The 10 steps of Valve's ongoing quest to conquer the living room

What Valve has done, and needs to do, to win the war

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Valve has set itself on quite a path.

As popular as Counter-Strike and Half-Life were a decade and a half ago, no one could have guessed back then that in 2013 Valve would be announcing its play for living room domination in the form of SteamOS and the Steam Machines.

Yes, times change, and now it seems like Valve might actually win the battle for the living room. It's certainly got a fighting chance, at the very least.

But it's been a long road getting here, and Valve's work is far from done. The Washington company has the brains, the funds, and the will, but can it really make its products and services the go-to for living room entertainment?

We examined the steps Valve's already taken - and what it needs to do in the future to ensure victory.

1. Develop great games

When Valve started out it did one thing and one thing only: made great games.

Half-Life and Counter-Strike were as important to PC gaming as Doom before them, and Valve didn't stop there. It dominated the last decade and beyond with Half-Life 2, Team Fortress 2 and Portal.

That's not even counting its greater gift to the gaming world: the Source engine that's still powering games (like Titanfall) even into the Xbox One and PS4 generation, despite being being older than the Xbox 360.

Valve undoubtedly needs support from the rest of the games industry for SteamOS to take off (more on that later). But more top games from Valve would no doubt provide the incentive needed for some users to jump on board, thus helping to prove the viability of the system.

2. Turn leadership into every gamer's hero

Sometimes it takes more than great products and service to equal success, but luckily Valve has a lovable figurehead and poster boy in the form of co-founder, CEO and meme star Gabe Newell.

Gabe Newell
Gotta love Gabe

"Gaben" has proved time and time again that he "gets it." He understands what gamers want and how we think, and he's always a good sport.

He's also shaped Valve into a unique company where creativity and experimentation is encouraged, an atmosphere that's helped shape Valve into one of the best-loved companies in gaming. With Newell on top, Valve can hardly fail.

3. Make Steam into a juggernaut

When Valve launched Steam gamers hated it - and, granted, the service was much different from what it is today.

It was buggy, intrusive and counterintuitive for PC gamers who were used to doing things their own way. But good things sometimes take time, and Steam has become the go-to for gamers on Windows, Mac and now Linux.

The social features and constant sales already had most players sold, and Valve keeps adding more and more, like Steam Greenlight. Gamers are sold on Steam, and with last week's announcement of SteamOS and the Steam Machines, it looks like it's not going to stop.

4. Build that juggernaut into an OS

It turns out last year's Steam Big Picture was only the beginning of Valve's software and interface experiments, and SteamOS may be the PC gaming platform of the future.

It's the logical step, right? Take the most popular PC gaming hub and marketplace and build an entire operating system around it.

Many of the things we used to use our PCs for are now done on tablets and smartphones, so a PC OS that focuses entirely on gaming and entertainment may be just the thing. Stripping away all the fluff of a typical PC - and freeing up the hardware from unnecessary tasks - could make SteamOS Machines the ultimate gaming PCs.

Steam OS
Looks just like our living room

There's a lot we don't know about SteamOS. How capable will it be when it comes to non-gaming applications? Will it run non-Steam Linux games? In Valve's typical style the company is revealing only exactly as much as it wants to, but SteamOS could still be a recipe for success.