Amidst widespread industry speculation, most recently earlier this month, the biggest hint yet has been dropped that Valve’s Steam service is coming to Linux operating systems in the near future.
That’s what Michael Larabel of Phoronix assures us, in any case. Having been invited to Valve’s Bellevue, Washington office, Larabel bore witness to a pretty gosh-darn convincing indication that Left 4 Dead 2, one of Valve’s most iconic gaming franchises, will soon be commercially available to play on Linux clients. The evidence? He saw the game itself running on an Ubuntu 11.10 installation, of course.
While a sceptic may speculate that this could merely be footage of the game running through a third-party support program, such as Wine, Larabel is adamant that this isn’t the case at all. He notes with almost 100% conviction that this is bona fide proof of the game running natively, and with remarkable stability, through the Linux platform.
Larabel was also keen to accentuate the fact that Valve’s Gabe Newell was intent on spreading the scope of the planned jump to Linux far beyond the reaches of a few simple Source Engine ports. With a number of established games that currently form part of Steam’s exponentially expanding library fully functional on Linux via other digital distributors, not to mention several more titles arriving within the next few months, it seems as though the future business relationship between Valve and Linux will be one of mutual understanding and co-operation. Of course, it would be amiss of us not to mention that the majority of these Linux-friendly products happen to have been conceived and developed within the independent space forged out in the gaming market during the last few years, meaning that our beloved indie games could well act as the fulcrum forming the tipping balance between the accelerated growth of this new initiative.