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Steam for Linux entered Beta five years ago today

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Five years ago on this day, Valve released Steam for Linux in a limited Beta form for a lucky bunch of users. It's been quite a ride, hasn't it?

For those who weren't around or don't remember, Valve started by putting up a survey to gather testers for the upcoming Beta release. What they didn't expect, was over 60K people signing up to become a tester. The initial release only had around 30 games available for Linux, but look at us now at around 3.8K (give or take a few that show up, but haven't actually released). This month alone, we've already seen around 20 games release with Linux support and we're only on the 6th!

We've got masses of indie games, a few AAA titles (and hopefully more big titles to come!) and all sorts of genres available on Linux. With thanks to the likes of Virtual Programming, Aspyr Media, Feral Interactive, Ethan Lee, Ryan Gordon, Aaron Melcher and many more helping to bring titles to Linux. There's plenty of junk released for Linux now too as well, but thankfully now there's a lot of choice when it comes to good games.

Going by the date of the limited Steam beta for Linux, we've published close to nine thousand articles. We've actually hit over nine thousand right now, but the amount we put out increased dramatically since Steam arrived. There's just so much to report on for Linux gaming, it's truly crazy.

In a few days, on the 10th of November, it will also mark two years since SteamOS, Steam Machines and the Steam Controller were officially released. I still remember how completely underwhelmed I was by the launch, as I'm sure many of you were as well. You can pry my Steam Controller from my cold, dead hands though as I love it.

It still remains to be seen what Valve intends to do with SteamOS and Steam Machines, hopefully some sort of re-release. I think if they did a Steam Machine themselves where they controlled the pricing and everything else, it could go down a lot better than the wildly varying machines we've seen previously. There's probably a lot of issues with doing it that way though, for it to pay off Valve would need to market it a lot better and there would need to be more timely game releases for bigger titles (and more!).

While Steam Machines didn't go the way we hoped, they've obviously moved Linux gaming further along than anything else ever did.

What are you most looking forward to for Linux gaming over the next year? How do you feel about the current situation? Open up the in the comments, but please do remember to be respectful to your fellow users.

Let's also never forget Steam for Linux bug #3671.

Article taken from
Tags: Steam
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About the author -
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I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly.
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Eike 7 Nov, 2017
Quoting: PhlebiacI think I only ran TF2 long enough to get that in my inventory...

I missed this opportunity. :-(

QuoteWhere do you find that? I couldn't find it in my profile...

You get a badge every year.

Last edited by Eike on 7 November 2017 at 7:44 am UTC
Phlebiac 7 Nov, 2017
Quoting: EikeYou get a badge every year.

Ah, thanks! Shows how much attention I pay to badges, even though the top one claims I am a "Gaming God".
Eike 7 Nov, 2017
Quoting: PhlebiacAh, thanks! Shows how much attention I pay to badges, even though the top one claims I am a "Gaming God".

2000 games or more?!? :O
demon 7 Nov, 2017
Oh, I remember that time. I was very exited for this, even got an invitation to the closed beta. :)

At that time there was a crazy amount of 2 games in my library available for linux. Well, actually just one:

But it worked quite well:

The 4:3 dimension of the images is somewhat disturbing to look at, now...
fabertawe 7 Nov, 2017
Quoting: tuubi
Quoting: Guest
Quoting: crt0megaFive years ago I discovered GoL because I was searching news regarding Steam for Linux :D F*ck, I'm getting old.
If 5 years since first reading GOL makes you feel old, how old do you think I feel when I still remember typing this....

10 print HELLO
20 goto 10
I know I must have typed that and a lot more on my C-64, but I guess I'm too old to actually remember it.

I knew that machine inside out and wrote an assembler and BASIC toolkit! Can't remember any of it now though (I do still have the 5¼" floppies I used in my 1541/1571 drives though!)
MintedGamer 7 Nov, 2017
5 years, Wow! doesn't time fly when you're having fun :)
Phlebiac 8 Nov, 2017
Quoting: Eike
Quoting: Phlebiacclaims I am a "Gaming God"
2000 games or more?!? :O

In the early days of Steam for Linux, I bought cheap bundles even if they only had a couple Linux games. It's "only" 1094 Linux games (more than half, at least!), and certainly a lot of them I will likely never even download... :|
VinceNardelli 8 Nov, 2017
5 years... well all considered I can say Valve had a successful and fertile ground with Linux. I still don't know the meaning of the S machines (in my mind they feel like they are still to come out) but Steam runs perfectly and I am certain it made an important step for all gamers. Having that linux release simply didn't exist before. Now it is expected for some developers like paradox or indie games (generally talking).

I still think the availability of games wont make Linux more popular simply because it doesn't run as default when you buy a new computer and most people cant be bothered.

All in all, well done and let's never feel too comfortable with what we have, lets fight for more!
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