Gabe Newell believes that children are the future … wait, no — scratch that. He believes that Linux is the future of gaming. His stance regarding children and the future is still unknown.
Newell, managing director of gaming company Valve, spoke at the LinuxCon event in New Orleans today. During his speech he told the attendees that he expects the open-source operating system to play a bigger role in gaming, as reported by Ars Technica.
“It feels a little bit funny coming here and telling you guys that Linux and open-source are the future of gaming,” Newell told the crowd of assembled Linux devotees. “It’s sort of like going to Rome and teaching Catholicism to the pope.”
Newell’s confidence in Linux comes only a few months after Valve ported the popular Steam digital-distribution store and its games to the operating system. That move was seen as a first step in Valve’s slow buildup to the release of its often-rumored console-like Steam Box PC. Newell intends gamers to connect the Steam Box, which is an unofficial name, to TVs to get Linux-based PC gaming in the family room.
During his LinuxCon speech, Newell talked about how Valve is working to get PC gaming on more TVs and, as a part of that, he teased what sounds like the Steam Box.
“Next week we’re going to be rolling out more information about how we get there and what are the hardware opportunities we see for bringing Linux into the living room,” Newell said.
The Valve boss also spoke at length about the problems developers face in porting games to Linux. He explained that in porting games like Left 4 Dead 2 and the Steam service itself, they produced a roadmap that other studios can follow. Additionally, Valve is codeveloping a debugger for Linux that many developers have asked for.
“When we talk to developers and say, ‘If you can pick one thing for Valve to work on the tools side to make Linux a better development target,’ they always say we should build a debugger,” said Newell.
Valve got its start developing PC games for Windows like Half-Life and Half-Life 2. The company slowly moved into distribution with the release of Steam, which is now one of the biggest digital-distribution channels for PC games in the world.
In July 2012, Newell famously called Windows 8 a “catastrophe for everyone in the PC space.” He reasoned that Microsoft’s focus on the proprietary and walled Windows Store was a bad omen for the open nature of PC development. Linux, with its commitment to open-source, would prohibit problems along those lines.