Steam for Linux officially enters beta testing

Steam Linux

When Valve first announced Steam, a service that allows gamers (and, recently, creative professionals) the ability to download software at high speeds from Valve’s servers, many people were skeptical. Especially when the company launched Half-Life 2 and both Steam and the game were rendered unusable for a number of days. Of course, Valve has turned things around since then, and over the past few years Steam has become the de facto face of digital downloads, offering both PC users and those who prefer Apple’s devices a solid reason to never physically visit a video game store ever again.

Now, that awesome opportunity for wanton laziness has been expanded to Linux users. Well, sort of. As of this morning, Valve has announced that Steam has entered a closed Linux beta test. The current beta version of Steam lacks many of the features you’d find in its PC and Mac iterations, but Valve certainly didn’t want to test its game distribution system without offering players actual games. Thus, beta testers are now able to download and play a special Linux version of Team Fortress 2. Further, the Linux Steam client also includes support for the Big Picture mode seen in the PC version of Steam that allows the software (and any games running through it) to expand its viewing area to properly fit on modern HDTVs.

Oddly, Valve’s announcement also claims that there are an additional “two dozen” games available for play on the Linux version of Steam, though all links the company has offered to an official list of said games seem to be defunct. Seeing this, we attempted to manually search Steam for any Linux-compatible games, and while we came up with this list of 25 titles (26 if you include Team Fortress 2) by searching specifically for Linux compatibility, none of them happen to mention Linux in their respective Steam store descriptions. We just sent off a message to Valve to see if we could get a bit of clarification on which games Linux users can expect to play, so hopefully we’ll have more info to offer soon.

Now, before you Linux users get too excited, know that there are caveats involved with this beta test. First, this is not a public beta. To be eligible for the test, you would have had to already receive an invite from Valve. According to the company, it received over 60,000 applications to take part in this test in the first week following its call for such people, and while no official figures have been released on how many gamers are involved in this beta, we expect the number to be quite large

Assuming you are one of these lucky invitees, the only hurdle left is making sure that your operating system is up to snuff. According to Valve, the Linux beta test is specifically for those running Ubuntu 12.04. Steam’s availability will expand to include other popular Linux flavors over time, but for now its Ubuntu or nothing. “An overwhelming majority of beta applicants have reported they’re running the Ubuntu distro of Linux,” said Frank Crockett, a member of the Steam for Linux development team. “We intend to support additional popular distros in the future; we’ll prioritize development for these based on user feedback.”

There is currently no word on how long Valve intends to keep this test running, nor how quickly we’ll see other popular titles appear on Steam’s Linux iteration, but we’ll keep you updated as new information rolls in. In the mean time, you Linux users are given permission to smugly boast about the new gaming capabilities of your favorite, less-than-mainstream operating system. Your friends who swear by Windows have had it coming for years.

Computing

Turn your Raspberry Pi into a Steam streaming hub with Valve’s Steam Link app

Valve's Steam Link app is now fully supported by Raspberry PI hardware, meaning that just about anyone with a few dollars to spare can build their own Steam streaming box in a matter of minutes.
Gaming

Apple Mac users should take a bite out of these awesome games

Contrary to popular belief, there exists a bevy of popular A-list games compatible for Mac computers. Take a look at our picks for the best Mac games available for Apple fans.
Gaming

The Epic Games store is already luring indie studios away from Steam

The Epic Games Store is less than a week old, but it's already making waves among indie studios. Multiple studios have announced that their games will be timed exclusives on the Epic Games Store, with one studio forgoing Steam completely.
Home Theater

Looking to cut cable? Here’s everything you need to know about Pluto TV

Pluto TV offers plenty of entertainment in a fashion similar to live internet TV services, only at no cost — you don’t even need to register. Too good to be true? Here’s everything you need to know.
Gaming

How do Nintendo Switch, Xbox One X compare to each other? We find out

The Nintendo Switch is innovative enough to stand apart from traditional consoles, but could it become your primary gaming system? How does the Switch stack up against the Xbox One?
Gaming

Skateboarding legend says ‘Tony Hawk’s Skate Jam’ will appeal to his fans

Tony Hawk's Skate Jam is now available for free on iOS and Android devices, and Digital Trends had the chance to talk to the legendary skater about its development and how it captures the magic of his best games.
Gaming

Cops called to handle ‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’ noise end up playing the game

A group of friends were playing Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on the Nintendo Switch when cops arrived to respond to noise complaints from neighbors. In an unexpected twist, the officers ended up playing the game, too.
Gaming

The third DLC for ‘Spider-Man’ swings onto PlayStation 4 next week

The third part of Spider-Man's episodic DLC, Silver Lining, releases on December 21. The episode focuses on Silver Sable and Hammerhead, and it includes three new suits for Peter Parker.
Gaming

Spawn creator suggests the antihero could appear in ‘Mortal Kombat 11’

Spawn creator Todd McFarlane hinted that the comic book antihero could join the cast of Mortal Kombat 11 during a Reddit AMA. Spawn previously appeared in SoulCalibur II on the original Xbox.
Gaming

Hey, Sony! If you make a PS2 Classic, it needs these games

158 million PS2 consoles were sold worldwide during its lifecycle, making it the most successful video game console of all time. It was hard, but we narrowed down the PS2's vast library of games. Here are the best PS2 games of all time.
Gaming

Grabbing a Switch for the holidays? Here's what you need to know to play online

If you want to play online multiplayer on Switch, you'll need a Nintendo Switch Online subscription. Here's what you need to know about Nintendo Switch Online, from price to features to the awesome library of NES games.
Gaming

You're not a true fan without these Nintendo Switch exclusives

Who doesn't love a good Nintendo game? If you're looking for great first-party titles for your Nintendo Switch, take a look at our list of the very best exclusives available right now.
Gaming

Check out the best deals from GameStop’s Game Days Sale

GameStop has hundreds of games available for discounted prices between now and December 25 as part of its Game Days Sale. We checked out the deals and have rounded up all of the best Nintendo Switch, PS4, and Xbox One deals here.
Gaming

Trash at 'Super Smash Bros. Ultimate'? Use this guide to train up and get good

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the biggest game in the entire series, and it can be overwhelming for newcomers not used to the universe-colliding fighting game. Here's what you need to know when you're starting.