Gabe Newell: Linux Is The Future Of PC Gaming
Valve sees the future of gaming, and it’s on the shoulders of Tux the Penguin.
Gabe Newell’s comments at LinuxCon earlier today, which the intrepid Mike Sharkey reported on this morning, are sure to send shockwaves through the PC gaming world. ”It feels a little bit funny coming [to LinuxCon] and telling you guys that Linux and open source are the future of gaming. It’s sort of like going to Rome and teaching Catholicism to the pope.”
It’s no secret that Valve is making a big, open source push with Steam, and the end game is putting both Linux and Steam in the living room, on your television. Linux users currently represent roughly one percent of the total Steam user base, but that isn’t stopping Valve from making the operating system the crux of its future plans. There are now close to 200 games on Steam that work with Linux, and the forthcoming Valve hardware will run on some version of the open source platform.
Those 200 games will play on any PC hardware that plays nice with Linux (which is virtually any CPU, and certain GPUs with the right drivers), but Valve is building this library not for the DIY crowd, but for its own forthcoming SFF (Small Form Factor) PC. The press has speculated about the Steam Box ad nauseum, but new information on Linux hardware will be shared in the coming days. ”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,” Newell said.
So why move away from Windows, when there’s already near-unanimous support for Steam games, 95 percent-plus user penetration with Microsoft’s OS, and Big Picture support? Well that goes back to the whole “catastrophe” angle touted by Newell and company in 2012. Valve firmly believes that Linux, as an ecosystem, would be a driving force in the consumer space if the games support was there. Valve originally considered Linux to be an alternative if the bottom ever fell out of the Windows PC market, thanks to Windows 8 and the way the OS brings apps to users. But with this reaffirmation to Linux, that alternative moniker is gone, presumably replaced with the term “Priority One.”