With the release of the Steam Deck, Valve began tailoring its SteamOS Linux version to work exclusively with the Steam Deck. The company’s plans for the future of the OS were still not clear; however, some information that has surfaced this week shows that SteamOS may well return to PC, where it was initially intended to come.
Desktop users can now access the Steam Deck user interface; however, it is currently only available through the beta version of the Steam client.
The Steam Deck launched in February with SteamOS 3, which is effectively an all-new version of the gaming-focused operating system Valve’s been working on for years. It was on top of Debian Linux that the first version of SteamOS was developed and released and then, because of SteamOS 3’s adoption of Arch Linux, Valve was able to make faster improvements.
Multiple package updates to the OS’s developer repository are being rolled out, as reported by SteamDeckHQ. Particularly, the availability of the SteamOS Media Creation feature lends some legitimacy to this concept. It is similar to what the Windows Media Creation Tool looks like. These updates may well hint at a massive announcement in the future, but as of now, we can simply speculate based on the data available to us.
The Media Creation Tool received a brand-new update earlier this week. If you install and launch the Media Creation tool, you’ll be prompted to pick the SteamOS image on your computer. Although it should go without saying, you shouldn’t try using this to reimage your machine as of right now because it isn’t in any way officially out and you may encounter various bugs.
On the other hand, Valve has announced the Big Picture Mode for the OS. Although it has always been Valve’s goal to bring the Steam Deck’s improved user interface to the desktop Big Picture mode, this year has clearly been dedicated to getting the Deck into tip-top shape.
By joining the Steam Client beta and appending the word -gamepadui to their Steam shortcut, PC users can try out this Big Picture feature set. The Steam client can be used to run games, giving users access to all of Steam’s features and the Steam forums for problem reporting.
This raises the prospect of SteamOS being a reality on PC. A future update to SteamOS could include the option to toggle between the classic Steam desktop and the newer SteamOS interface so that gamers can continue to customize their experience.
Big Picture Mode is still great for playing on the big screen, although it hasn’t evolved a much visually since it was introduced in 2012. Due to the fact that the new interface is the sole way to access Steam’s powerful controller customization tool, Big Picture is a great improvement.