Serious gaming comes to Ubuntu at last
While the open-source world has had serious alternatives to most serious computer jobs, the world of gaming has been a different matter. Steam for Linux is a welcome step in the right direction as it shows the intent by Valve to support Linux in the future. This is the Steam client and it does not mean the entire Steam catalog is suddenly available for Linux. The choice of games on offer is much more restricted compared to Windows. Hopefully the selection will widen as time goes on.
The ease of installation can vary greatly. The download is a standard deb file that most distributions of Linux should know how to deal with. We reviewed on Ubuntu. Installation on 32-bit Ubuntu worked without any problems. The Software Centre should appear when the deb file has been downloaded and handle everything from there.
How easy installation is on 64-bit versions of Ubuntu will depend on whether the 32-bit parts of Ubuntu have also been installed. One installation of Ubuntu we tried did and the Steam software installed as easily as it did for 32-bit. On another, sadly, this was a much longer process and none of the official help sources seemed to have any answers.
Thankfully the solution was provided by a Steam Forum user here. After this simple command at the terminal, installation finished without any further problems.
Once installed, the interface will be instantly familiar and works in just the same way as on Windows.
The range of games is more limited compared to Windows. This is the Steam client and so developers will have to transfer their games to Linux. Valve has said it will offer help to do this.
The Steam store lists a total of 93 games for Linux. There are some big name games such as Team Fortress 2, Counter-Strike Source and World of Goo. The first Half-Life game is available but the sequels are not.
Installing and playing games is no different to the Windows version. Select a game and it will be downloaded to your computer so it is ready to play.
As with Windows, the notion of buying a game once and playing it on any number of computers (although not at the same time) still applies and you won't have to pay again to play games that you already own on Windows.
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