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Steam for Linux gets one step closer as Valve opens beta to public

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Valve launched a limited beta of Steam for Linux back on November 6th — letting in just 1,000 users — but the company announced Tuesday that the program is now open to the public. Players participating in the beta can play Team Fortress 2, Portal, and Serious Sam BFE, and Valve plans to add additional titles including Left 4 Dead 2 in the future. While the effort to get Steam onto Linux is welcome news for gamers who already use the OS, Valve's strategy goes beyond picking up a few Linux holdouts; getting Steam up and running on the OS has been a priority for Valve, with co-founder Gabe Newell telling Kotaku earlier this month that the next step in the company's living room plans is to bring Steam for Linux with Big Picture Mode out of beta.

After Valve dropped a number of hints this year that the company is working on gaming hardware in some capacity, Newell confirmed earlier this month that the company plans to create its own console-like PC for the living room that could compete with Microsoft and Sony's offerings. And Linux could be a key part of Valve's hardware plans; the company has distanced itself from Windows 8, signaling that it could be interested in making its own Linux-based operating system. Valve hasn't announced a timeline for a full release of Steam for Linux, but if you'd like to get in the action early, you can grab the installer now on Valve's website.