Valve expands Steam with Linux support and non-gaming apps

Valve’s Steam is slowly but surely extending its dominance across the land. There were multiple announcements from the world’s premiere digital games retailer/community/game and film development platform. The biggest of these is the release of Steam for the world’s premiere open operating system, Linux.

The Valve Linux Team, comprised of 11 devoted employees within the company, opened its own blog on Monday to announce the company’s plans for the operating system. Back in 2011, after Valve’s Gabe Newell expressed interest in bringing Steam and the company’s Source engine to Linux and after using Linux-based servers for a number of Source-based games, an early version of the Linux team was gathered together. Their first goals were to bring Left 4 Dead 2 and the Steam client to the Ubuntu Linux OS.

The team did successfully bring Left 4 Dead 2 to Ubuntu and it’s now trying to get a fully functional Linux-based version of the Steam client up and running, optimizing Left 4 Dead 2 on Linux, and porting a number of other Source-based titles from Valve’s much-loved library to Linux.

“The goal of the Steam client project is a fully-featured Steam client running on Ubuntu 12.04,” reads the initial post, “We’ve made good progress this year and now have the Steam client running on Ubuntu with all major features available. We’re still giving attention and effort to minor features but it’s a good experience at the moment. In the near future, we will be setting up an internal beta focusing on the auto-update experience and compatibility testing.”

Meanwhile on the other end of the Steam world, The Verge reported on Sunday that Valve is likely expanding beyond the realm of video games with its digital retail business.The Google Android Steam App was updated with a number of new categories for software that hint at apps that aren’t games at all, but the sort of utilities and alternative entertainments that have made digital outlets like the iTunes App Store so successful.

The “Genre” section now has listings for “Accounting,” “Software Training,” “Photo Editing,” and “Education” amongst others not included in the PC/Mac Steam client. While these categories haven’t been filled with downloadable goods like Valve Spreadsheet Pro starring Gordon Freeman, it’s highly likely that those categories indicate that Valve is opening up Steam on mobile platforms for more than just new versions of Plants vs. Zombies.

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