It is almost tradition at this stage. A rumor surfaces at some point or another during the year, usually around the same time, that
Valve are looking to bring their ubiquitous gaming platform to Linux. Usually these rumors either fizzle out or are flat out denied and a plethora of excuses about poor market share, poor graphics performance and so on are given but when the inevitable (yet slightly late this year) rumor of Steam coming to Linux surfaced earlier today the stage was set slightly differently.
The Humble indie bundle has seen huge success selling their suite of games cross platform making the most money per-head on Linux and the Desura Steam competitor has seen release on Linux also. Other engines like the one naval strategy game, Oil rush uses, Unigine are rolling out by the week and things have never looked better for Linux in terms of Gaming .
Recently Linux hardware blog www.phoronix.com announced they would be meeting with Gabe Newell to discuss a Steam for Linux and assuming they did not come across and NDAs or brick walls they would have more information about the client. In fact many of the rumors of Steam and the Steam engine being ported to Linux over the years have come from Phoronix so this was a chance for them to prove themselves right, and it would appear they have.
Michael Larabel flew out to Steam's Washington offices and talked to them about the client , if it was in-fact in development (which it is) why it has taken so long (which it really has) and whether or not they plan on bringing steam to Linux after all. In short this is what Michael tweeted after leaving the offices "#valve does have Linux games coming plus other very positive Linux plans... I'll briefly post some screenshots and such tonight." and that says it all, this could de-reail one of the biggest issues Windows users have had with Linux and why they refuse to make the switch, they cant play their favorite Steam games.
I guess with Steam for Mac OS X and an ever growing Linux gaming landscape, Steam's entrance into the Linux gaming market was inevitable. Below you can see the Steam engine running Left 4 Dead 2 natively on Linux (Almost brings a tear to your eye right? well almost).
So what does this all mean? It means that the graphics OEMs such as Nvidia and AMD will have to start taking their Linux drivers far more seriously and make far more than the mickey mouse effort they have up to now. It means the people behind the open source alternatives to the proprietary graphics drivers are going to have to work that little bit harder to get nouveau and the like up to scratch and it also means ( assuming this all pans out) that Linux is well on the way to finally becoming the first class citizen on the desktop.
To read the full details of Michael's interview with Gabe head over Phoronix and check it out.
Image courtesy of Phoronix