FULL STEAM AHEAD

Why Valve may be the next big name in your liv­ing room.

HWM (Singapore) - - Think - BY HUR­RAIRAH BIN SO­HAIL

In ad­di­tion to mak­ing the ac­claimed Half-Life and Por­tal game se­ries, Valve owns Steam, the world’s most pop­u­lar online game dis­tri­bu­tion chan­nel. But it’s not con­tent to just be a de­vel­oper and dis­trib­u­tor of games – Valve wants to be a pres­ence in your liv­ing room, with their own gam­ing hard­ware. Here’s what we know. op­er­at­ing sys­tem they’ve dubbed SteamOS.

Gabe Newell, co-founder and CEO of Valve, has gone on record to call Win­dows 8 a “catas­tro­phe”, at the same time he has stated his be­lief that Linux is the fu­ture of gam­ing. See­ing that Valve’s own ti­tle Left 4 Dead 2 de­liv­ered a 270.6 FPS base­line when run­ning on Win­dows 7 with Di­rect 3D driv­ers, while the port to Ubuntu 12.04 32-bit clocked in at 315 FPS, Gabe Newell may very well be right.

With SteamOS, Valve is putting its money where its CEO’s mouth is. Not only will the op­er­at­ing sys­tem be op­ti­mized for gam­ing, it will also pro­vide ac­cess to other ser­vice such as in­ter­net con­tent stream­ing. Ru­mors have all but con­firmed that mu­sic-stream­ing Spo­tify will be one of the plat­forms in­cluded. With their own op­er­at­ing sys­tem and hard­ware plans re­vealed, Valve com­pletes the set with their own Steam Con­troller, which Valve says of­fers a “vastly su­pe­rior” way to play from the sofa.

The Steam Con­troller does away with the joy­sticks and re­places them with dual, cir­cu­lar, high-res­o­lu­tion track-pads. Hap­tic con­trol has been added with the help of mag­nets. A four quad­rant touch screen is also placed in the mid­dle of the de­vice. Valve has stated that the Con­troller will be com­pat­i­ble with all past, present and fu­ture ti­tles to be dis­trib­uted over Steam.

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