Steam for Linux tops 1,500 games as launch of Valve's Steam Machines nears

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Valve will be able to boast of at least 1,500 compatible games when the first Steam Machine consoles arrive in November.

The milestone was first spotted by Linux site Phoronix, and a search of Steam’s Linux game catalog confirms the figure. All of these titles should be compatible with the first Steam Machines, a set of game consoles running Valve’s Linux-based SteamOS software. The initial wave of consoles is set to arrive on November 10.

The rate of new releases appears to have increased slightly since Steam’s official Linux launch in February 2013. At our last count in March, Steam had 1,000 Linux games, which was up from 700 games in October 2014.

Why this matters: By comparison, Steam offers nearly 6,500 Windows games, and 2,323 games for Mac. While Linux is still squarely in third place—and could really use support from more major publishers—the level of growth over the last 18 months is impressive. And if you compare Steam Machines to a traditional console launch, Valve will have a huge number of titles supporting its platform out of the gate.

alienware steam machine

Alienware's Steam Machine

Little progress among megapublishers

Now for the bad news: Most large publishers continue to keep SteamOS and Linux at a distance, either avoiding the platforms or offering just limited support. Valve’s catalog still doesn’t sell a single game from Activision, Bethesda, Capcom, Electronic Arts, or Square Enix, while Ubisoft only offers a couple of free-to-play online titles.

Without their support, the biggest third-party publishers on Linux are Warner Bros. (Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, Dying Light) and 2K Games (Sid Meier’s Civilization V, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Borderlands 2), though even they haven’t brought all of their recent releases over.

Further reading: 32 big-name games that call Linux home

Meanwhile, some developers who have launched games on Linux have expressed frustrations, either because it’s difficult to write for or the sales just aren’t there. Perhaps Valve can at least address the latter issue by pushing Steam Machines into the wild, offering a highly-visible platform for developers to target.

As a stopgap, Steam Machine users can always stream Windows games from a networked PC.

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