Valve, developers and publishers of games such as Half-Life 2 and Team Fortress 2, have just announced the launch of a limited access Beta for its new Steam for Linux client.The announcement for the official Steam for Linux client is not actually a surprise because Nvidia spilled the beans a few hours earlier, in an official communique about the new drivers they’ve launched for the Linux platform.
The Steam for Linux Beta client supports for now only Team Fortress 2 from Valve, but over 20 additional games, from other developers, have been made available.
The client also features Big Picture, a Steam mode designed for use with a TV and controller, also currently in beta. Interestingly enough, the Big Picture mode was not supposed to be available in the Beta version.
“This is a huge milestone in the development of PC gaming,” according to Gabe Newell, Valve President and co-founder.
“Steam users have been asking us to support gaming on Linux. We’re happy to bring rich forms of entertainment and our community of users to this open, customer-friendly platform,” he continued.
Valve has announced from the get go that the Steam for Linux Beta client will be available for installation only on Ubuntu 12.04 (Precise Pangolin). It seems that a lot of the applicants have reported using Ubuntu as their distro of choice.
“An overwhelming majority of beta applicants have reported they’re running the Ubuntu distro of Linux,” according to Frank Crockett, a member of the Steam for Linux team, “We intend to support additional popular distros in the future; we’ll prioritize development for these based on user feedback.”
Within its first week, Valve received over 60,000 responses to its request for participants in the Steam for Linux Beta and the first beta users have been selected from this group of respondents.
Valve initially announced that there would only be 1000 invitations for the Beta testing, but not all the people selected have received an invitation.
The client will become available to a widening group of users over the course of the beta. Subsequent participants will be chosen among survey respondents, and once the team has seen a solid level of stability and performance across a variety of systems, the Steam for Linux client will become available to all users of Steam.
More details regarding Steam for Linux, including community discussion, beta participants’ feedback, official announcements and syndicated news can all be tracked on the new Steam for Linux Community Hub at http://steamcommunity.com/linux.