When Valve set up their digital distribution service nine years ago, Microsoft were in a very different place. At the time they had “no issue” with Steam, says Valve engineer Drew Bliss, but “Steam nowadays would probably be impossible to do”.
“If you look at the way the world is going, where you see Apple completely in control of their system, and at least part of Windows 8 entirely controlled by the Microsoft App Store, Steam is going to be a little bit harder to do – both in the store aspect and in the content delivery aspect.”
That’s why Valve have turned. They want to make Linux the best little gaming platform it can be.
“We want to continue developing in open platforms and so we’re looking around, and obviously Linux has become a very viable alternate platform. So we are now looking into doing Steam for Linux and supporting as many of our Steam games for Linux as we can.”
At the Ubuntu Summit in Copenhagen, Bliss reassured the Linux community that Valve didn’t intend to lock the platform down, but rather ensure the survival of what they consider to be PC gaming’s last open platform.
“We want to remove one roadblock that people have with Linux usage and keep the open platform alive. If Microsoft goes the way Apple has and Windows and Macintosh are, both completely closed ecosystems, Linux really is the best alternative for everybody. So we want to help it be as good a platform as possible.”
Steam for Linux beta applications have been open for a week. I must admit, lack of gaming support has always been the key factor in dissuading me from Ubuntu adoption. Are you a Linux gamer?
NB: A previous version of this story was published with a moreinflammatoryheadline. That has been altered. We apologise for any confusion.