Steam, the most popular digital game distribution software, has officially made its way to Linux. All 57 games supporting the open source OS have been marked down 50 to 75 percent to celebrate the release.

The move to Linux has been a long time coming for Steam. The software’s developer, Valve, first announced that it was working on a Linux port last July along with a port of the company’s Source game engine.

A beta version of Steam for Linux was released to the public in December.

The reason behind development of the Linux port is doubt and criticism surrounding Windows 8. Valve’s co-founder and managing director, Gabe Newell, has been very vocal with his negative opinions on Microsoft’s latest iteration of Windows and pointing out the need for alternatives to facilitate serious PC gaming.

“I think that Windows 8 is kind of a catastrophe for everybody in the PC space. I think that we’re going to lose some of the top-tier PC [original equipment manufacturers]. They’ll exit the market. I think margins are going to be destroyed for a bunch of people. If that’s true, it’s going to be a good idea to have alternatives to hedge against that eventuality,” Newell said in an interview at the Casual Connect game conference last July.

“I think that a lot of people — in their thinking about platforms — don’t realize how critical games are as a consumer driver of purchases and usage. So we’re going to continue working with the Linux distribution guys, shipping Steam, shipping our games, and making it as easy as possible for anybody who’s engaged with us — putting their games on Steam and getting those running on Linux, as well. It’s a hedging strategy.”

The future of Steam on Linux will depend on support from major video game publishers, many of which view PC gaming as a dying industry dominated by piracy and instead choose to focus on console games.

As for now though, independent game developers have answered Valve’s cry for Linux support; popular titles such as Amnesia, Bastion, Faster Than Light, Trine 2, and World of Goo are currently available. Valve titles Counter-Strike, Half-Life, and Team Fortress 2 have also been ported and released.

Linux-compatible games on Steam are discounted until February 21 at 10AM PST. Visit the official Steam for Linux celebration sale page for more information. Steam for Linux is currently available for download from Ubuntu’s Software Center.

Source: ArsTechnica