A year or so ago, Valve and its brain child Steam saw great successes with Microsoft’s then current platform Windows 7. It was a golden age for both Windows and Steam where the two companies saw annual growth that was, at the time, at an all time high. However, when Microsoft released their next Windows operating system, Windows 8, things were not so pleasant. Adoption rates of the new Windows platform were slow; it was almost half that of the growth rate of Windows 7 at the same age. To this day, sales of Windows 8 threaten to slow to a flat-lined crawl, with many personal and enterprise users choosing to stick with the more favored Windows 7.
It was thus that the relationship between Steam and Windows started falling apart. The two softwares and their companies began to slowly drift apart. Of those in the gaming industry it was Gabe Newell, the CEO of Valve, who was among the most vocal. In an interview with The Verge, Gabe calls Windows 8 “this giant sadness.” He further goes on to assert that the operating system would usher in only harm to the PC and gaming industries. So it comes as no big surprise when little under a year after the release of Windows 8, Valve announces the SteamOS, a gaming operating system built specifically for Steam – and guess what, it doesn’t run on Windows! Nay, they chose to base it on Linux. Further moves by Valve under the guidance of Mr. Newell saw official support for Linux with the release of a Linux Steam client as well as an appearance by Gabe at this past September’s LinuxCon; all these point to what Gabe has said time and time again: “Linux is the future of gaming.”
Now the company has officially joined the Linux Foundation, an organization whose sole purpose is to accelerate the growth and adaptation rate of Linux. Valve hopes to contribute tools and innovation to Linux developers with the hope that one day hardware manufacturers, game developers, and application gurus will prioritize support for Linux over support for Windows. If you’re interested in the original press release you can read it here.
So what do you think about this change in focus? Let us know in the comments below!