Linux gaming has, for a long time, been dominated by free-to-play shooters, casual games, and titles that generally aren't taken seriously by much of the world. Now, that's all set to change, with Valve officially releasing the native Linux version of its Steam client - and it's knocking 50-75% off the retail prices of more than 50 games that'll run quite happily on the "new" platform.
Released - just like the PC and Mac version - completely free, Steam for Linux is available right now in the Ubuntu Software Center. While it's not the only Linux distribution on the market, Ubuntu is the most popular, and is known worldwide for its easy-to-use customer experience.
David Pitkin, Director of Consumer Applications at Canonical explains:
The introduction of Steam to Ubuntu demonstrates growing demand for open systems from gamers and game developers. We expect a growing number of game developers to include Ubuntu among their target platforms. We're looking forward to seeing AAA games developed with Ubuntu in mind as part of a multi-platform day and date release on Steam.
While we might not be quite there yet, Valve has certainly polished up more than a handful of games to run on the Linux platform, including Half-Life, Counter-Strike 1.6, Counter-Strike: Source and, the inevitable, Team Fortress 2. While you won't get a nifty hat, there is another bit of in-game kit available for TF2 gamers on Linux - Tux! The Linux penguin mascot doesn't do much other than look good, and can be carried by any class and traded between players.
We're huge fans of Linux. It's like the indie OS-a perfect home for our indie game. And who better to lead the charge into Linux gaming than Valve? With Steam distribution on Windows, Mac OS, and now Linux, plus the buy-once, play-anywhere promise of Steam Play, our games are available to everyone, regardless what type of computer they're running. That's huge.
Games are available almost everywhere too, with Valve throwing Big Picture into Steam for Linux, so you can use your TV and game controller to enjoy games directly from your Linux PC. (Unsurprisingly following this development, Valve anticipates a "growing number" of gamers will start playing Steam games in living rooms around the world.)
It might be early days, but this is a big step for Linux gamers - and for Valve itself. For more information, community discussions and official announcements, head to the Steam for Linux Community Hub, and stay tuned!
I like video games and music and cups of tea and noodles and beagles and colour-cycling LEDs.
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