Science Victory: Civilization 5 Now On SteamOS And Linux

This man represents open source supporters.

Is… Is this E3 news? On day three, I can’t tell anymore. Did Sid Meier swing on a trapeze across the E3 concourse to announce that Civilization 5 was now available on SteamOS and Linux? Did Aspyr gather the world’s press in an art deco theatre to reveal that this was their first Linux port, after years of porting popular games to Mac? Or is it the case that there was a simple post on Civ V’s Steam forum to declare that users of Ubuntu could now begin conquering 4X strategy worlds?

Probably that last one.

Someone just rang my doorbell. Is… is that E3 news?

The post on Aspyr’s own site has more information. The port includes all expansion packs and DLC, multiplayer will work cross-platform between the different operating systems, and most interestingly, it features “support for Valve’s upcoming Steam controller.”

That controller might be delayed till next year, but games like Civilization seem like exactly the kind of thing it was designed for. Taking traditionally mouse-based games and making them playable on my couch is exactly what I’m hoping for from SteamOS and its power owl.

While it’s also good news that Civilization V has come to Linux, I’m more interested in the news as a potential sign of things to come. Aspyr have long been solely focused on bringing games to Mac, and in the past twenty years they’ve been responsible for porting dozens of major games: BioShock Infinite, Borderlands 2, all the Call of Dutys, and a ton more. That they’re now turning their attention to porting Linux games is a promising indication that the open-source operating system might be home to more games in the near future. That’s good news for players and good news for Valve’s SteamOS, which aims to provide a lightweight, Debian-derived OS solely for the purpose of running games on your television.

I just sneezed. Is… is this E3 news?

If you need to refresh your memory, you can read Alec’s Civ 5 review here.


  1. Xaxxon says:

    Very happy news for some of us. it ran quite well for me last night, we now have confirmation that both Aspyr and Feral Interactive are doing linux ports, so we can only hope that their Mac libraries are going to get ported at some point.

    • seamoss says:

      Same here, can’t wait for more ports. I already owned base CivV (never played it…) but bought the complete edition through the Linux client to show support for Aspyr (yes, it does matter financially where you buy a Steam game from or where it gets installed/played the most during the first week).

  2. rustybroomhandle says:

    And the “Complete Edition” is selling for $16-ish right now on Steam.

  3. Keyrock says:

    This is awfully good news for a gut who recently built a new rig that only has Linux on it. Civ 5 might not be as good as Civ 4, but it’s still a great game. Plus, us Linux folks will also be getting Civilization Beyond Earth once that arrives.

    • hushnecampus says:

      @Keyrock – is that confirmed about Beyond Earth? That was the most exciting feature of this announcement for me – if they’re porting Civ V surely Beyond Earth is a given. Now if only SteamOS would install on my machine…

      With Brave New World Civ V is pretty awesome. I had to give up on IV because the multiplayer was just so unstable, but with BNW I finally don’t miss it.

      • Keyrock says:

        Try Stephenson’s Rocket:

        link to

        It’s a custom and improved SteamOS installer (comes in iso form) with broader support. I used it to install SteamOS on the new rig I built just recently, and it worked well.

        Of course, since then I’ve dumped SteamOS in favor of Xubuntu 14.04. SteamOS, to its credit, worked wonderfully well for what it was designed to do, which is to basically be a console-style OS. It has a desktop mode tucked away, hidden behind an option you can select, which is serviceable, but I’m kind of particular about what desktop environment I want to use (XFCE) and what apps I want to use and all sorts of other stuff. While it’s easy enough to add the official Debian repos to SteamOS to expand what you can install, conflicts arose, even tough I added a filter so that apt always preferred SteamOS’ own repos over Debian’s. I could work through those conflicts and eventually get the full featured Linux desktop I wanted out of SteamOS, but why go through all that when I could just install Xubuntu and have what I wanted out of the box? Again, though, if I were only using SteamOS on a Steam Machine designed to basically be just a game console, then it already works quite well for that purpose, it’s just not yet ready to be a full fledged Linux desktop distro (who knows if it ever will be as that is not its purpose).

        • hushnecampus says:

          I’ll have a look when I get home, but I think that may be the one I tried. It was an installer you kicked off in Windows, then rebooted to complete. It wouldn’t let me skip the CDROM setup though, which I couldn’t complete cos I get rid of my optical drive a while ago.

          I wonder if they’ll put some effort into improving the desktop mode. They do say the OS is (or at least will be) optimized for gaming, so there may still be an advantage using it over a generic distro even if you want to do non-gaming, unless you have the skills to match Valve’s optimizations.

          Maybe create a VM for your non-gaming, which you could launch from within SteamOS?

      • DanMan says:

        You don’t strictly need SteamOS. You just need some Linux Distro with Steam on it. Just sayin’

      • seamoss says:

        > @Keyrock – is that confirmed about Beyond Earth? That was the most exciting feature of this announcement for me – if they’re porting Civ V surely Beyond Earth is a given. Now if only SteamOS would install on my machine…

        Straight from the horse’s mouth:

        Edit: When did RPS start embedding YouTube? Anyway, fast forward to 8m31s.

  4. stemitchell says:

    The Brave New World DLC is currently a fiver too…for the next 4 hours! So you must all hurry. Go on. *shoo*

    link to

  5. mvar says:

    just picked it up and wooohooo!! at last native linux support!

  6. uh20 says:

    wake up, notice civ 5 has linux support and on sale, purchase on phone while driving, win.

  7. rustybroomhandle says:

    I tried this port last night and it’s a really good quality professional port. Good job, Aspyr! There have been a few not-so-stellar “ports” of late, so this was a welcome change.