This will come as a surprise to most – probably even to the hardcore gamers and linux power users. Gabe Newell, the managing director and co-founder of Valve, gave a presentation at the LinuxCon which stuck in our minds. According to him, Linux and open source are the future of gaming.
What makes Gabe Newell’s speech even more unbelievable is the minuscule share of the market that Linux currently has – according to his data, less than one per cent. Turns out that, with Valve’s help, this situation is about to start changing.
Let’s look at the forces that are being summoned to aid with the transition.
Steam for Linux is the first such force. Steam (Valve’s game distribution platform) was brought to Linux in February – and at the time of writing the platform already had 198 games. If the steady growth is sustained, that alone might take care of the transition in the PC market. The other major force is the highly anticipated “Steam Box”. This latter proponent is meant to start competing against the living room gaming consoles before the end of 2013. Not much is known about the upcoming device, but we are given assurance that Valve will soon demistify this story:
Next week we’re going to be rolling out more information about how we get there and what are the hardware opportunities we see for bringing Linux into the living room.
Currently, the task of turning Linux into the king of gaming has no clear roadmap. Among many challenges, Valve’s managing director has mentioned the software distribution model that is currently predominant in Linux:
‘Just compile it yourself’ could be the inconvenient solution to the problem of installing games and applying updates
However, these problems are being overcome – Valve has already been successful in delivering Left 4 Dead to Linux, hopefully showing the way to other developers.
Newell went on to say that their bringing Steam to Linux was a signal for their development partners that they “really were serious about this Linux thing”.
Valve didn’t only focus on porting Steam to Linux, though. According to Newell, they are also contributing to the LLDB debugger project and co-developing yet another debugger for Linux. Their focus on debuggers is due to high demand for it from the developers’ side.
Gabe Newell has also complained about the closed platforms and how they stand in the way of innovation. He noted, however, that they won’t stop Steam’s rise.
You can find the video of his speech below: