Online gaming power Steam disses Windows 8, pushes Linux

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Steam, the popular online gaming platform from Valve Software, made its name running and selling games for Windows then Mac. and Linux. But now it’s putting its thumb on the scale in favor of Linux over Windows 8. At least it looks that way.

As Geek.com pointed out Monday, Steam is promoting a download of Ubuntu Linux right on its web site (see below). System requirements for the Steam platform are Windows XP, Vista or 7. There is no mention of Windows 8 –– which has been broadly available since November. (For the Mac side of the house, the requirements are Intel Mac OS X Leopard 10.5.8, Snow Leopard 10.6.3 or later.)

steam2Valve managing director Gabe Newell has complained about Windows 8 for months, as detailed by Arstechnica. And, The Verge had an in-depth interview with Newell early this month in which he addresses his issues with the Microsoft operating system.

In the piece, Newell said:

“Windows 8 was like this giant sadness. It just hurts everybody in the PC business. Rather than everybody being all excited to go buy a new PC, buying new software to run on it, we’ve had a 20+ percent decline in PC sales … it’s like ‘holy cow that’s not what the new generation of the operating system is supposed to do.’ There’s supposed to be a 40 percent uptake, not a 20 percent decline …”

Of course, if Valve did not support Windows 8 in the quarter it was released, that could have affected sales, I suppose.

Last September, word leaked that Valve was working on gaming hardware of its own and Valve has since confirmed that it’s working on a Linux-based game console, so it makes sense for it to bless Linux as the OS of choice for developers if it’s going to compete with Microsoft Xbox consoles.

Bellevue, Wash.-based Valve Software is definitely diversifying. In August, it said it would open up its Steam online storefront to include productivity applications as well as gaming titles. As GigaOM reported at the time, that move would also put it into competition with Microsoft which fields its own online stores for its cash-cow Office and other productivity applications.

This story was updated at 11:04 a.m. PT to reflect the operating systems supported by the Steam platform over time.

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