Steam for Linux Beta now Available

Steam for Linux Beta now Available

By | November 8th, 2012
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After conducting a beta participation survey over the past two weeks, Valve

has finally sent out invites for their Linux beta.


														               
							 	 						

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After conducting a beta participation survey over the past two weeks, Valve has finally sent out invites for their Linux beta.

Currently this is a limited beta, with a pool of 1000 testers selected from the over 60,000 people who responded to the survey. As any PC gamer will attest, Valve’s Steam is a huge force in PC gaming, and can be instrumental in the success of game titles, especially indie games.

Valve’s Gabe Newell has spoken out against Microsoft’s Windows 8 in the past, and has been very critical of the direction it has taken indeed. He called Windows “a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space”. The criticism is partially because with the release of Windows 8, the platform has become less open than it used to. Locked platforms and app stores are sadly quite the norm on mobile phones and tablets, and gaming consoles are perhaps the most locked of all; however, till now the PC had always been the bastion of openness.

On the occasion of launching the Steam beta for Linux, Gabe Newell has this to say: “This is a huge milestone in the development of PC gaming. Steam users have been asking us to support gaming on Linux. We’re happy to bring rich forms of entertainment and our community of users to this open, customer-friendly platform.”

Valve sees the Windows 8 store a threat to its own store which will not be possible if Microsoft decided to entirely lock down Windows. While Microsoft has left the classic environment open to developers for now, Valve needs to be ready and have a fall-back platform in case things don’t go their way. Linux seems like the best bet.

Gamers also have the tendency to tweak their system to get the best of performance possible on their hardware, and again Linux being endlessly configurable, might just be a match made in heaven.

A member of the Valve’s Linux team, Frank Crockett, reported that an “overwhelming majority” of the participants reported that they were running Ubuntu Linux. However this is more likely to be because Valve had already announced that they were only looking for those running Ubuntu.

Currently the client is available as a .deb file for Ubuntu 12.04, but in the future more distributions are likely to be supported. There will be a small number of supported distros, and other distros will be able to use Steam but will be unsupported, much like how running Steam on Wine is right now.

Currently as part of the beta, there is a very limited set of games available. These include Valve’s free to play title Team Fortress 2, and a number of popular titles such as Trine 2, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, World of Goo, Dungeons of Dreadmor and nearly two dozen more.

Valve will expand their beta test over time and include more participants with a variety of system configurations. If you are interested in being included in the future, visit the following URL (http://www.valvesoftware.com/linuxsurvey.php) to join in.

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Kshitij Sobti
Inserted into Kshitij's motivation banks is a particularly strong desire for justice. It's sad then, that he wastes his skills gaming, watching TV, and for the mundane task of writing prose. He tweets
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