It's Now Been Six Years Since Valve Began Rolling Out Steam For Linux
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Gaming on 6 November 2018 at 12:00 AM EST. 34 Comments
It's now been six years since Valve began their beta roll-out of the Steam client on Linux and beginning to support their own titles natively on Linux.

2012 was an interesting year from delivering Valve's early Linux news that April from their headquarters to the eventual roll-out of the public beta that began increasing at year's end.

As of tonight, there are 12,707 listed entries on Steam for Linux/SteamOS. Granted, many of those entries include DLC content, games that haven't actually been released for Linux, etc. A majority of the games at this point are also more of the indie-style games rather than AAA titles, but anyhow, there are thousands of native Linux games available from Valve's digital platform. In the past six years we have seen more game engines natively supporting Linux, Feral Interactive bringing many high profile game titles to Linux, and the ecosystem around game development on Linux improve a hell of a lot.

Vulkan has also allowed for helping to close the gap with the Windows gaming performance. Vulkan also has allowed more interesting technologies to help in the porting/emulation process like DXVK and VKD3D for mapping Direct3D API calls to Vulkan drivers more nicely than would be possible with OpenGL. The quality of Linux GPU drivers has also improved immensely over the past six years.

Of course, the very recent game-changing move by Valve has been the introduction of the new Steam Play for running Windows games on Linux with their Wine-based Proton layer along with DXVK. Valve is working on this in cooperation with CodeWeavers and other developers. Coming up later today will also be a large GPU Steam Play Linux benchmark comparison. So far it's quite interesting for just being in the public spotlight a few months and will be interesting to see how it evolves in the months ahead.

Six years in, are you happy with the direction of Linux gaming? What more would you like to see out of Valve/Steam on Linux? Will 2019 bring the return of Steam Machines? Share your thoughts with us in the forums.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

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