The day that many Linux fans have been eagerly awaiting has arrived: Steam is here. To help celebrate the launch, Valve has kicked-off a sale that involves every single game available for the platform – some with pretty hearty discounts. Already own some of the games listed? You’re good to go – Valve doesn’t require its customers to purchase the same game twice just because it’s for a different platform.
Some games that stand out to me include Crusader Kings II (our review) ($9.99), Spacechem ($4.99), Trine 2 ($3.74), Bastion ($3.74), Faster Than Light ($4.99), Serious Sam 3: BFE ($7.99) Killing Floor ($6.80) and Defender’s Quest (our review) ($7.49). This is just the icing on the cake though; there are a total of 54 games waiting for you to snatch them up.
Because no one can ever have enough items in Team Fortress 2, Valve is gifting a free in-game Tux item to those who play before the end of the month.
On its sale page, Valve has a note on the right side encouraging those interested in Linux to give Ubuntu a download. At the moment, this remains the only officially-supported distro, and in an e-mail we were sent, it’s recommended that “For the best experience, run Steam for Linux on Ubuntu 12.04 using an NVIDIA GPU and drivers from NVIDIA.” Note the 12.04 mention and not 12.10. While issues shouldn’t arise with 12.10, just be aware that they could. It’s likely that Valve will officially support every forth-coming Ubuntu LTS release rather than the in-betweens.
With this launch, Steam has become official in the Ubuntu Software Centre, so installing the client is easier than ever. You’d have to imagine that Canonical is pretty stoked about this move, and it is. David Pitkin, the Director of Consumer Applications at the company, has said, “The introduction of Steam to Ubuntu demonstrates growing demand for open systems from gamers and game developers. We expect a growing number of game developers to include Ubuntu among their target platforms. We’re looking forward to seeing AAA games developed with Ubuntu in mind as part of a multi-platform day and date release on Steam.“
While it is somewhat depressing to not see other distros supported right off-the-bat, it’s not too surprising, either. Though it can be said that “Linux is Linux”, there can be wildly varying ways that certain distros choose to do things, and for a developer, that’s hard to keep up on. You’d have to imagine that would especially be true where gaming is concerned.
Thank you Valve, for making Steam on Linux a reality.
Addendum: Since this post, the folks at Indie Royale launched their “Valentines Bundle 2.0” which includes a less-expensive Serious Sam 3: BFE, which can be activated on Steam.