In the last couple of months, Steam has been getting a lot of attention. Not necessarily because of the games that it’s been carrying, but because of its expanding support of different operating systems. If you haven’t heard already, Steam has made official plans to support Linux, and has already made substantial progress with their beta Linux client. It really won’t be too long before the Steam client is stable, so all that would be left to do is port games over to Linux.
Now that such a major service is available for our favorite penguin, here’s a couple of reasons why you should at least consider making the switch.
I’ll start with the obvious with a surprising twist – performance via Steam is a lot better. Of course, when compared to games played via Wine, it’s going to be faster because the games are played natively rather than through a compatibility layer. Performance is one of the most important aspects of gaming, so people shouldn’t take this significance lightly.
Also, did I mention that Linux games played via Steam ran faster than those run on Windows? The exact same hardware produced better results on Linux for identical games. I’m sure no one expected that because I know I didn’t.
Whenever you buy a game, you can’t be guaranteed that the game will even run with Wine. There is a database for Wine where the compatibility applications and games are listed, but that’ll only save you some money by telling you that it probably won’t work out as you might hope. With Steam, however, all games available for Linux are guaranteed to work, no questions asked.
With this argument, the only temporary downside is that the amount of available games for Linux is relatively small. I expect this number to grow dramatically over time.
Of course, by switching to Steam you gain all of its great benefits. This includes occasionally cheaper prices (especially during sales), a completely online experience so that no physical media is ever necessary, updates to both the client and games whenever they’re released, and more.
For example, if you reinstall the operating system on a machine, you can simply open up Steam and it’ll automatically download and install all of your old games, letting you sit back and relax. On Windows and Mac OS X, people have been very pleased with how Steam operates, so it is a reputable place to buy your games.
Let Your Voice Be Heard
Finally, by switching over to Steam, you’re making a statement. I’d be surprised if Steam’s effort towards Linux doesn’t interest your gaming soul, and as a community we need to show support for projects that we appreciate. Switching to Steam will not only make Steam’s ventures into Linux worthwhile, but it also shows others that Linux is a competent gaming platform – people historically just haven’t put in enough time to get to some breakthroughs.
If we can show to others that Linux people love to play games, and that they could make a profit by supporting Linux, they may be more willing to do so. And we all like more games, right?
I absolutely understand if you’re a bit skeptical about switching over to Steam when the chance is high that your games haven’t been added yet. However, just give it some time and check regularly. Eventually a few of your games, as well as some new ones you might enjoy, should be part of those which run just fine on Linux.
What do you think about Steam’s work in Linux? Have you thought about switching? Let us know in the comments!