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Steam's Linux game count explodes in one year, big publishers still absent

Since Valve released the first stable version of Steam for Linux a year ago, the number of Linux-supported games has grown more than fivefold.

Valve's digital game distribution service now hosts 333 games for Linux, compared to 60 games last February. (Strangely, Steam's store page claims that 541 games are now available, but when you search the entire catalog it shows only 333 titles. We've asked Valve for clarification. UPDATE: Valve confirmed that 333 are available for Linux. The 541 count appears to be a glitch.)

Either way, it's a healthy rate of growth as Valve gets ready to launch SteamOS, the Linux-based operating system for Steam Machine consoles. So far,14 hardware makers have pledged to launch Steam Machines later this year.

But while 541 games is a hefty smorgabord, the catalog still consists almost entirely of games from smaller, independent publishers. Activision, Bethesda, Capcom, Electronic Arts, Square Enix, Ubisoft and 2K Games do not offer a single Linux-supported game on Steam.

Last September, Valve said on its SteamOS Website to expect “announcements in the coming weeks about all the AAA titles coming natively to SteamOS in 2014.” So far, no such announcements have materialized with the exception of Metro: Last Light getting a Linux port . Valve is likely trying to iron out partnerships with some major publishers. Cofounder Gabe Newell has even said he's not opposed to publishers such as EA adding their own platforms on top of SteamOS.

For games that don't offer Linux versions, Steam Machines will support “in-home streaming,” letting players run games remotely from a networked PC. But this service is still in private beta testing, and it's unclear what the system requirements will be. And even if performance is flawless, having to rely on another computer to play AAA games is not an ideal solution. Hopefully Valve has some big announcements in its pocket for when Steam Machines actually launch.

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