Valve will bring its digital distribution service Steam to a third PC platform, Linux, appeasing the operating system's relatively small but devoted userbase who've called for a native client for years.
The company formed a new team last year to investigate the possibility of bringing Steam to Linux, and now it has announced that the group is bringing a fully functional client to the platform, along with an optimized version of its first-person shooter Left 4 Dead 2 -- Valve intends to port more existing and upcoming titles to Linux, too.
Linux users have been able to run Steam before using Wine, but an official native client will not have the technical issues that can come with using emulation software, and could attract more users. With the release of the native client, developers will be able to target a new group of gamers not using Windows or Mac systems.
Valve says it's just started working on a version of Steam for Ubuntu, a popular variant of Linux that it believes has recognition with the general gaming and developer communities. Based on the reception of its Ubuntu edition, the company will look into supporting other Linux distributions in the future.
The new team says its Linux Steam client is already running on Ubuntu with all of the service's major features. Valve hopes to make Left 4 Dead 2, the first game it will put out for Ubuntu, perform as well under Linux as it does on Windows. The publisher has not announced a release date for either project.