Valve Software founder and CEO Gabe Newell has been pretty clear over the past year that Linux is a key platform for the company going forward. Newell, a Microsoft alum, was dismissive of Windows 8 last year, and the company shipped a Steam client for Linux in February; now has nearly 200 games running on the open-source OS which will also be default foundation for the SteamOS gaming operating system.
But in case there was any doubt about its Linux tilt, Valve is joining the Linux Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes the care and feeding of Linux. The move should give Valve a boost developing a gaming platform in an environment currently dominated by proprietary console OS products that have been developed over years at a time (and, in Microsoft’s case, cross-pollinated well). It’s also a boon for Linux, which continues to remain somewhat marginalized in the gaming world, as larger companies often only choose to publish games for PC and Mac.
In October, Valve started giving sneak peeks of its Steam Controller hardware to generate hype for its long-awaited venture into console gaming. The company’s new Steam Machines, developed by third party hardware companies and shipped with the Steam Controller, are rolling out starting in early 2014– well after the holidays. Given the all the action around Microsoft Xbox one and Sony Playstation 4, Valve faces a dynamic marketplace that will place strong judgement on how its UX ultimately fares with average gamers.
In a statement released by the foundation Wednesday, Valve’s Mike Sartain said:
“Joining the Linux Foundation is one of many ways Valve is investing in the advancement of Linux gaming. Through these efforts, we hope to contribute tools for developers building new experiences on Linux, compel hardware manufacturers to prioritize support for Linux, and ultimately deliver an elegant and open platform for Linux users.”
For more from Newell’s Linux love, check out this video: