Remember SteamOS? Once upon a time, Valve had big dreams that they would make a real gaming OS that would be an open source competitor to Windows.
While SteamOS hasn’t quite gotten to 100 % compatibility with Windows, Valve has come a long way to getting it to the point where it supports most gamers’ libraries. In fact, for many gamers, it has rapidly become their favorite gaming OS, competing not only with Windows but console OSes as well.
Now, at the cusp of launching the Steam Deck OLED, Valve is now talking about SteamOS again, and making it available for everyone. It isn’t happening anytime soon yet, but they do have something surprising to say here.
As reported by PC Gamer, here is what Valve’s Lawrence Yang has to say about it:
“Oh, man, it’s very high on our list, it’s on our list and we are working on it. But a lot of the same people that would make the general install of SteamOS available are the same people that are making Galileo [Steam Deck OLED] work.
We’re hoping soon, though, it is very high on our list, and we want to make SteamOS more widely available. We’ll probably start with making it more available to other handhelds with a similar gamepad style controller.
And then further beyond that, to more arbitrary devices. I think that the biggest thing is just, you know, driver support and making sure that it can work on whatever PC it happens to land on. Because right now, it’s very, very tuned for Steam Deck.”
You read that right. Valve does want SteamOS to run on Steam Deck’s competitors. They want it on the ROG Ally, and the Legion Go, and GPD’s and AYANEO’s family of devices.
In fact, Lawrence got into a little more detail on what challenges Valve intends to face head-on to make it work:
“There are a lot of things that have to be supported, but we are still very interested in that. We would like to see it, especially on all these other handheld devices, like we were working with them and hoping that we can get SteamOS running on them as well, because we think it is a really good customer experience. And we think that more people should have access to it.”
Now to some gamers, this will sound a lot like Microsoft wanting to get Game Pass onto PlayStation. But Valve has every reason to be selfless and really offer their SteamOS to their competitors.
And it’s very similar to how Microsoft has been running their Surface hardware line. These companies want to enable mass adoption of their OS, because it benefits them. Valve may argue that they ultimately want what’s best for the industry, but obviously if they can sway gamers to play their Steam libraries outside Windows, than Valve would have successfully emancipated themselves from Microsoft.
For the past few years, fans who did want to install SteamOS on their devices ran to a very clever alternative; HoloISO, a fork of SteamOS based on the recovery image Valve makes available to Steam Deck owners if they brick their console. While this has worked out for those gamers who know how to make it work, it won’t be long before Valve will give us the official support we want for their OS.