SteamOS Is Now An In-Home Cloud Gaming Solution

SteamOS Is Now An In-Home Cloud Gaming Solution

SteamOS has been available for a while in a less-than-complete state, for those who want to try it out and provide feedback to the developers. But just recently, Valve has unlocked the two most in-demand features: dual-booting, and streaming. The latter can be used as your own in-house cloud gaming setup.

While many were waiting for the dual-boot functionality to arrive to they could try the OS out without dedicating an entire system to it, I’ve personally been on the edge of my seat in anticipation of making my own cloud gaming setup. Of course, it’s not really the “cloud”, but SteamOS allows you to stream gaming from your main PC to another system in the house. If you’ve got a TV in a separate room and a Steam account full of title that work well with controllers, like me, then this can be a very good thing.

Considering people are currently wondering whether to spend money on a Xbox One or PS4, a cheap, self-made Steam box could be a much better option. Provided you’re already a member of the glorious PC gaming master race, one could build a Steam machine quite cheaply, and just stream games to the small box connected to the TV in the living room. Not only would the hardware be cheaper, but games on Steam cost significantly less.

The downsides? Gaming on the actual SteamOS requires games that work on linux, though that library is ever-increasing. And while you can play any Steam game from your PC over stream, due to the extra links in the chain, there will be a small amount of latency to deal with. There’s a hands-on of the streaming over at PC World. I wouldn’t play twitch FPS on it, but then again, that’s something best left for the PC anyway. Whether you try fast-paced action titles with 3rd-person melee combat is up to you, as I imagine that’s right on the border between feasible and frustrating. But turn-based strategy? Casual indie? Everything else? Absolutely.

Due to the ARM nature of the Raspberry Pi, I don’t believe it would work well with SteamOS, but I’m happy to be proven wrong about that. What I am certain of is that one could make a machine for considerably less than the cost of a new gaming console, let alone one of the official Steam machines from 3rd party vendors. I’m excited to see what people come up with.

You can download SteamOS with its new functionality here.


  • I’ve been using Steam In Home Streaming in Beta for a month or two now between my pretty awesome Windows PC and my very underpowered 2011 Mac Mini with an Xbox 360 controller hooked up, and for the most part it works great.

    Definitely better for more arcade style games.. been playing mostly older games like Bastion and Fez, and you’re right.. while the latency is minimal, it does make FPS games more difficult, even if you are playing with a controller and have aim assistance enabled, but I have played through bits of Bioshock Infinite and Borderlands 2.

    All streaming has been in 1080p and it maintains ~60fps.

    You say you have to go with games that work on Linux? The whole point of streaming is that you don’t have to go for games that work on the OS you’re streaming to, in fact due to the way the streaming client works, you can actually stream almost anything that you add to Steam, for a laugh I actually had the ESO beta streaming between my Windows PC and my laptop.

    Also, while yes, Raspberry Pi and Steam OS don’t mix, using Nvidia’s GameStream tech (what they use to stream to Shield), you can actually stream to both Raspberry Pi, and other Android devices using Limelight, here’s a link of it being done on Raspberry Pi.

    • Ah, cheers! Should’ve specified that linux games are only for games run from the actual OS, I’ll fix that up.

      Very nifty regarding Shield and Limelight. I’m definitely going to try that out 🙂 The real next-gen IMO. Gaming on the couch, cheaper, and being based on PC, adaptable enough to take advantage of the new trends and business models that come out.

      • I think that it could not sell well – you’ve got so many brands, so many different computers with different specs that the average consumer won’t understand – some of them might not even have steam. For actual gamers, it’ll be great, but most of them will just play on their PC anyway, and the ones that want to stream probably have a system already.
        I’d be glad to be proven wrong though.

        • I get the feeling Steam Machines will be aimed first and foremost at the enthusiast market, with even cheap machines able to stream from a semi decent PC, it’ll help move PC gaming out of the study and onto the couch, especially for those who already have Steam and a decent collection of games.

          As Junglist said in the original article, FPS players will probably stick to the desktop, but for other games, couch and controller works really well.

      • Most definitely.

        I’ve been a PC gamer forever, but found myself drawn to consoles purely due to the comfort of sitting on my couch.

        To be honest, I’ve actually been rebuying games on Steam that were sitting in my console pile of shame now, as I’d much rather play the PC versions than the console versions and now that I can play them with the ease of playing on console, I haven’t even turned my consoles on for months.

        • Hehe, same here. I’ve been re-buying games on Steam (why not, when during the sales some of them are just a few bucks?), and my consoles are in the closet at the moment.

  • Note that the SteamOS game library is over five times the size of the combined catalog of available PS4 and XBox One titles.
    Certainly a downside compared to desktop windows, but they have different roles.

  • “StreamOS allows you to stream gaming from your main PC to another system in the house.”

    Huh? What the hell are you talking about!?

    Try from a subordinate headless Winblows box in the house to your main PC.

  • Look at this. I feel like I’m talking to a bunch of aliens that have no clue what gaming is. This is the only excuses I see. Graphics and Price, not gameplay or mechanics. Why should anyone endorse something that kills off consoles and people should accept it? I refuse to endorse something that is what some dumbass fan boys want and not from the gaming community as a whole. I refuse to endorse something that kills off competition in business, used games being dead, getting developers out of a job, raising taxes, ruining the profit margins on sales by having it just on one sale, making gaming irrelevant, and above all killing Sony/Nintendo in the name of revenge by some man that doesn’t know what comes after 2. Consoles will not die because there is the freedom of affordability and all of you PC elitists want to think you are high and mighty when you’re not. Nintendo is probably better than PC games wise and I hope that they can stick up against something that is being shoved down our throats and is not perfected. All of you in the comments are making nothing but bad choices by endorsing this crap, especially the author. Who possessed you to give up on the consoles? It seems to me that the only way you want Freedom for Gamers, is to want to get rid of Freedom for them and more for you. I can’t believe that these people are still wanting better graphics and resolution when the Wii U and PS4 spent all of their money trying to make a good machine and you preyed on it for doing so. To hell with this garbage.

    • “and above all killing Sony/Nintendo in the name of revenge by some man that doesn’t know what comes after 2”

      Half Life 3 Confirmed!

    • tbh, if you would be in favor of Microsoft’s domination in the PC operating system market, then you’d already be supporting the killing of competition, and a certain monopoly in a given sphere. Especially when the customer can be left with modern UI/metro, as Microsoft triumphantly proclaims it’s “the future”, and a future which given the lack of sales Windows 8 had seen from release, is a version/vision of the future many do not want.

      Ultimately, steam OS could give an alternative, that hopefully will expand beyond the stated purpose of the steam box itself, to provide Microsoft with some real competition. If anything, it could at the very least give Microsoft a reason to do an about face, and actually listen to the customer, rather then act as if they should be able to unilaterally decide the future, and take a like it or lump it approach, while collecting people’s hard earned dollars, because of their current market share.

      But to market it, and have it sell… I’d love to see Microsoft’s dominance in the PC gaming space, and eventually the PC OS space challenged though… It would mean more choice for the customer there…

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