OPINION: Is Steam OS a wolf in sheep’s clothing?

There’s much excitement online this week as Valve detailed more of its battleplan to get Steam a space in the living room.

To start with, SteamOS promises to get the service and its games on home TVs, not just laptops or desktops PCs hidden in the dining room or bedroom. After that, there’s a threat of dedicated hardware delivering Valve and its many partners’ games onto the big screen.

Is some perspective needed here, though? The living room is getting crowded in terms of viable platforms. Surely some will crumble?

And how is this any different from the expansion of any other major revenue-hungry global retail corporation? Is a Steam shop opening in your TV a little bit like a Starbucks opening next to your kettle?

Sure, come into my home, take my credit card details, and attempt to monopolise my tastes.

Are we only allowed to pour scorn on tax-dodging street-date breaking Amazon, yet applaud Valve, fresh from opening a new office in Luxembourg?

Overall, any Steam-flavoured activity in the living room is likely to be good news for game sales. As we saw in recent weeks with Total War: Rome II, a digital release can boost boxed sales, and vice versa.

We’ve learned that the digital/physical games business is not binary – the two sides feed off each other, whether you’re selling a plush toy of a game character or their latest adventure.

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