Everyone pretty much expected Valve’s new Steam Play feature to be out of beta in more than two, but less than four years, but it seems like Valve Time has accelerated to lightspeed because the feature got kicked out of the beta stream and into the shipping stable Steam client this week. Steam Play, for those still not out from under their rock yet, is a compatibility layer that allows Windows games to run on Linux operating systems with the bare minimum of hassle from the user. In just two weeks, the list of fully compatible titles has more than doubled, and we’re already on our way to 2,000 games tested to work and run well with Steam Play.
In the changelog for the stable client, Valve notes that preliminary support for the Steam beta has been added to the client, which means that anyone on the regular Steam release channel can join in the fun of testing their favourite Windows games under Linux to see if they run. Valve is constantly monitoring social media channels as well as a giant Google Docs spreadsheet to see what kinds of issues people are running into, and it seems as if Proton, the custom Wine variant that Steam Play uses, is stable enough for the general populace to use. Practically, this means that there are about 2,000 extra games available to Linux players this week.
In the rest of the changelog, there’s also mention of a 64-bit Steam web helper process. This is the first announcement that hints at a new Steam client coming in the future, something that Valve has been promising for a while. Steam is still a 32-bit application and in need of a bit of a revamp, and is still quite kludgy in how it handles calling up 64-bit applications from a 32-bit interface. Thanks to Steam Play, the new Steam Chat, and Steam.tv to challenge Twitch, it looks like 2018 still has a lot of exciting announcements from Valve left in the pipeline.