SteamOS, the highly anticipated software platform for gamers, will launch on Friday, Valve, the company behind the platform, has confirmed.
In addition to launching SteamOS, Valve says that it'll make available 300 prototype Steam Machines and controllers to those who signed up for the Steam Machine beta test. The Steam Machine is essentially a PC designed for the living room that will allow gamers to play titles through SteamOS on their televisions.
SteamOS was announced earlier this year as an ambitious project to bring yet more streaming to the living room. The Linux-based platform comes with Steam's Big Picture mode, allowing users to play titles through Steam with a controller. The service, in other words, attempts to turn standard mouse-and-keyboard PC gaming to controller-based, couch-sitting gaming.
Beyond gaming, Valve envisions SteamOS being a platform for streaming television and movies, as well as games that are already running on a Windows or Mac box.
Although Valve is trying to boost its chances of getting SteamOS off the ground with Steam Machines, that might not be the main thrust of its sales pitch to customers. SteamOS is a relatively lightweight platform that can run on just about any machine. So in theory, any computer could be a "Steam Machine" and will provide the same access to Steam OS as Valve's own devices.
Valve was quick to point out that trying out SteamOS right now might not be the best move, however. The company said that it's only in beta and it might prove to be a stripped-down version as it adds more features.
"[Steam OS] will be downloadable by individual users and commercial OEMs," Valve wrote on its community site. "(But unless you're an intrepid Linux hacker already, we're going to recommend that you wait until later in 2014 to try it out.) We'll post info soon about that."