahahahahahahahahahhahaha

      That's what you do all the time with your PC. New gfx card this year, oh a new PSU because the last one wasn't meaty enough, oh more memory, oh new CPU is out so new mobo and...

      Actually, it isn't. I can get PC components that will outclass console gear for not a lot of money, and sit on them for years at a time. Last PC was 7 years old when I ditched it, and that was because I moved. This new scratch-build didn't cost me all that much, and it can blitz anything currently on the market without blinking. I imagine I'll sit on this for quite some time too.

      BUT

      If I do decide that I want to upgrade a part of it, I can. And with a console?

  18. Avatar of They
    Thumb Up

    Loving it so far.

    @Downside

    I have been streaming my steam games onto my ASUS transformer prime, borderlands 2 running via limelight, which is the steam streaming android thingy.

    Ran okay despite pants controls (touch screen) and pants wifi. But the development of where Steam is going is always forwards. My transformer prime is a 5 core (apparently) 1.6? but my game machine streams it beautifully. Consoles are locked and all games are limited by the hardware, updates only do so much. and you are left with not much innovation in games and then the market stalls, giving you 14 odd rehashes with little new ideas (Rage, Dragon age, Skyrim...) that might be nice for the console junkie that wants another COD incarnation, but if GFX don't move on (COD ghost), the games suffer as the PC now follows consoles, badly (Watchmen toning down their GFX for example).

    Really good future for gaming all round to have someone do something other than yet another XBOX money making device, or Sony lock in.

    And it breaks the reliance on MS which is also nice.

    .......BUT 500GB install... Holy jeez... WTF???

    1. A Known Coward

      Re: Loving it so far.

      I'm going to guess that it doesn't require anything like 500GB for the OS, but it recommends at least that much free space to install games into. After all with just 250GB and with some games running to 20+ GB you'd only be able to install ~10 games at a time.

      Look at this way, a full linux desktop with email, openoffice etc can be installed into a parition of few gigabytes (if you're really careful about what you install far, far less). The linux steam client is a few MBs in size. There's no way that the SteamOS can consume 500GB, that has to be for the partition it will install games to.

      1. Steven Raith

        Re: Loving it so far.

        The beta install is based on an image, taken from a 500gb HDD (As that was the hardware spec for the Steam Machine beta hardware - 500gb hybrid SSD drive).

        There are a multitude of ways of getting this down to well under 20gb (I ran it in a VM that was 20gb in size and it didn't have any problems fitting), which I'd expect the final version will managed using a standard Debian-esque guided install.

        HTH.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reboot into gaming OS???

    I used to do that back in old DOS days, when you had to carefully load your config.sys and autoexec.bat files in such a way that, from your 640kB of base memory, 600kB had to be freed for the game, while still loading CD-ROM, mouse, and soundcard drivers in higher memory. Lines such as SET BLASTER=A220 I5 D1 H1 were just as clear as plain English.

    It was painful, dull, tedious work of several hours before any game could be properly played. I just had a floppy drive with the correct boot sequence for each game. After that, I managed a completely different HDD where DOS would run, and just changing the boot drive in BIOS.

    I was not fond of either method. I'm either building a machine from spare parts to run SteamOS, which kinda defeats the reason I bought high-end parts for gaming, or I won't even touch it. I'm too tired, too grumpy, and too old to fiddle around with partitions, BIOS settings, and angry Windows setups that will gladly corrupt other OS'es boot partitions without prior consent.

    Every Linux partition I have installed so far was royally pwned by whatever Windows version I happened to be using, from Windows 2000 to Windows 7. Better yet, GRUB felt unable to restore the partition without causing Windows to pwn it again on the next reboot. Been there, done that, climbed that mountain, bought the T-shirt and Coffee Mug, and I have the scars to prove it.

    So yeah, definitely buying or assembling an old machine just for a SteamOS test-drive. If it is cool enough, I will put the SteamOS machine right next to my PS3 on the living room.

    1. Steven Raith

      Re: Reboot into gaming OS???

      It seems odd to me that because Windows keeps fucking up your Linux installs, you'll stick with Windows.

      That sounds like stockholm syndrome to me, sir. Although in my advanced years (32, I'm such a codger) I'm getting lazy about that too.

      I'll give you one tip of advice though, which may well change your outlook; assuming you're using GRUB as your bootloader, try out grub-rescue on a bootable Ubuntu USB drive.

      That program is the Arthur C Clarke definition of magic, and a must if you want to dual boot, but don't want to be dicking about with manually remapping your boot sector.

      Peace out!

      Steven R

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Reboot into gaming OS???

        I needed Windows for some irreplaceable stuff. But I loaded another machine with Linux and found peace.

        Lazy.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The way I see it there's really no good reason not to develop quality games for Linux based systems now other than the small market. Considering how expensive making a game is I can fully understand why the big studios have not bothered to embrace Linux to date. For a while now it's just been crying out for someone to do something like SteamOS, I would put money (not a lot mind) on SteamOS doing very well. Of course there are a couple of caveats to that prediction: they have to minimize the pain in the first 30 minutes - this can be done by selling boxes with SteamOS pre-installed but they also need to tidy up the installer by the sounds of it. They also need to add other features to the offering, Netflix would be the obvious first addition, like it or not games machines are more than just games machines now.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Netflix would be the obvious first addition"

      and it just so happens chrome on linux is gaining netflix support. they wouldn't even have to try hard to add netflix (embed chrome, point it to netflix).

      thanks to open standards.

      1. AceRimmer

        Chrome on Linux is NOT getting netflix support

        Chrome on Linux can be spoofed into running netflix

        http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2014/08/netflix-linux-html5-support-plugins

        1. MyffyW Silver badge

          I'd be (pleasantly) surprised to see Netflix on Linux, but I'm not holding my breath. I suspect Netflix will ignore Linux just as long as they can, if only for not-entirely-justified DRM reasons.

          Still, the success of XBMC and SteamOS will likely exert positive pressure.

  21. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Yeah, Ubuntu goes psychedelic too

    "I don't know what he did here. I have the same BRIX platform running SteamOS and I have no graphics issues."

    I don't either, but I've seen it -- the Ubuntu boot logo (the word "Ubuntu" with some dots underneath that change color as it boots) shows up all psychedelic on boot on probably 1/4th of the systems I've installed it on (JUST the boot logo, once it boots into X it looks fine, and text consoles also look fine.) It doesn't seem at all consistent, I'm sure I've seen two computers with the same video chip (something old like an intel 945) where it did it on one and not the other; it's not consistent based on if you have ATI, NVidia, or Intel chip either. I haven't noticed it with Ubuntu 12.04.5 (or other 12.04.x version with the newer "Trusty" kernel and X installed).

    So, I don't think he did anything, I think Steam has the same buggy boot graphics code that Ubuntu does (both inheriting the Debian code probably) and he's got one of the 1/4th of installs that goes funky on boot.

  22. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Not drivers

    Just to be clear, I don't think Steam games are missing due to Linux drivers -- even the ATI ones are pretty good. (And the Intel ones have vastly improved the last year or two). I could be wrong, but I think a few of the games on SteamOS are Linux native, and quite a few more are still "for Windows" but are running under (I would assume customized) wine. I would fully expect Valve will improve wine compatibility, and as they do more and more of these other games will then be "SteamOS compatible."

    Luckily for everyone involved, a main weak point in stock wine is that they are unwilling for legal reasons to put in workarounds for rights restriction systems (DRM) on games (one system for example tries to load a kernel module -- which of course doesn't work since wine doesn't have an NT kernel to load modules into; a few other DRM systems decide things look a bit fishy, conclude they are running under a debugger, and abort the game.) Steam games usually have disabled any DRM systems the non-Steam (CD or downloadable) versions of the game may have.

    For those who have not seen games or apps run under wine... compared to installing a game in Windows, it installs so much faster in wine you'll think the installer has malfunctioned (the "write out a bunch of small files" workload is MUCH faster in wine on Linux than in Windows). Running typical apps (those that work), those that are CPU bound run the same in Windows or Linux; those that make intensive Windows calls tend to run a bit faster and lower CPU useage compared to in Windows. Games of course are not a typical app. I would estimate (a few years ago) that the overhead of running a Direct3D game was approximately 10-20% (due to Direct3D->OpenGL conversion overhead and possibly slower drivers at the time), running games that support it in OpenGL mode avoided this overhead (since the OpenGL calls can essentially be passed right on.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not drivers

      I don't have Wine installed, due to it providing a platform for viruses (ie, windows), but when I tried it last year I was surprised how well it ran.

      Sure, UI was a bit ropey and it had a few incompatibilities... but performance wise, I was amazed.

      MS should nick some of their code.

    2. Grifter

      Re: Not drivers

      >>I could be wrong, but I think a few of the games on SteamOS are Linux native, and quite a few more are still "for Windows" but are running under (I would assume customized) wine.

      You sure are ;) Games on steam are native, other than a few very old adventure games like the Tex Murphy games, there the game is bundled with dosbox. However it's the same release for all platforms, i.e. the win version is also bundled dosbox. The Witcher 2 is using a compatibility layer called eON, which is probably setting up gog's windows-only catalogue for linux release, just a guess though. Other than that it's all native, to the best of my knowledge anyway.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Love Home Streaming

    Running a Dell Studio 17 laptop (basic AMD gfx, 4GB), wired to a 24 inch monitor, as a rig in one room. In the lounge is an i5 Shuttle with a GTX660.

    Streaming Tomb Raider (new), Saints Row 4, Stick of Destiny and Bioshock Infinite from the Shuttle works faultlessly on my laptop. And work faultlessly in Big Picture mode from my sofa.

  24. enerider

    Was running Windows 8.1 Pro - until it ate the bootloader one day

    ...since then I've been running under Debian.

    I have Steam for Linux installed and running, which does exclude some titles.

    I also have Steam running under PlayOnLinux - which covered the other games in my Steam library.

    I even have MechWarrior Online running in a PlayOnLinux instance. (Current bug preventing the installer from running however - CryEngine game itself works fine)

    So far, I'm not really missing anything. Steam under PlayOnLinux runs The Ship quite happily once you turn off the Steam Community thing, for example.

  25. veti Silver badge

    Where's the revolution?

    How exactly does SteamOS "negate the idea of platform"?

    All I see is a new gaming platform, to compete with Windows, PS et al - not one that merges them all and means I can do away with my old machines.

    That's fine in its own right, and when it can run the games I care about I'll consider it. Right now, I'm looking down the list of games that can run on it, and I'm not seeing a single one I actually own; but let's give Steam the benefit of the doubt, and assume that every single Windows game will eventually be ported to SteamOS. (Although exactly who is going to do that work, or why, is far from clear. Do you think, for instance, Bethesda Softworks would see more return from (a) porting Skyrim to Linux, or (b) putting that same work into developing TESVI?)

    Even then, all I see is "just another platform".

  26. Robinson

    sooo..

    From the opening paragraphs what I'm getting from this article is that you went ahead and installed it on non-recommended hardware and then you were shocked and disappointed that it was hard work getting it set up.

    News at 11?

  27. goldcd

    Does Steam OS support linux games, not bought through Steam?

    Reason I ask is that currently the choice seems to be a subset of your games, versus removing Microsoft from your PC.

    Just thinking of the games I have (e.g. Battlefield4), which aren't available on Steam in any format.

    Concern would be that I'd be converting my PC into an unsubsidised walled garden than gave Valve all my cash.

    My win8 upgrade license cost me about £30 I think - this all seems an awful lot of messing about to avoid it.

    1. Grifter

      Re: Does Steam OS support linux games, not bought through Steam?

      Yes you can add a non-steam (linux) game to your steam library, it's just a matter of pointing a shortcut to it, you'll have to supply it your own custom icon graphics if you want it looking nice.

      But as for battlefield or any other windows-only game, I've no idea, I suppose if you wanted to wine it, you could just make a shellscript wrapper that launches bf4 through wine, and then add that wrapper as a non-steam game.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Does Steam OS support linux games, not bought through Steam?

      FYI- like a lot of Linux distros, SteamOS is built on Debian 7, a stable vanilla release for people who know what they want. I just use deb7, not steam or steamos... but I guess Valve just added a nice default GUI and all the drivers+libraries you might need for a gaming box, the goal being to "just work" after beta testing.

      WINE runs some Windows games decently, probably not the latest AAA titles but certainly lots of indie & older titles. Total crapshoot of course. May work one month and not the next.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It now has competition

    The Steam OS delays must have annoyed hardware manufacturers. They've had systems ready for the best part of 12 months.

    They now have 1 interesting rival, and that is Windows 10.

    Valve needs to release Steam OS before Windows 10 or it will suffer.

    Computer users will find it easier to jump ship than Console users.

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