Nvidia Corp. has helped Valve Software to design the SteamOS operating system, the company revealed this week. In addition to helping porting Valve’s games to SteamOS and optimizing its drivers for Linux, the company also aided Valve to create a technology to stream video games over a home network straight to a TV.
“Engineers from Valve and Nvidia have spent a lot of time collaborating on a common goal for SteamOS: to deliver an open-platform gaming experience with superior performance and uncompromising visuals directly on the big screen,” said Mark Smith, senior technical evangelist at Nvidia
The company best known for its GeForce graphics processing units believes the collaboration makes sense as both companies strongly believe in the importance of open-platform innovation, and both companies are committed to providing gamers with a cutting-edge visual experience.
To make SteamOS a more viable platform for both system makers and DIY enthusiasts, Nvidia engineers, which were embedded at Valve, collaborated on improving driver performance for OpenGL and optimized performance on Nvidia GPUs. Moreover, the company apparently shared its experience with in-home video game streaming (which it got while developing Shield game console) in order to tune SteamOS to lower latency, or lag, between the controller and onscreen action.
Ensuring smooth compatibility and high performance in SteamOS environment opens doors for Nvidia to compete for Steam Machines designs, which may be a good business as there are over 300 models in the works from different system makers.
Valve’s SteamOS, running on any living room machine, will provide access to games and user-generated content available. It will be available soon as a free stand-alone operating system for living room machines. SteamOS-based PCs can stream video games over a home network straight to a TV. Family sharing allows gamers to take turns playing one another’s games while earning own Steam achievements and saving individual game progress to the Steam cloud. Eventually, SteamOS will also gain compatibility with music, TV and video distribution services.
In SteamOS, Valve has achieved significant performance increases in graphics processing, and is now targeting audio performance and reductions in input latency at the operating system level. Game developers are already taking advantage of these gains as they target SteamOS for their new releases, according to the company.