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How to Get All the Promos from Steam’s Linux Sale — On a PC or Mac

How to Get All the Promos from Steam’s Linux Sale — On a PC or Mac


My brother once dismissed the whole Linux gaming scene as “minigames about Tux the Penguin.” At the time, he wasn’t far off.

But now Steam has officially arrived on Linux, or at least the Ubuntu-flavored version of it. It’s out of beta, and is available through the Ubuntu Software Center, its equivalent of the App Store. There are more than 50 titles available for it right now, many of them PC or indie smash hits, like CounterStrike: Source and Team Fortress 2.

That’s all well and good, you say. But how can you get in on it if you’re on a Windows PC or a Mac?

Option 1: Buy the games for Windows or Mac

Don’t tell anyone, but you know how it says “Save on all Linux games” on Steam’s page? That doesn’t mean you can only buy the Linux version. It means if you buy those games from Steam, you can use them on any platform Steam runs on.

So if you haven’t picked up, say, the original Half-Life yet, now’s a perfect chance to do so at only $2.49. Same with indie smash hits Bastion, Eversion, and Amnesia: The Dark Descent, or at least they’re priced in that same ballpark.

All of the games in Steam’s “Linux games” sale are also available on Windows PCs. Nearly all work on the Mac OS. Just look at the icons beneath each game’s name, and log in with Steam on a machine running that OS if you want to play it. (In case you can’t tell from the sale banner, the penguin icon is Linux, even though the only “Linux” that Steam supports right now is Ubuntu.)

Option 2: Install Linux yourself

Why would you do this, when the games all run on Windows PCs or Macs? Besides the fact that a lot of people find it fun to try out a new OS, you get a free Tux (Linux penguin) item in Team Fortress 2 if you log in to the free-to-play shooter from Linux. Obviously this isn’t a big incentive if you’re not into Team Fortress 2, but if you are it might be worth it, both for the chance to test out Ubuntu and for completionism’s sake. Besides, everything’s better with penguins.

The Ubuntu home page will explain how to download and install Ubuntu for free. You don’t have to replace your Windows or Mac installation with it; you can instead put it right alongside the existing OS. You’ll want to backup your personal data first, though, if you aren’t already using Time Machine or a similar backup utility.