A Linux port of Steam has been on the cards for a while now. Back in July, the Valve Linux team revealed in its inaugural blog post that it was working on getting a fully-featured Steam client up and running on Ubuntu 12.04. Apparently, that project has made enough progress for Valve to start looking for beta testers.
Gabe Newell now famously referred to Windows 8 as a "catastrophe for everyone in the PC space," which could work out great for Linux users. Based in part on fears that Microsoft will erect a walled garden around Windows 8 and lock out developers who don't want to play the Windows Store game, Valve has been hard at work trying to port Steam over to Linux, and the first beta run will kick off in October.
Valve has released Steam Big Picture Mode, which provides PC gamers with a new, elegant TV-tailored experience of Steam. The problem is Big Picture Mode is currently only in open beta testing, and finding out how to opt into the beta can be tricky. Detailed below are steps to help you get Steam's new Big Picture Mode running smoothly on your big-screen TV.
It's called "big picture mode," and it's how Valve intends to declare war on consoles. Launching in beta form today, big picture mode is a special interface for Steam that's more appropriate for viewing on a living room television set than the current one you see on your PC. It's Valve's answer to the walled garden approach console makers have taken with their platforms, and could be the first step towards the oft-rumored Steam Box that's talked about every so often.
Valve's Steam Community shed its beta baggage and is now open to anyone in the general public interested in finding and sharing game related content. The cleaned up release introduces a handful of new features, like automatically formatting YouTube links, a slick new interface (including a collage of your finest gaming moments on the screenshots page), the ability to search within discussions areas, and other goodies.
For better or worse, Valve has officially decided to jump into the PC hardware business. We know as much because a job listing on Valve's website in search for an Industrial Designer spells it out in no uncertain terms, though details of the hardware project remain a secret. All we know for sure is that Valve is "frustrated by the lack of innovation in the computer hardware space," and to rectify that, the software developer is "jumping in."
Game developer Valve is preparing what it considers to be a "major update" to the Steam Community, one that will introduce a Game Hub feature to each and every game. The Hubs will highlight the most popular user-created screenshots, videos, and Steam Workshop items as rated by the community, while also populating them with game related news, discussions, and comments.
Valve is forging ahead with plans to port its Steam distribution platform over to Linux and has even managed to tweak Left 4 Dead 2 to run faster on a 32-bit Ubuntu system than on a Windows 7 machine, but as far as John Carmack is concerned, the real challenge will be getting Linux users to open their wallets. Carmack, as you know, is the founder and technical director of id Software, and also an open source advocate. He's also a realist.
In a recent interview with Valve CEO Gabe Newell, the outspoken unofficial head of PC Gaming leveled some pretty damning criticism on Windows 8. Using words such as “catastrophe”, the internet instantly lit up with story’s and comments that for the most part, were largely supportive of his radical stance. It could easily be argued that his comments are largely self-serving since Microsoft is setting itself up in direct competition with Valve’s Steam store, but people will have to decide for themselves. Why bring up old wounds you ask? Valve has a new supporter.