Valve’s console will be on Linux: why it’s cool

To an outsider who is not familiar with Linux, it might seem that Linux is a platform for developers and geeks, which in no way suits the home computer of the average user. Major developers do not pay enough attention to it, and many favorite games like Shadow Blade 5e)  are not available. But is it?


When Valve announced Steam Machines (Linux-based set-top boxes) in 2013, many finally believed in the end of Microsoft’s monopoly on the operating system market. When a player monopolizes the market (and I consider computer gaming to be a separate path), it becomes very easy for a monopolist to squeeze the business he likes, which is based on his platform. Microsoft has done such tricks more than once in the field of OpenGL versus DirectX graphics APIs, which led to the death or purchase of a competitor. Seeing this, Valve began to put straws under itself, because let’s be honest, it was not love that turned Valve towards Linux, but an attempt to fight back. Prior to Valve, the gaming position of Linux was almost killed by the efforts of Microsoft, and the games released were inferior in performance to Windows versions.

How is this possible on a cleaner system? The OpenGL graphics API was almost dead and no alternatives were foreseen on Linux, most games were released on complex and outdated OpenGL, and cards from the largest manufacturer Nvidia were architecturally sharpened for DirectX. This all changed dramatically with the arrival of Mantle-Vulkan from AMD labs. The new graphics API started showing great results, and games running on Linux began to overtake Windows versions for the first time. Many developers began to look at Linux and Steam Machines with a second wind, because the capabilities of Vulkan and the low resource consumption of Linux created ideal conditions for a F95Zone (gaming platform).

Why didn’t it take off?

At first glance, the strategy of a computer and console device with the possibility of an upgrade in the future, as well as a convenient shell for launching games, looks brilliant. The user benefits from both systems. In fact … The developers began to bypass the promising system, because the concept was initially chosen that simply could not work in such a logic. When you buy a gaming device that looks like a console, you are counting on a unified experience. The products provided should just work and not require additional shamanism, but this is difficult due to the very idea of ​​Steam Machines, where the configuration can float all the time.

It was possible to neutralize this miscalculation on the part of the operating system, but Valve initially chose the wrong distribution kit. You see, after all, Linux is just a kernel on which many distributions (Vasyan’s assemblies) are based, which have their own specialization for different needs. The distribution kit of Debian chosen by Valve is considered very stable in the Linux environment, but stability is paid a high price, because Debian simply does not keep up with the software side of the new hardware and drivers. Users simply could not use their device to the maximum, and the limited list of games that worked was not encouraged to buy the device.


Despite the failure of Steam Machines, the buzzing of millions of bucks never goes unnoticed, and especially where everyone can take your work. The Linux push has spawned something never seen before. Enthusiasts have learned to run Windows games and programs with better or similar performance. People who wanted to play games had a choice, and the implementation of the tool directly on Steam made it possible to get rid of the tedious setup. Of course, not everything is so colorful and there are a lot of problems, but you can already play 90% of all games that came out on Windows.

New console from Valve

Gossip. The world is full of them, and now someone is already saying that the new console from Valve will be on cut Windows. If you were Valve, would you be releasing a future device that does not depend on you, but on your competitor? I doubt it, because the memory of DreamCast and its Windows Ce is still alive. So what will the operating system be? With 80% confidence it will be one of the many Linux distributions, but I’m more inclined to something similar, which is on the PlayStation 3-4-5, and a full-fledged twin brother of Firebolt 5e works there .

With this trick, Valve will provide sole control over the unified hardware device, and the progress made in Linux will allow running any Windows games on the device. If this happens, then we are in for a full-fledged takeoff of Linux systems. It’s not for nothing that Microsoft is adjusting to Linux and announcing a new Windows 11. Console and Linux users will have the ability to run online games with anti-cheats (if the systems are not separated) and even more push than before.


Unfortunately, more and more people are switching to portable devices and abandoning many projects available on older platforms. If Valve succeeds, we no longer have to choose, we will see a full-fledged revolution in mobile gaming, which will save us from regret – we will get everything at once.

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