Valve has reaffirmed its commitment to Linux. GamingOnLinux reported Saturday that the company’s upcoming Index virtual reality headset, which hasn’t yet been officially announced, will support Linux.
Despite the lack of an official announcement, details about Index leaked when its store page accidentally went live on Steam last week. The accidentally published page included a May 1 pre-order date, a scheduled June 15 launch date, and a system requirements section that mentioned “SteamOS + Linux.” GamingOnLinux was, unsurprisingly, particularly interested in that last tidbit.
More surprising was the fact that Valve responded. The company reportedly told GamingOnLinux “Yes to Linux support,” affirmed the plans to open pre-orders on May 1, said the Knuckles controllers will be renamed the Valve Index Controllers, and said it hadn't finalized the June 15 release date. It’s like Valve decided to open the kimono as soon as it slipped.
Developers have a hard enough time making sure their games run well on PCs running Windows simply because of the sheer number of possible hardware and software configurations. Linux adds even more complexity to the mix by often relying on various distros, unofficial drivers, and other fiddly setups that are probably as unique to each user as their fingerprint.
Those complications have led many game devs to neglect the platform. That’s where Valve stepped in: the company announced in August 2018 that it would make Windows-only games playable on Linux via a new version of Steam Play. More than 2,600 titles were supported within two months, according to ProtonDB, which said that 4,360 games work just eight months after the launch.
Making sure the Index supports Linux indicates that Valve’s decision to bring Windows-only games to the platform wasn’t a one-off act of kindness. (And, you know, commerce.) It will be interesting to see how extensive the headset’s Linux support is compared to other platforms—and what other platforms Valve might be willing to support. Mac owners can hope, right?