SteamOS on PS4 a possibility in the near future?
SteamOS on PS4 might be a possibility very soon. I’ve mentioned it in my earlier article today (“Fail0verflow: “For the PS4, we’re trying something new“), but I think this specific piece of the Fail0verflow story needed its own article.
If you’ve missed the story so far, the group of developers going by the name Fail0verflow have managed to get linux up and running on the PS4. Although they have stated they will not release any of the PS4 security hacks used to achieve this, they are working on a full fledged Linux port for the PS4. It will be up to other hackers to decide if they want to release PS4 Jailbreaks to run this. From their perspective, the Linux development is 100% unrelated to any PS4 exploit release.
The PS4 is a slightly underpowered PC, but it has a powerful AMD Radeon GPU. As we all know, the device is great for gaming, and could make a pretty nice Steam machine. SteamOS on PS4? Maybe. Porting Linux to yet another device might sound like something only nerds would want. But if you start thinking Linux could give us access to more “gaming oriented” software such as SteamOS, things start to be seen in a different light. Marcan, of the Fail0verflow crew, said:
Linux on the PS4 actually makes a lot of sense, more than it ever did on any previous game console. It’s close enough to a PC that getting 3D acceleration working, while rather painful (as we’ve learned), seems entirely possible without undue amounts of effort (in a timeframe of months, not years), to the level needed for real indie games and even AAA titles, not just homebrew. And many thousands of indie and AAA games already run on Linux. Yes, SteamOS on thePS4 should “just work” once the driver issues are sorted out.
SteamOS on PS4 – The many benefits
Would I like to gain access to more games from the comfort of my couch, with my PS4 controller? heck yes! Would I like to get access to my Steam library of games from one single device, instead of having to boot my PC? Bring it on! But, more importantly, and this is the part that Sony will not like, would I like to see some more competitive pricing for games on my PS4? Definitely!
As an example, at the time of writing, Final Fantasy VII on Steam costs $5.99. The same game on the PSN costs $15.99, three times the price.
More interestingly, SteamOS on PS4 could bring PC “exclusive” games to the PS4, such as your favorite MOBA, or classics such as Team Fortress 2.
Sony will probably fight PS4 hacks toes and nails to prevent piracy, but it would be an interesting turn of events if they have to compete against a legit store on their own platform. Ultimately, PS4 gamers would benefit from that kind of competition, but it’s clear that Sony would not appreciate the hit in sale if this were to happen.
When Sony made Linux available on the PS3, they realized that many people were buying the device only to use Linux on it, which resulted in a net loss for Sony as they did not make any profit on the console itself. The same could happen if people started buying PS4s as a cheap SteamOS machine… Times have changed though, and the playstation brand has some additional income streams, meaning the PS4 device itself might not need to be locked down that much. People would still pay for PS+, for example. I know I would.
SteamOS on PS4, what needs to happen?
Running steam OS on the PS4 might sound like an impossible dream, but the developers might be way closer than we think.
The PS4 is essentially a PC running FreeBSD, with a few differences from a PC. Enough differences to make it challenging (and interesting) for the developers to port Linux, but close enough to a PC that everything should work, eventually, as Fail0verflow stated.
Once the basics of Linux are ported by the Fail0verflow team to the PS4, it would only take one group of hackers to release a PS4 Jailbreak (we know several teams have such hacks in their possession) in order to get Linux, and then a SteamOS port, to the masses.
To get games running at full speed though, the Fail0verflow team would need to fix some of the issues with the GPU drivers. they have stated that their current linux port only uses software-based graphics, and not hardware acceleration. They have stated it’s a matter of months, not years, to get things ironed out.
Things might only be working out for the owners of a PS4 running firmware 1.76, due to the nature of the PS4 exploits we know about. That firmware is pretty old, but it is still possible to get your hands on a PS4 running firmware 1.76.
would you like to see a SteamOS port on the PS4?