What we know: The idea of a Steam Operating System created by Valve has been present for a long time on the periphery of the industry, but in 2012 it picked up quite a bit of credibility after company leader Gabe Newell openly criticized the Windows 8 OS from Windows.Most fans of the company have seen the criticism as a way of suggesting that Steam, dedicated to an open gaming environment on the PC, was ready to create its own software layer, designed to facilitate gaming and other associated activities, like taking screenshot and uploading video.
Steam has not officially commented about the idea, but there were suggestions that it was prototyping the concept and that it might make an announcement once the OS was actually working.
The introduction of a Steam Operating System could also lead to the introduction of the set-top box that Valve was supposed to be working on as early as 2011, designed to make PC gamers out of all those who are currently using a home console and an HD television set.
Valve fans have also pointed out that the teams working on hardware at the company might make good use of Steam OS.
Why it matters: The Steam Operating System would represent a paradigm shift for gaming if it is ever announced and launched.
The biggest competition would be with Windows and, potentially, Linux for the desktop space but console makers would also be threatened as long as Steam OS could be used to power a cheap alternative controller solution, using the current Big Picture mode.
Valve might also think about pairing an announcement for Steam OS with that for the next installment in the Half-Life series in order to make sure that the gaming world eagerly awaits its arrival.
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