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Even though it might not be that big of a surprise it is an incredible smart move by Valve. With SteamOS, Steam for Linux/Mac/Windows they are essentially hitting all targets (disregarding mobile, at least for now. Gabe hinted that mobile also was in their plans). Providing that Valve also will be able to offer other services than games this could be a major threat to the Xbox One and PS4.
Short term (this generation, so, maybe the next 7 years or so) I don't think it will be a threat.
Next generation though, when constant pressure has been on for X years and the channels have woken up to selling OEM SteamBoxes?
Samsung Galaxy SteamBox? HTC Steam? A hundred competitors rather than "the big three".
Exciting stuff! 8D
If streaming from the Windows version of Steam in Wine works out, it might be a solution to those people who want Wine support in Steam. Assuming they're going to let you have both clients open, as it sounds like you would need for the streaming to work anyhow.
If it works out, I can see myself putting a box in the closet for streaming my old Windows library to my main Linux machine.
You can already log into Steam from the same account multiple times, you just can't be playing more than one game at a time as far as I am aware. What I am guessing is that there will be a new tab in your library for Windows games, the Windows box will already have the Steam client running and when you go to launch the game from the Windows tab on your Steam box it will send the signal to the host machine that will launch the game and start accepting the controls sent from the Steambox and streaming the media back.
if the initial release is going to focus on the SteamOS operating as a streaming client then it doesn't matter a jot that it is based on an old version of Ubuntu runing X.
with due deference to the chap who mentioned that coding full-screen games against SDL makes the display server largely irrelevant, i'd be very surprised if they were still using/specifiying X when phase two arrives with the SteamBox capable of natively running games.
at that point, i'd be disappointed if I learned that they had opted for Mir over Wayland.
i am curious as to whether Valve would be tempted by using Mer as the core distribution...
SteamOS is a dedicated OS if you want a streaming box and media PC in your living room. It's not a general purpose OS. They confused this message. No Linux user is going to swap out Ubuntu on their main system for a video game OS.
Haha yeah. Amazing how retarded the average Ars commentator is. They think Gabe wants them to format their Windows PC and switch to Steam OS. They also don't seem to understand that Steam OS and Linux is not an attempt to replace Windows Gaming. Steam OS (Linux) games will have better cross-plattform support than anything that uses DirectX shit.
Well maybe thay are just reputation management staff from MS marketing department