The nascence of the SteamOS brings with it good tidings and cheer for all… well, mostly good tidings and cheer for PC gamers. The SteamOS is an open-source platform designed to force Linux into the mainstream and Paradox Interactive has announced that they are in full support of this idea, with some of their newer titles being designed to run natively in SteamOS.
In addition to this, games like Crusader Kings 2 and Europa Universalis IV, both designed to support Linux, will also run natively in SteamOS. According to Johan Andersson, Studio Manager of Paradox Development Studio…
“We have been developing for SteamOS for quite a while as it’s basically the same as the Linux version Steam runs,” … “CK2 & EU4 should run on it natively, as it runs on Linux on Steam, and all our future games will as well. We think SteamOS is great for gamers, as it will give far better performance on the same hardware than Windows does.”
Valve’s SteamOS is not only designed to be an open platform but, as Andersson mentions, it’s designed to provide better performance through a bypass of mid-layered APIs and clunky operating system procedures. Instead, the OS provides developers near direct-access to the hardware, similar to AMD’s new Mantle GPU API that allows developers to tap directly into the power of a GPU and harness it in the same (or a similar) way to console developers. Meaning, better, faster, more proficient optimization and performance for the end-user. PCs are now closer to consoles than they’ve ever been before.
This is very important because of a few things: it means that there’s no longer an excuse for people not to get into PC gaming because a cheap PC for about $200 will give you comparable performance to mid-to-high-end gaming with the proper GPU. It also means that there’s less reliance on middleware like DirectX to filter out performance or bottleneck a developer’s direct access to the hardware’s capabilities.
Paradox’s CEO, Fredrik Wester, added that…
“We are actively expanding the number of published games on SteamOS—and as Johan mentioned, [Paradox Development Studio] is fully supporting SteamOS already,” … “SteamOS is a great thing for PC gaming; competition means more choices which, in the end, should favor gamers.”
It looks like there are good times ahead for PC gamers and casual gamers looking to get into PC gaming. Hopefully the Steam Machines are reasonably priced to help bring in new gamers as well as give all those who are afraid to step into hardcore PC gaming a nice alternative from the sometimes fearful looking and high priced PC Master Race peripherals that carry price tags that would make a used car salesman blush.
The SteamOS is scheduled to launch in early 2014 alongside the Steam Machine and Valve’s new Steam controller. There are exciting times ahead.