It’s always a third player who disrupts the market or changes the market equations. Valve, the popular game distributor, has made GNU/Linux a viable platform for the gaming community. While Google has already turned it’s Android and ChromeOS into household names bringing Linux to the living room, Canonial is still struggling.
Canonical’s struggle so far
The company also struggled (I did not get any indications that the company actually tried to work with such companies to bring their solutions to Linux users) to get players like Netflix to bring their streaming to Linux or Amazon (which is a heavy Ubuntu user) to bring Amazon cloud, MP3 player or Kindle to Ubuntu. Even Google has not bothered to launch it’s Google Drive for Linux despite being an Ubuntu user. There are no Android clients for Linux from Samsung, Motorotola, HTC or Sony to help users in updating their devices or transfer content. Adobe, instead of offering more products for Linux, has been discontinuing its products – first AIR and now Flash.
Linux remained the 3rd class citizen for such companies after Windows and Mac (however Google is changing this with it’s Android and ChromeOS).
Can Valve succeed with Linux?
That’s where Valve can change everything for Linux. The company, frustrated with Microsoft’s desperate move to copy Apple’s model, looked elsewhere and found Linux to hold great potential for the gaming market. The company launched its client for Linux which became extremely popular. The company also worked with Nvidia to improve its performance on Linux (which the GPU maker never bothered to do for Canonical).
Valve’s embrase of Linux is soon going beyond Ubuntu as the company is planning to launch it’s own gaming console running Linux. All these Linux user will be able to get a great hardware running Linux to play their games. Unlike Canonical, the company has also given hints that the users will not be treated as second class citizens and will be able to use services like Netflix on their Steam Box.
However, the company is not shy about using the word Linux on the about page of Steam. Linux is getting all the spotlight on Steam’s About page as you can see below.
Steam for Linux is now available in Beta to all users of Steam. With a growing catalog of Linux-supported games and an active Steam for linux community group, the timing’s right to jump in and share your feedback.
Will Valve finally make Linux a first class citizen among home users and gamers?