SteamOS 'will destroy traditional consoles'

SteamOS 'will destroy traditional consoles'
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

March 20th 2014 at 12:39PM

Faster hardware refresh cycle and open system will make Steam Machines a success, claims Leadwerks CEO Josh Klint

Valve's SteamOS and array of upcoming Steam Machines will destroy the traditional console business, claims the CEO of middleware firm Leadwerks.

Speaking to Develop about the rise of Linux, Josh Klint said the SteamOS had a number of compelling advantages not least of which was its compatibility with the PC ecosystem.

He also said that a faster hardware refresh cycle for Steam Machines compared to the PS4 and Xbox One would mean the platform could keep up with industry changes and new technical developments, much like the regular mobile phone and tablet upgrades.

“I expect that SteamOS is going to destroy the traditional consoles,” he states. “The first couple of years will be rough, but the platform’s advantages are compelling. First, SteamOS is compatible with the PC gaming ecosystem, going back a decade. Second, the Steam Machines will have a much faster hardware refresh cycle, with new models coming out every year, while the PS4 and Xbox One were obsolete at release.

“Finally, because SteamOS is an open system anyone can develop software and hardware for, all the benefits of free market economics will come into play, leading to a greater diversity of products and more innovation. I’m amazed the console industry has been locked down by three companies this long."

Linux Foundation executive director Jim Zemlin put the rise of Linux in the game industry down to the traditionally closed console platforms from Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft. It should be noted however that the firms have attempted to address this with the Xbox One, PS4 and Wii U with new self-publishing programs, although Zemlin disagrees.

"One of the main reasons the gaming industry is embracing an open approach is to get away from increasingly closed and locked-down approaches that are characterised by the Xbox One and PS4," said Zemlin.

“An open OS like Linux engenders widespread collaborative development and contributions, which will pave the way for gaming hits of the future. We all know that one huge hit in the games industry can be transformational, but finding the hits is incredibly difficult. Today’s gaming pioneers such as Valve understand that the hits will come from the bottom up, largely created by users.”

You can read our full feature on Linux game development, featuring comment from Valve, Unity, Leadwerks, the Linux Foundation and Ryan Gordon, here.