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.

Operating Systems Used By Steam Members in August, 2013

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.”

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8 Comments on Gabe Newell: Linux Is The Future Of PC Gaming


On September 16, 2013 at 4:24 pm



On September 16, 2013 at 5:15 pm

That picture at the end is just priceless.

Roy Batty

On September 16, 2013 at 7:21 pm

Gabe good luck you only have 30 years of catch-up to do on that kids operating system. If I were you I would use BSD…it’s the OS for people that have “actually kissed girls”.

It is lovely that my company had to choose WES7 for thin clients because your beloved Linux OS could not translate video into a Citrix session. And so we now have a near PC cost markup and thus renders months of my work useless. Thanks to people like you Gabe windows will be around for a very long time.

P.S. Gabe old boy old pal – people like you have been sounding the death knell for windows PCs for over 10 years in the enterprise (20 years if you count every wave of thin client technology)…it has yet to happen. You know that people don’t care about platform anymore – that is true – but they do care that the platform they use actually works and as much heat is deservedly thrown at MS (see Win8/Vista/WinME) it does work for the most part. This is why MS is switching to a hardware centric model. My my how the IT world turns: MS is using Apple’s model and Apple is using the BSD kernel.

“I am your father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate!”

PPS Gabe – I do hope you succeed because I despise Origin even though Steam blew chunks when it first came out (after WON) it has come a very long way.


On September 16, 2013 at 8:26 pm

I love how these sort of people are think they predict the future. Remember hearing how ps3 and Xbox 360 were the last generation of home consoles? Or how micro transactions and no single player made a “more full and complete gaming experience”? Or even back to the virtualboy “Virtual Reality is the future of gaming” (actually may be valid but the virtualboy kinda spoiled the while thing) Does anybody ever do a little research at all before making these claims?


On September 16, 2013 at 8:39 pm

I like Linux, don’t get me wrong. But it is not an incredibly user-friendly operating system for the rank and file people that want to play games. Not everyone is willing to learn a new operating system, when they believe their current one works fine.


On September 16, 2013 at 9:34 pm

Hey come on guys, don’t pick on Gabe, the mans got a dream, and he has every right to have that dream crushed by reality, just the like the rest of us. Remember Gabe, you just gotta BELIEVE!!!! =D


On September 17, 2013 at 4:34 am

There’s more chance of Wii U firmware catching up with Windows than Linux doing it. Three decades of chasing and still not even two thirds of the distance. Knock it on the head, Gabe.


On September 18, 2013 at 8:49 am

Almost nobody wants PC gaming in their living room. That’s why we have consoles. The overwhelming majority of PC gamers use keyboard and mouse, not handicapped controllers. Trying to turn the PC into a console makes about as much sense as trying to force touchscreens onto PC desktops.