When Valve announced to the world that the Steam Linux client for its digital distribution service was in the works, everybody rejoiced. But what can we realistically expect from a Linux client launched so late in the game?
There is no doubt that Steam is by far the largest digital distribution platform for games, so it must stand to reason that Linux would only have to gain.
Let’s go over what we can expect, starting with the client and work our way up to services. Valve has said on multiple occasions that Steam will be optimized and tested for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS. This means that either a .deb file will be provided or it will be distributed only through Ubuntu Software Center. Maybe it will be linked with Ubuntu One.
There won’t be any source files because I’m quite sure that Valve doesn’t want anyone to snoop around their client. Nobody wants a dozen other similar clients in two years’ time.
The games are the most important aspect and every Linux user is going to want to know what games will be available. So far, there is only one confirmed game, developed by Valve, Left 4 Dead 2.
There aren’t a lot of commercial games built specifically for Linux, and the only ones released so far have mostly been part of the Humble Bundles. Most likely, a lot of those games will be made available for Linux, shortly after launching the Steam client.
If we were to compare the launch on Mac OS with the launch on Linux, then probably all the games a user possesses in an account, will be available on all three platforms.
The last piece of good news is that once a Linux client of Steam is made available, a lot more existing games will be ported and a lot of new ones will also be launched for this platform.
Steam for Linux will enter private public beta in October, so there is a good chance it will be officially launched before the holidays.