Contemporary Games Can Take Up To Three Years To Develop

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PC Gaming Reaches Next Level Through Open Source

Valve, the U.S.-based video game company, altered the gaming field with the 2013 release of its operating system (SteamOS) and Steam Machines, which are hardware platforms for playing computer video games. SteamOS, which was created with Linux, the open source platform, allows smaller gaming companies, such as Alienware, CyberPowerPC and Webhallena, to create unique gaming systems (Steam Machines) by utilizing Valve’s open source operating system. This enables them to compete with large competitors such as Microsoft and Sony.

mitigate open source software risk

Valve began to ship prototypes of its Steam Machines to select users shortly after its release. In 2014, SteamOS became available to the public for download. As of Nov. 10, 2015 Valve made three of its Steam Machines platforms available for consumer purchase, making them some of the only open source gaming platforms widely available. Consumers can choose among the Stream Machines products based on size of the console, quality and performance. The variety guarantees a system for every type of player. The Syber Steam Machine (one of the three models available), for example, offers users instant access to any game title, while the Alienware Steam Machine comes with a library of 1,000 HD (1080 pixels) games. And the ZOTAC NEN Steam Machine is a much smaller, sleeker and lower-performing machine for cost-conscious gamers.

When developing any product it is essential to have a clear idea of exactly what is in the software portfolio. Gaming developers also recognise that there are many Intellectual Property issues to be aware of when creating these new gaming packages. It can sometimes be difficult to establish as snippets of reused code can quickly disappear unaccounted for leading to license compliance issues. Valve’s release of Steam Machines is a perfect example of the benefits that can be derived from open source. Developers and gamers alike can take matters into their own hands and create gaming systems using SteamOS as a base. This innovation and collaboration from open source is what allows industries such as gaming to continuously grow. 

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More Stories By Lacey Thoms

Lacey Thoms is a marketing specialist and blogger at Protecode, a provider of open source license management solutions. During her time at Protecode, Lacey has written many articles on open source software management. She has a background in marketing communications, digital advertising, and web design and development. Lacey has a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications from Carleton University.