For many gamers, Steam is the most banked-upon tool in their gaming inventory. You can purchase, gift and play games using the software and also you can communicate with other players. Led by Gabe Newell, Steam is widely appreciated for being one of the nicest gaming companies around. For years, Steam was available only on Windows. Then, of course, Valve Corporation decided to branch out to other platforms as well leading to the release of Steam for Mac OS X in 2010. 2 years later, Steam brought good news for many Linux fans and gamers alike. This year, Valve released Steam Beta for Linux, a fully native port of the amazing gaming software bringing world-class gaming to this often-overlooked platform. With the release came the announcement of porting of Left 4 Dead 2 on this platform.

Apart from making many Linux-loving gamers happy, Steam has thrown light on a platform that is very often overlooked, especially in terms of gaming. Gaming on Linux has always been something that has kept many Windows users from switching over. Though things in the gaming department might not change overnight, it still is a big boost to the operating system’s already soaring popularity. So, as the wheels are turning, many Linux users and supporters are wondering if this is the big breakthrough Linux gaming needed.


Steam for Linux: What will it bring?

Steam for Linux, at first, won’t be as good as its Mac or Windows counterparts. However, 3-4 years down the line we might see Linux becoming an unmissable gaming platform. As of now, Steam will bring a dozen of good games and a horde of gamers to this platform. Also, gamers from other platform will notice the growth of the Linux gaming scenario and might want to try it out.

That said, apart from games, popularity, and more users, Steam will bring growth to Linux as a platform. As gaming improves, hardware manufacturers like NVIDIA and ATI will be more proactive in releasing updates for Linux. Also, Linux developers themselves will start focusing more on improving the performance of the OS for gaming. Overall, it’s a win-win situation for Steam as well as for Linux.



Why Linux as a gaming platform?

After the lukewarm response that Windows 8 received, Microsoft’s dominance seems to be waning day by day. With the presence of other platforms, and of course Ubuntu’s growing popularity, users and developers alike are moving to greener pastures.

Coming to gaming though, what makes Linux so amazing as a gaming platform is that it delivers better performance than Windows and that too at a really low cost. If you are an ardent gamer, you know how expensive it is to build a good gaming rig. With Linux, you can save a lot of cash by cutting out the cost of the operating system.


How will it change the gaming scenario?

The introduction of Linux as a platform into the gaming world won’t change things that quickly. However, if it works for Steam as it expects it to, then other gaming companies might start focusing on Linux as well. One can’t expect the gaming scene to shift completely to Linux’s favor, at least for the next 5 years; it will still make the open-source operating system’s presence felt amongst the masses and the classes.


So, what are the hurdles?

Steam, and even gaming for Linux in general needs a lot of work. Firstly, graphic drivers for this platform should be at par with their Windows counterparts. This itself is a big step. Secondly, there need to be more commercial games on this side of the town. Another thing Linux will come across is the established popularity of Mac as a gaming platform, and also the general decline of PC gaming.


Conclusion

Steam’s introduction to the Linux world, is after all one of the best things that has happened to the open-source operating system. Having said that, things won’t change overnight and gaming on this platform has still a long way to go. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed for now.

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