Originally Posted by Eli
Steam OS is going to give Valve complete control over so may problems people have always had with their machines between drivers, weird extra software, and much, much more. Transparent driver and other software updates are going to create a console-like experience and Steam-approved hardware is only going to take that one further. Additionally, having complete control of the whole system is going to allow Valve to very accurately determine what your either home made or pre-built Steam box can handle.
I'm guessing the way it'll work is that there will be a totally standardized benchmark that is used across the board for all steam games to show you which games you can run at low/medium/high settings which they can further standardize what those definitions actually mean in their ecosystem. From there, vendors can sell pre-built Steam boxes that are "certified" to score X points in the Steam performance scale, which will allow for a wide range of options for consumers to get in to PC gaming without needing to figure out how to build, maintain, or buy an actual PC.
This is what I'm hoping for. As much as hardcore PC fanatics love to fiddle about with settings and drivers and stuff, the majority of people would prefer a simpler "plug and play" system that just works in the same way a console does, but with the power of a PC. It's nice having complete control, but when all you want to do is turn it on and play a game, "dumbing down" isn't really a bad thing. At least make it appear that way, then hide additional settings deeper down somewhere for advanced users.
I'm even happy to build it myself provided it proves itself to be secure and reliable.