Alienware says Steam Machines will spur "20, 30-fold" growth in Linux gaming

For years, PC gaming was synonymous with Windows gaming. DirectX was the go-to API, and if you wanted to play the latest and greatest games on your killer rig, you did it under the auspices of Microsoft's operating systems. But Alienware Product Manager Marc Diana expects that situation to change dramatically once Steam Machines (and, more specifically, the SteamOS that drives them) are finally unleashed.

SteamOS is Linux, you see, and as Diana pointed out, it's not smart to underestimate Valve. "There's more games that are Linux-powered today than have ever been available in the market, and that continues to grow," he told PCGamesN . "It's projected that whenever SteamOS comes out, there's going to be 700-plus titles on SteamOS that are OpenGL games."

It's a big transition, but it has the unique advantage of being driven by Steam Machines, the Valve-blessed gaming PCs that will be produced by various manufacturers. They'll ship with SteamOS installed and assuming they're a success, that means a very large and sudden uptick in the number of Linux gamers running around on Steam.

"Imagine how many people are gaming today on Linux, and how many people will be gaming once Steam Machine launches," he said. "It's going to be 20, 30 fold [growth]. Overnight."

I've had a few Linux proponents push me to try their weapon of choice over the years, and each time my response has been the same: Why? The answer has typically been vague promises of "better" and mumbled anti-Microsoft vitriol, but perhaps in the near future they'll have something more concrete to fall back on. Not right away, though; Valve recently delayed the Steam controller , and by extension Steam Machines, until sometime next year. Somewhat ironically, that means Alienware's debut Steam Machine, the Alpha, will actually come out of the box bearing Windows 8 .

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.