GAMES DEVELOPER Valve has opened its Steam for Linux beta programme with Nvidia updating its Linux drivers for Geforce graphics cards.
Valve has been very vocal about Microsoft's Windows 8 and the harm it believes the operating system will do to the games industry. The firm, which runs the hugely successful Steam virtual games store, has been working to port some of its titles to Linux and has formally launched a limited access beta period.
Valve has been working on porting both its Steam client and games such as Team Fortress 2 to Linux, and when it announced the beta the firm said it had 24 titles for users to buy and try out.
Gabe Newell, president and co-founder of Valve said, "Steam users have been asking us to support gaming on Linux. We're happy to bring rich forms of entertainment and our community of users to this open, customer-friendly platform."
Nvidia has updated its closed source graphics card drives for Linux, claiming significant OpenGL performance improvements. The firm claims a doubling of performance, and while previous versions of Nvidia's drivers have generally fixed more basic bugs, this time around the 310 release is primarily about increasing performance in games.
Valve claims to have received over 60,000 applications from users wanting to take part in its Steam for Linux beta programme. The firm said it is currently focusing on optimising for the Ubuntu 12.04 Linux distribution because the "overwhelming majority of applicants have reported they're running the Ubuntu [distribution] of Linux," said Frank Crockett, a member of the Steam for Linux team at the firm.
Valve hasn't said how long the beta programme will last, but if things continue at the present pace, gaming on Linux might soon no longer be a joking matter. µ