Could it be SteamOS which takes down the PC?

Personally I love the vision Microsoft has of the future; a tight ecosystem and consistent “Modern UI” which works anywhere across Desktop, Tablet, Mobile, and Console.

What I haven’t always agreed with is their approach - which has routinely left customers either bitter or confused.

Recently Microsoft has been criticised for making complete U-turns about decisions (ahem, Xbox...) but it’s good they’re listening; as proven by the Surface Pro 2; where you can tell they’ve worked hard to fix even the smallest criticisms in every review of the first iteration.

Almost everyone started their PC journey on Windows, and I’m assuming, from the stories of friends and colleagues, if you’re now on Apple’s Mac OS it’s because you were left frustrated at some point (maybe because of that version beginning with ‘Vi’ which we don’t talk about...)

If anyone is likely to take away customers and pull down Microsoft it’s arch-nemesis Apple, surely?

Personally, I think the company likely to have the most effect is one of the companies which helped build Windows to the currently unstoppable force it is today; gaming-platform Steam.

PC gaming is a huge business; many people refuse to switch to Mac purely because their favourite games are only available on Windows; along with the most powerful hardware. Steam is a renowned platform which arguably offers the best experience due to its ease of downloading titles (and y’know, those awesome sales!) along with its mighty community and social features.

Recently they launched on Linux, which they say is the future, and considering the company behind Steam is legendary game studio Valve – many will take that as gospel.

But gamers will go where the games are, and currently Linux only has a handful of optimised games, so far...

In the past week Valve announced SteamOS. Based on Linux this customised OS will run essentially on PC hardware connected to your TV in the same respect as a console. Whilst cool for the consumer; this would take away the requirement of the PC gamer to have, well, a Windows PC.

After the SteamOS announcement both AMD and Nvidia announced they’d be ramping up support for Linux – alongside AMD’s recent ‘Mantle’ interface driver (a Microsoft DirectX alternative.)

Mantle is designed to pull superb hardware-optimized performance out of GPUs based on AMD's GCN architecture across multiple platforms—including next-gen consoles as well as Windows and SteamOS-based PCs using Radeon graphics.

Whilst I was exaggerating about the takedown of Microsoft; this could mean a quicker end for Windows on the desktop. But all the major players – Microsoft included – have positioned mobile and dedicated consoles as the natural successors; Redmond is far from finished, but it may be they lose some users to Linux or Mac full-time.

Update 1: In fact, this may be of interest "Microsoft watching what Valve does with 'great interest'"

Do you think Steam could harm the Windows desktop userbase?

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