Linux Gaming Will Increase '30-fold' with Steam Machines

Back in the late '90s when GPUs were first emerging, OpenGL was the go-to API when developing a game for the PC. But as the years rolled by, Microsoft DirectX became the dominant API. Thus when you talked about a PC game, it was typically for Windows. But all that's changing thanks to Valve Software, which has been supporting Linux gaming for the past several years. Even OpenGL is getting renewed attention from developers.

Last week during E3 2014, Alienware's product manager Marc Diana said that the launch of the Steam Machines next year will likely increase Linux gaming 20 to 30 fold "overnight." These gaming rigs will ship with SteamOS, which is based on Linux, along with Valve's in-house developed controller.

"There’s more games that are Linux powered today than have ever been available in the market, and that continues to grow," Diana said. "It's projected that whenever SteamOS comes out, there's going to be 700 plus titles on SteamOS that are OpenGL games."


He also pointed to Crytek's CryEngine, which will convert DirectX to OpenGL without any manual input from the developer. "[Crytek] is a great example of a company that has looked at OpenGL and said 'You know what, this is the future of game development, we're going to invest in it, and we're going to make it extremely easy to publish on multiplatform.'"

Diana acknowledged that customers who buy into the SteamOS platform will be making an investment in Linux and OpenGL gaming. "They're going to increase user adoption rate 20 fold," Diana said. "Imagine how many people are gaming today on Linux, and how many people will be gaming once Steam Machine launches. It's going to be 20, 30 fold. Overnight."

Just recently, Valve's Eric Hope said that the release window for Steam Machines will be in 2015 due to the feedback the studio has received regarding the prototype controller. Because the team is busy making those improvements, Valve doesn't see a solid release date until next year. And because the controller is part of the Steam Machine bundle, companies like Alienware are shipping their solutions early, without the controller, SteamOS and the Steam Machine seal of approval.

Linux gaming won't really "explode" until 2015 if gamers actually buy into the whole Steam Machine console pitch. The idea behind Steam Machines is very ambitious, but can hardware partners -- including Valve -- push these $499+ "consoles" to gamers who typically invest in Xbox and PlayStation? That remains to be seen.

"I mean Valve, you never want to underestimate their initiatives, and what they are going to do with Steam Machine's OS is going to be unparalleled in PC gaming," Diana said.

Do you plan to purchase a Steam Machine? Are you waiting to build your own? You can find more information about that by heading here.

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  • coolitic
    30 fold is a stretch, 20 fold is a bit more reasonable.
  • vmem
    30 fold from a nearly 0% market share is still low.

    and no, I'm not trying to put down the idea of steam machines, I think it's awesome, but so far what have we seen? delayed OS launch, OS installation problems, OS optimization problems (almost all AAA titles have similar or lower FPS compared to Win8), and repeated controller delays. heck even Alienware's newest 'steam machine' will run Win8.1 out of the box. and NO, i'm not interested in buying a $500+ device just to play linux only titles.

    at the end of the day, I expect steam machines to take off SLOWLY, with people who already own gaming PCs experimenting dual-booting Steam OS, and their market-share will grow ONLY if they perform well.
  • computerguy72
    I don't get why anyone would want a steam machine. For just about the same money you can get a windows machine and run literally everything. When there is no technical advantage (and mostly drawbacks) why do it?
  • dstarr3
    Thumbs up if you owned a Viper V770 back in the day. *represent*
  • jardows
    I am curious as to how long Valve could keep the Linux community on one platform for games? Linux-based projects have a tendency to fork on a regular basis, forming rival camps for this api, that desktop environment, etc. The game we develop today will work on Qubuntu Nutmeg that uses Farland for its GUI, but not Blue Hat Mustard edition using z-org.
  • Filiprino
    Linux and GNU is technically superior to Windows.
  • SirTrollsALot
    As long as the (Mobo, Graphics, Keyboards, Mice, ect ect) vendors make driver/app support and other software companys make Linux apps like Team Speak or Vent for starters I would be into the Steam OS. But Id rather build my own system and dual boot so I can still use my investment in current Windows games i have already bought. Also in the future I want to be able to make my own system and not be stuck to SteamOS specific systems...
  • syrious1
    Pretty much the only reason to get a steam machine is to stream games from your laptop/desktop to the TV. I'm not so sure that qualifies as an increase in Linux machines. People will want to be able to actually use the computer(dualboot) to browse, do photoshop, edit video etc. You can't do these things with a steam machine. So there's that.
  • Zaranthos
    I hate Windows 8.x and any competition to the growing Microsoft nightmare is a good thing. If Blizzard put their games on Linux I'd probably drop Windows or at the very least give Linux a much more serious look.
  • firefoxx04
    I will start using regular linux again once the GPU drivers are IDENTICAL to the windows drivers.

    Im sick of not being able to manage multiple displays the way do on windows. AMD's driver support in linux has been horrendous for me.. but im just one person.