I don’t think this needs much explaining, but if you’ve been living under a rock, here’s the gist of it: Valve thinks Linux gamers needs more options. Valve ports Steam to Linux in record time and has a few Source-based games ready for the launch. The rest of the indie catalog will shortly follow as more devs get in on the action. Cue a chorus of penguins in tuxedos, waddling to the entrance of Microsoft’s HQ and singing “We will rock you” by Queen, probably with one of them sporting a moustache and skiny leather pants. Oh, and to celebrate the successful and rather quick beta phase of the port and last night’s launch, Valve has introduced a huge discount for games on Linux, slashing some titles down by up to 75%!
Amongst the games available on the sale is Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Serious Sam 3 and all its expansions, Counter-Strike: Source, Half-Life, FTL: Faster Than Light, and Penumbra Collector’s Pack. Incidentally, all these games are also already on the best-sellers list for Linux. So what’s next?
Valve still has to finish the porting of their larger AAA titles like Left 4 Dead and Half-Life 2 and its said that the majority of Source-based games also have some work left to be done before the port is complete. For indie devs the job is a little easier because they have smaller workloads and some indie titles were already developed on OpenGL, which makes porting it over to other OSes that much easier. We’ve already seen, though, that Portal does seem to work in the beta and Valve’s initial investigation into porting the Steam service to Linux involved using Left 4 Dead 2 for testing, which means it’s not too far away now. The third iteration of the Source engine could very well launch on all three platforms at the same time in the future.
Steam is now the only online retailer to support all three platforms on the PC and I expect that as things pick up, many more people will port over as more games with SteamPlay compatibility become available for Linux. When that market grows large enough to be of interest to EA and other big-wig companies like Ubisoft, Take2 Interactive and Activision, then Linux will truly be a great alternative to Windows for gamers.
Now let’s see how long it takes for Microsoft to become worried at the possibility that they’re going to lose one of their major platform draws in the next few years.
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