With Steamboxes and Valve’s new controller on the way later this year, there’s never been a better time to play PC games in your living room. Now Alienware, producers of one of the first Steamboxes, has a whole new UI if you want to opt out of the Linux-based SteamOS for a more traditional Windows experience. The new version is called HiveMind UI, and it packs in a ton of new features and a high level of customization and compatibility.
Alienware’s new HiveMind UI is built on top of Kodi, an open source home theater platform that’s found everywhere from high end PCs to Raspberry Pis. It brings with it a high level of base compatibility with media streaming services and games through the official distribution network, as well as through sideloaded apps. It’s also a seamless experience, where you can start a movie, then navigate the menus to change a setting and the video will continue to play in the background.
Of course, part of a seamless couch interface is blending in with its surroundings, so there’s a huge amount of personalization built into HiveMind. Not only can you change the base and highlight colors, but you can also set favorites to your home screen, add new categories, and add games to sublists for easy navigation with a controller. If you need your classic desktop back, you can switch by simply logging out and logging back into a traditional account.
It’s easy to use, but if you need a little extra help Alienware has built a library of video tutorials to walk you through everything from settings favorites to connecting to a home media server. The HiveMind will be making its way into new and existing Alienware Alpha boxes sometime this year, and will be offered as an option for the Steam Boxes that Alienware is also building.