Steam for Linux Really, Truly Happening: External Beta Announced for October
Way back in April, Valve said they’d be bringing their PC games distribution platform to Linux, sort of legitimizing Linux as an operating system people could enjoy without missing out on one of the PC world’s biggest services. Then, in early August, Valve said after some tweaking, they found their games ran better on Linux than Windows 7. Now, it looks like Steam for Linux is moving closer to a reality, as Valve has announced that an internal beta will be starting next week, and a private external beta will begin in October.
The private external beta will include 1,000 users, and will be taking sign-ups. The sign-up page, however, has not yet been posted, so check back with the Valve Linux team every now and then if you want to try Steam on your Linux box and realize that having Steam doesn’t mean games will suddenly be compatible with your operating system.
The external beta will include the basic Steam platform, one Valve game, and support for Ubuntu 12.04 and above. Valve specifically notes that the beta will not yet include the recent Big Picture mode, which allows users to display Steam on their television, or “additional Valve games,” which is kind of amusing, but also kind of disappointing that Valve had to specifically mention that.
There’s still no official release for Linux Steam, but the external private beta next month is a pretty good start. However, remember that, when you get right down to it, Steam is just a distribution platform with a buddy list. Steam existing on an operating system doesn’t mean games will suddenly exist for said operating system too — just ask an OS X user. However, when Steam does officially release for Linux, if Valve shows strong support for the operating system, that might help make game developers more inclined to release a Linux version of their game.
Whatever the case ends up being, if you’re interested in the Linux Steam beta sign-ups, keep your eye on the Valve Linux blog.