Congratulations, Linux gamers. As of today, Valve has officially ushered you in to the wonderful, easy-to-purchase-and-update, controversially DRM-filled world of Steam gaming.
Ubuntu users can grab the official Steam client through the Ubuntu Software Center. A few dozen games are available for the platform at the moment, including first-party Valve support for games like Counter-Strike Source, the original Half-Life, and Team Fortress 2 (which comes with a free Tux the penguin in-game item for Linux users). High profile indie titles like Amnesia, Bastion, FTL, Serious Sam 3: BFE, and World of Goo are other highlights of the initial lineup.
In honor of the new release, 57 Linux-supported games are on sale for 50 to 75 percent off through 10am on February 21. You can get the same deal on the Mac and PC versions, too.
“The introduction of Steam to Ubuntu demonstrates growing demand for open systems from gamers and game developers,” said Ubuntu developer Canonical’s director of consumer applications David Pitkin in a statement. “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.”
After saying it had no plans for a Linux version of Steam as recently as mid-2010, Valve officially announced support for Ubuntu last year (though a Linux port of Left 4 Dead 2 that was promised at the same time is still missing in action). Valve started testing the service’s Linux stability through a closed beta test in November and an open beta started in late December.
The Linux version of Steam will likely be at the core of Valve’s upcoming plans for living room-based “Steam Box” hardware, building off the recently unveiled Big Picture mode. The move to Linux also gives Valve more flexibility in working around Microsoft’s Windows 8, which co-founder Gabe Newell has called “a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space.”
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