Join Jonathan Sears for an in-depth discussion in this video What are Steam and SteamOS?, part of SteamOS for Developers First Look.
Before we dive into all the exciting features that Steam and SteamOS offer, well, we need to talk about what are Steam and SteamOS? To begin with, what is Steam? Well, Steam is a digital distribution network. And what that basically means is, it's a store. It's a place where you can buy games, you can buy applications, and you can even buy user-generated content. They've been selling games for years. Applications was a new development, but user-generated content was truly a landmark change in the Steam store.
Now, users are able to submit and share their own content, and even make royalties off of it. So the platform has evolved a great deal. But it's also more than that. Steam is a social entertainment network. So how is Steam social? Well, there are over 75 million users on Steam, and so far, there have been as many as 7 million users on at one time. That's the current record. Who knows, maybe it'll be 10 million by next year. But also, Steam actually offers some rudimentary social networking aspects.
You can add friends. You can message them using the messenger application. You can look at other people's profiles. You can share content, such as, screenshots, or videos from in-game. You can create guide books and share those with other people, but also, you can even sell and trade things with other members online. You can even do it in-game. But what is SteamOS? Well, if Steam is all about playing games, SteamOS is about playing games in your home theater.
SteamOS is a linux-based operating system for the home theater environment. Basically, SteamOS is designed to take a computer and turn it into a console-like experience. As such, it has a console-like system menu. It has full controller support, including controllers like the Xbox 360 controller, and the upcoming Valve controller that has not yet been released. It also has media capabilities, and this means a couple of things. First of all, it means right now you're actually able to load your music onto it and play music whenever you like.
What it also means is that in the future, there are going to be plans to add things like Netflix, and other streaming services, so that you can actually make this computer the center of your home theater. Lastly, it also includes things like family sharing and family viewing. Family sharing means that everyone in the family can use the same copy of a game. Previously, with Steam you had to have your own copy per account in order to play games. Unfortunately, that meant that in a family of four, you might have to have three or four copies of a game or risk playing over someone else's saved game.
In this way, you're now able to play games with someone else's account. And lastly, family viewing is basically a way of hiding content that may not be appropriate for children. If you're interested in learning more about the company that makes Steam, Valve software, I recommend checking out their website. Also, if you're interested in downloading the regular Steam client, you can go to store.steampowered.com and click Install Steam. We'll discuss how to download Steam OS in a later video. So as you can see, Steam is a very unique service allowing games and applications to be distributed digitally to people all around the world.
And Steam OS allows you to take that experience into your home theater and enjoy in a new way that wasn't previously possible.
- What is SteamOS?
- Understanding how the Steam Store and community work
- Understanding Steam user purchase habits
- Working with the Steam Cloud
- Creating an online marketplace with Steam Community Market
- Developing for Steam machines
- Preparing a game for Steam and Steam Greenlight