Living in the Now!

Learning to enjoy my life more!

My take on Valves latest endeavours.

on 11/06/2012


This is just an idea I had while driving down the motorway with my wife and talking about things. So this is pure speculation, I’m just connecting dots in my head to see if I can figure stuff out.

Recently there has been news that Valve are working on a Linux port of Steam, this has been a bit of an on again off again piece of news with no real substance other than little bits here and there. They have advertised and hired Linux developers to work on porting Valves Source engine to Linux, screen shots of Steam running in Ubuntu have circulated. (but the Windows version of steam runs fine under Wine for Linux.)

Then I remembered some roumors about a Steam console and it suddenly struck me, Valve might be thinking about running a custom Linux install as the base for the OS on the new console.

Think about this

Any modern console has a nice flashy interface to access the consoles different features, Steam is a PC based client for buying and playing games so the logical step for it to move onto consoles would be a PC OS with PC hardware. That would allow for easy development of titles across platforms, but companies like to brand the whole user experience. Windows isn’t customizable enough for a company to change it significantly, that’s without mentioning the security flaws and other issues and same goes for OSX.

So what’s left, no point in developing your own OS from the ground up when Linux and BSD and a plethora of other PC OS’s exist. Also its free of licence fees, the core of the OS is being developed by developers all over the world so Valve don’t need to worry too much about that. They can put their own completely custom UI over the top of it and make it the way they want. Control what software is installed and running on the console and what updates are rolled out, and if Valve are so inclined could release the OS as it’s own Linux distribution so people can make they’er own Steam console.

What this means for Valve

Valve wont have to spend huge piles of money on R&D to make custom hardware and develop software and elaborate programming languages to run their system. they get to hit a new platform with new titles and by hitting that new platform they will also be hitting their own console too.

Using standard PC components will mean that they wont have to develop their own customer GPU’s, CPU’s etc so that will keep costs down not just from a R&D point of view but from a manufacturing point. Ultimately this could filter down to the actual sale of the console and it could be sold competitively.

Because of the nature of PC hardware they could also make it modular so that it can be easily upgraded on a regular basis so that it can always be more powerful than its competition.

What this means for Linux

Valve developing games and running its own platform on Linux will mean massive positives for Linux. There will be quality games being available on Linux, and hopefully Valve will get involved with helping Linux develop and grow by contributing to Linux projects. More people to start paying more attention to Linux as a platform for the home and with the disaster that will be Windows 8 this could be the time to take the fight to Microsoft and Apple. But I’m getting a little carried away now.

But when even Richard Stallman is saying nice things (in his own unique way) about Valve coming to Linux (sorry GNU/Linux) then could this be something to celebrate and look forward to.

My Opinion

This is just what I predict and I know I may be shy of the mark on some points and I may be in a whole other dimention on others but overall I genuinly think there could be a link between Valve coming to Linux and making thier own console.

What do you think? let me know in the comments.

EDIT: Ok so after writing this post I watched the Linux Action Show, they very briefly touch on this. So I decided to do a Google search, wow, have I been living under a rock!

Well I’ll leave this post here as it gives some reasons why this could be good.

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