After being rumored for years, Valve has revealed that they are indeed working to bring a native version of their popular game distribution platform Steam to Linux. Not only that, the game company is apparently quite keen to have their games running natively on the operating system as well, beginning with Left 4 Dead 2.
Writing for Phoronix, who originally found evidence of Linux development for Steam back in 2010, Michael Larabel spent a day at Valve’s offices. While there, he not only saw the fruits of their labors, but spoke to Valve’s co-founder Gabe Newell.
Larabel wrote that he was surprised by his meeting with Newell at Valve, writing:
I am still struck by just how interested Valve is in Linux as a platform; it is certainly beyond my original expectations. This Linux work just is not some half-assed attempt by them to make it look like they are a Linux-friendly organization. Gabe’s vision to support, embrace, and promote Linux are amazing, assuming they execute, which looks to be very high probability at this point.
Though it has been in production for quite some time, Larabel writes that the slow rollout has been due to Valve’s organizational structure which allows developers to move fluidly between projects. However, interest in the Linux version has picked up, with Newell himself working on the project.
Perhaps most interesting is not simply Valve bringing their games to the operating system, but their desire to see other developers add native Linux support as well. While more games for Linux is exciting, it’s important to remember that Valve has something to gain by having those games be accessible through their Steam platform.
Despite mounting interest within Valve and a personal interest from Newell, there’s no hard release date. In fact, Larabel makes it a point to say that we’re dealing with “Valve time.” That aside, he writes that a Beta version of the client should be available soon along with a functional version of Left 4 Dead 2. If you’re tired of emulation or dual-booting to get games running on your Linux box, take heart: Happy days are coming.
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