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Ask Slashdot: Is Linux Set To Be PC Gaming's Number Two Platform?

Soulskill posted about 9 months ago | from the year-of-linux-in-the-living-room dept.

Linux Business 281

monkeyhybrid writes "Following a tweet from the developer of Maia (a cross platform game soon to hit Steam) that Linux was bringing him more game sales than OS X. Gaming On Linux decided to investigate further by reaching out to multiple developers for platform sales statistics. Although the findings and developer comments show Linux sales to still be sitting in third place, behind those of OS X and Windows, they are showing promise. Developer feedback certainly appears to be positive about the platform's future. With Steam OS on its way, surely leading to more big title releases making their way to the Linux platform, could Linux gaming be set to take the number two spot from Apple?"

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281 comments

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*Sure* it is. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46105453)

Linux on the desktop, BABY!

Re:*Sure* it is. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46105489)

Number two on the desktop?!? Bad baby!!!!

Re:*Sure* it is. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46105517)

A number two gaming platform? It's already that...

Re:*Sure* it is. (3, Funny)

sabri (584428) | about 9 months ago | (#46105921)

I hope this won't happen:

make[2]: Entering directory `/call-of-duty/src'
gcc -Wall -Werror -ggdb -g -O2 -lshoot-em-up -o cod cod.o
cod.o: In function `kill_em_all':
/call-of-duty/cod.c:59: undefined reference to `shoot'
make[2]: *** [cod] Error 1
make[2]: Leaving directory `/cod/src'
make[1]: *** [all-recursive] Error 1
make[1]: Leaving directory `/cod'
make: *** [all] Error 2
root@gamer:~/#

:)

Re:*Sure* it is. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46105995)

Because they are actually going to give you the source code to their game and ask you to compile it yourself, right?

Re: *Sure* it is. (2)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | about 9 months ago | (#46106017)

That would just be to awesome.

Re: *Sure* it is. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46106063)

Indeed, it would. But it won't happen.

Still, there's two things wrong.
1) If they did distribute the source to their game and an error like that occurred, it would be a problem with their distribution of the game, not of Linux.
2) There's no reason to do that when Steam is attempting to make its place as the primary game distribution platform for Linux, which gives the user binaries, or at the very least something like apt-get would be used.

Re: *Sure* it is. (4, Funny)

aliquis (678370) | about 9 months ago | (#46106071)

Yeah, an additional 40 FPS for everyone running Gentoo .. ;D

Re:*Sure* it is. (2)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 9 months ago | (#46106353)

Gentoo gaming!
On the desktop!

Re:*Sure* it is. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46106253)

Linux on the desktop, BABY!

Nope, living room. :(

I'll be ecstatic! (2)

LF11 (18760) | about 9 months ago | (#46105473)

I'll become a gamer again if this happens. Just the idea of this makes me incredibly happy.

Re:I'll be ecstatic! (5, Funny)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 9 months ago | (#46106417)

Why? Did you look at those numbers?

Puppy Games
89% Windows
6% Mac OSX
5% Linux

I have more good news for you. In a three way dunk competition between you, Kobe Bryant, and me, you have a good shot at coming in second!!!

Betteridge says... (1, Informative)

Laxori666 (748529) | about 9 months ago | (#46105491)

no!

Who cares? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46105501)

not this Neanderthal!
Neanderthal Power!

Does SteamOS count as a desktop? (4, Insightful)

putaro (235078) | about 9 months ago | (#46105507)

It's a variant of Linux but it's not for use with a general purpose computer. By that standard, BSD (iOS sorta kinda) and Linux (Android) are already major game platforms.

Re:Does SteamOS count as a desktop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46105557)

I'm not sure if it counts as a desktop but if a developer writes a game to run on SteamOS then I'd guess it wouldn't take much for it to run on any Linux distro that can already run Steam (the client).

Re:Does SteamOS count as a desktop? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46106155)

Q: Didn't you tell me to develop for Ubuntu? Do I need to install Debian to build for SteamOS?
A: All Steam applications execute using the Steam Runtime which is a fixed binary-compatibility layer for Linux applications. This enables any application to run on any Linux distribution that supports the Steam Runtime without recompiling.

Unknown sources (3, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | about 9 months ago | (#46105607)

As I understand what I've read, Steam OS allows the user to exit the Steam client, run GNOME, and install games from unknown sources. Android (both Google Play and Fire OS flavors) likewise lets users install games from unknown sources. The odd man out here is iOS.

Re:Does SteamOS count as a desktop? (1)

deragon (112986) | about 9 months ago | (#46106021)

What is promissing is that any game that would be running under SteamOS could also run under Ubuntu, a general purpose distribution for which you can install many desktop applications. You cannot do that on Android or iOS.

Re:Does SteamOS count as a desktop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46106261)

It's a variant of Linux but it's not for use with a general purpose computer. By that standard, BSD (iOS sorta kinda) and Linux (Android) are already major game platforms.

How is it not for use with a general purpose computer? If you look at the hardware specs of the "Steam Machines" that's all they are, general purpose computers. I can just as easily dual boot my windows "general purpose computer" with SteamOS as install it on a dedicated set top unit that has general purpose hardware (as they all pretty much do). Your argument doesn't make sense.

Aside games.. (2)

Delarth799 (1839672) | about 9 months ago | (#46105509)

..there isn't much holding me back from dumping Windows all together so seeing that Linux as a viable gaming platform is on the rise it shouldn't be too much longer before I can dump it all together and go full Linux. Sure Linux has Wine support but I would prefer to have native support instead.

Wine is not an emulator (5, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | about 9 months ago | (#46105685)

Sure Linux has Wine support but I would prefer to have native support instead.

Wine is not an emulator but a reimplementation of the Win32 API. So long as the developer of a video game or other application tests its product on Wine, it's just another toolkit, just as GTK+ and Qt and SDL are toolkits. In such a case, I don't see how an app running in Wine is any less "native" than, say, a Qt app running on a GTK+-based distribution. If you complain instead that not enough developers and publishers of games designed for Windows care about Wine compatibility, I can agree with that complaint though. Is that what you're trying to say?

Re:Wine is not an emulator (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46105717)

Wine is not an emulator but a reimplementation of the Win32 API.

And Bochs is not an emulator but a reimplementation of the x86 ISA.

Re:Wine is not an emulator (4, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | about 9 months ago | (#46105807)

To keep this debate from collapsing into one of definitions [c2.com] , I'll offer some. In the retro-gaming community, an "emulator" simulates the operation of an entire computer, using an interpreter or dynamic recompiler to simulate the CPU. This emulator imposes a substantial performance penalty. For example, DOSBox and Bochs are emulators. Wine, on the other hand, is just a set of libraries that run on your existing machine; the application's code runs natively. VirtualBox and VMware are somewhere in the middle as "virtual machine monitors", which execute unprivileged code directly and recompile privileged code into the same instruction set but without use of privileged instructions.

Let me put it another way: If you think Wine is an emulator, then Qt is an emulator too if I install it on a GTK+ based distribution like Ubuntu or Xubuntu, and GTK+ is an emulator if I install it on Kubuntu.

Re:Wine is not an emulator (1, Informative)

sexconker (1179573) | about 9 months ago | (#46106007)

To keep this debate from collapsing into one of definitions [c2.com] , I'll offer some. In the retro-gaming community, an "emulator" simulates the operation of an entire computer, using an interpreter or dynamic recompiler to simulate the CPU. This emulator imposes a substantial performance penalty. For example, DOSBox and Bochs are emulators. Wine, on the other hand, is just a set of libraries that run on your existing machine; the application's code runs natively. VirtualBox and VMware are somewhere in the middle as "virtual machine monitors", which execute unprivileged code directly and recompile privileged code into the same instruction set but without use of privileged instructions.

Let me put it another way: If you think Wine is an emulator, then Qt is an emulator too if I install it on a GTK+ based distribution like Ubuntu or Xubuntu, and GTK+ is an emulator if I install it on Kubuntu.

To keep this debate from collapsing into one of definitions, you offered a specific definition of the term as used by a specific niche of people in a specific sector instead of the actual definition.

Emulator. Noun. One that emulates. See emulate.
Emulate. Verb. To rival.

WINE emulates an implementation of the Win32 API. Whether you use the actual definition (rivals) or the typically-accepted incorrect definition (imitates) it holds true. Even when you use the sector-specific jargon of a computer system implementing the functionality of another computer system, there is no stipulation that an emulator must be software and the emulatee must be hardware. All computer systems are ultimately a combination of hardware and software - the line is irrelevant and often blurred (see firmware).
WINE is an emulator.

Re:Wine is not an emulator (3, Informative)

tepples (727027) | about 9 months ago | (#46106195)

If you use that definition, then nothing on Linux can be native because Linux is a UNIX emulator.

No. Linux is not a UNIX emulator... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46106427)

There are too many things not done, or implemented drastically differently.

It doesn't even meet the POSIX specs which would be required (it ignores part of that just because they don't really make any sense).

Re:Wine is not an emulator (1)

Delarth799 (1839672) | about 9 months ago | (#46105757)

Yah. I haven't checked lately but I remember for a while it could be a pain in the butt to get games to work on Wine because developers didn't care about Wine support. Hopefully with Linux moving up now they could at least get the ball rolling on Wine compatibility.

Re:Wine is not an emulator (3, Interesting)

KiloByte (825081) | about 9 months ago | (#46105857)

Wine: an emulator of the win32 API+ABI on POSIX+X.
WinXP/Vista/7/8: an emulator of the win32 API+ABI on NT.

Neither is native in this sense.

Re:Wine is not an emulator (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about 9 months ago | (#46106079)

Wine: an emulator of the win32 API+ABI on POSIX+X.
WinXP/Vista/7/8: an emulator of the win32 API+ABI on NT.

Neither is native in this sense.

WINE is an emulator of specific implementations of the Win32 API (those found in various Windows binaries).
Various versions of Windows implement the Win32 API.
There is no "native" implementation of the API. There may be a single original implementation, a single complete/up-to-date implementation, a single official implementation, etc., but the word "native" means absolutely nothing here since the Win32 API is an API. Nativity has to do with birth.
If you want to consider the origin of / first implementation of the Win32 API as its "nativity", then the first Windows binaries that implemented it would be considered "native".

Re:Wine is not an emulator (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46105897)

There are at least two reasons that OP is saying that Wine is not "native." The first is that not all libraries that programs expect are implemented (the vast majority of the most frequently used ones are, but there are a TON that are basically never used; unfortunately these libraries are available on native Windows, but not Wine).

The second reason has to do with graphics performance, specifically for DirectX. On Windows, these D3D calls go straight to the card "natively." With Wine, they must be translated to OpenGL, and the run. This results in pretty serious performance penalty. Even for maturely supported games, this is a big bottleneck.

Hope that clears things up for you!

App devs should report API bugs to Wine team (1)

tepples (727027) | about 9 months ago | (#46105983)

There are at least two reasons that OP is saying that Wine is not "native." The first is that not all libraries that programs expect are implemented (the vast majority of the most frequently used ones are, but there are a TON that are basically never used; unfortunately these libraries are available on native Windows, but not Wine).

Then developers should test their apps in Wine and report failures in these unimplemented APIs to the Wine developers.

The second reason has to do with graphics performance, specifically for DirectX.

I thought the only games for Windows that had to use DirectX were Windows Phone games, Windows RT games, and Windows 8 games sold as Windows Store apps. Otherwise, the developer can use OpenGL, unless the developer never plans to port the game to any platform other than Windows family and Xbox family.

Re:App devs should report API bugs to Wine team (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46106081)

Your solution requires that developers target Wine, rather than (or in addition to) Windows. Do you now understand why OP said he'd rather be using native Windows than Wine?

Re:App devs should report API bugs to Wine team (1)

tepples (727027) | about 9 months ago | (#46106183)

My reasoning is that if enough users use Wine, then developers will have to target Wine in order not to lose business.

Re:App devs should report API bugs to Wine team (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 9 months ago | (#46106415)

Yes but "enough users" is a milestone that may take a decade or more to reach, even with SteamOS.
And it does nothing to support older games, a game segment that is growing every day. There aren't any obsolete games really. Subjectively, a lot of players think older games are superior to the latest batch coming out.

Re:Wine is not an emulator (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46106409)

It isn't an emulator- at least not an x86 emulator.

it DOES emulate the Win32 API... and all the overhead that calls for.

A native implementation doesn't need all that overhead.

Problem is switching from Win to Linux ... (2)

perpenso (1613749) | about 9 months ago | (#46105737)

..there isn't much holding me back from dumping Windows all together so seeing that Linux as a viable gaming platform is on the rise it shouldn't be too much longer before I can dump it all together and go full Linux. Sure Linux has Wine support but I would prefer to have native support instead.

This is a very common opinion. However the problem is that switching from Windows to Linux does not really help the developer. The developer replaced a Windows sale with a Linux sale. Basically Linux will largely cannibalize Windows sales. So the justification to the developer for doing a Linux version has to go beyond simply the number of Linux sales.

For a small and not-well-known developer this benefit may be greater exposure and word of mouth. For the large established developer the benefits for a Linux version are a bit iffier. Assuming of course the large developer does not have a software distribution platform to promote.

The living room (2)

tepples (727027) | about 9 months ago | (#46105887)

Basically Linux will largely cannibalize Windows sales.

Not for games designed around the 2 to 4 controllers and large monitor in a living room. Only a tiny number of people [slashdot.org] have put together a living room gaming PC running Windows. The Steam Machines, on the other hand, are designed for the living room in order to make it easier for developers to get controller-friendly games out to the public with less overhead and less red tape than the consoles.

Re:The living room (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 9 months ago | (#46106435)

Hmm, controller-friendly games and current Steam games are mostly for separate market segments. So it means Valve is branching into a new market.

More like (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 9 months ago | (#46105511)

Number six

  Be seeing you

Only if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46105529)

Only if Steam OS buyers don't get suckered by low prices from those few manufacturers trying to use AMD video hardware. If that happens the platform will quickly earn a reputation for fail and be shunned.

Re: Only if... (1)

iamhassi (659463) | about 9 months ago | (#46105701)

you misspelled [techspot.com] nvidia [infoworld.com] .

Re: Only if... (1)

iamhassi (659463) | about 9 months ago | (#46105741)

I still have a core 2 duo laptop with one of the broken nvidia gpus. For about two years there any laptop with a nvidia chip would eventually fail. Nvidia settled quickly so many people didn't find out about the class action lawsuit until their laptop broke and by then it was too late. Not that it mattered much, the most nvidia offered was a Eee PC netbook to compensate them for their broken Alienware laptops.

All three consoles use AMD graphics (1)

tepples (727027) | about 9 months ago | (#46105721)

But how would buyers of an AMD-powered Steam Machine be in any worse of a position than, say, console buyers? PlayStation 4 uses AMD graphics, Xbox One uses AMD graphics, and Wii U uses AMD graphics. The odd man out is OUYA, which has NVIDIA Tegra 3 graphics; is it even doing better than the Wii U?

Doesn't matter for Steam (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46105773)

All three have developer/driver support direct from AMD for those consoles. Linux still has jack shit support from AMD; you may expect AMD to suck on Steam just as hard as it sucks on Linux desktops.

Re:Doesn't matter for Steam (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about 9 months ago | (#46105883)

Funny that. I have an AMD graphics card in my gaming Linux system, with Steam, and it works pretty well. AMD's driver support has sucked (and I built the system before I switched the gaming system over to Linux), but with the current experimental drivers it's actually pretty good. I have not noticed any problems with any of my games.

AMD is working with Valve to produce driver improvements, so I would expect that things to continue improving.

Maia and Linux (4, Interesting)

blackraven14250 (902843) | about 9 months ago | (#46105537)

Maia isn't a game that's "soon to be released". Maia is in a very early alpha stage with very little of the final functionality - you'd expect Linux to be over represented in that particular sample.

People that have like (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46105597)

People that have certain mac's that can't upgrade to the latest OS X might consider switching to Linux for games, especially considering the performance increases any future driver might offer (that OS X won't get, because Apple's drivers aren't updated frequently)

but there still is one huge problem for regular people and linux, and that's when you incorrectly shut-down most linux distro's you'll actually destroy your OS ~ install ubuntu (non-virtualized) and force shutdown (for proof)
Linux is still incredibly unusable on the desktop due to many of these little stupid bugs that regular people shouldn't have to bother with (it's too developer-centric, and too little HUMAN centric)

Re:People that have like (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46105761)

Developers are human, too.

Re:People that have like (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46106009)

You just revealed you're a developer too.

AC meant inexperienced users (1)

tepples (727027) | about 9 months ago | (#46106029)

Then let me try to rephrase the other Anonymous Coward's comment the way I understood it: "Linux is still incredibly unusable on the desktop due to many of these little stupid bugs that regular people shouldn't have to bother with. It's too developer-centric and not enough inexperienced-user-centric." Steam Machines are supposed to compete with the major video game consoles, which are designed from the ground up for inexperienced users [pineight.com] .

Re:People that have like (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46105961)

The issue is with Ubunta using a beta File system instead of the well tested and proven ext3. Anyone that depends on it is either an Idiot/Stupid or a NOOB and it's why I absolutely recomend against using Ubunta. They've proven themselves to be completely against the users that built the community. Debian/RH/Gentoo/LFS with a properly configured ext3 does not suffer the totally corrupted file systems that ubunta does during a dirty shutdown. I've had battery backups up and die (provided no power during an outage) forcing a dirty shutdown but as I used ext3, it was a simple matter of rebooting in single user mode and playing the journal back. Did I loose anything? Probably but you know what, it more then likely was a temp file such as internet cache that I didn't give a damn about loosing.

It's all about configuration for stability and Ubunta no longer has it due to their changes.

Fast Turtle

Re:People that have like (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46106041)

when you incorrectly shut-down most linux distro's you'll actually destroy your OS ~ install ubuntu (non-virtualized) and force shutdown (for proof)

What kind of weird FUD is this?

Linux survives power outages and pulled plugs fine. The system might do a file system check on boot, if it finds disk arrors, but that's about it.

Power failure does not kill Linux (2)

tepples (727027) | about 9 months ago | (#46106061)

when you incorrectly shut-down most linux distro's you'll actually destroy your OS ~ install ubuntu (non-virtualized) and force shutdown (for proof)

My experience differs. I have Xubuntu 12.04 LTS on my laptop and Xubuntu 12.04 LTS on my grandmother's decade-old desktop PC. Sure, Alt+SysRq+REISUB makes panic shutdowns cleaner, but if sudden loss of power rendered the operating system unbootable, you wouldn't be able to read the comment that I'm typing right now on the laptop.

Oh boy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46105621)

Cue a bunch of maroons who invoke Betteridge's law of headlines because they're tired of discussing this sort of thing and/or think it's clever to invoke it.

Number 2? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46105643)

Huh?

My understanding is that the major consoles and Windows fill the first three or four spots, Mac OS comes in a distant 4th or 5th, and other minor consoles and LINUX fill out the rest. And that doesn't even count to obsolete console platforms that are in use in so many homes.

And to make these conclusions based on the sales of one game ... well, lets just say that's stretching it a bit.

Consoles aren't PCs (1)

tepples (727027) | about 9 months ago | (#46106159)

The major consoles aren't personal computers (PCs) because they don't let the person who owns it control the computing done on it. So currently it's Windows, OS X, and then GNU/Linux, and the featured article suggests that GNU/Linux is set to overtake OS X soon.

Apple doesn't take gaming on computers seriously (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46105653)

Apple does not seem to be much interested on building affordable computers for gaming.
To get an Apple computer with a discrete graphics card you need at least $1500 for a desktop and $2500 for a laptop.

With Steam running on Linux, my guess is that developers will be much less inclined to invest time in porting games on OSX.

Re:Apple doesn't take gaming on computers seriousl (0)

DanSSJ4 (1693476) | about 9 months ago | (#46105743)

Apple does not care about building affordable anything: Computer, Laptops, Tablets, Phones are all of the highest priced variety.

Apple devices are designed to be expensive, it's part of their marketing. If the poor masses could all afford them then snobs and techies that buy them wouldn't want them.

I live in an area that has lots of wealthy well to do type people around and most of them have apple products and all they do is web browse and read e-mail, they bought them for the look, price, and because that's what all their friends and family were doing & they would feel cheap if they bought a PC / Android device at half the cost.

The only exception to this is iPhones, and that is just because the phone carrier's subsidize the proce over a 2 year contract.

Re: Apple doesn't take gaming on computers serious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46105849)

Some people actually like OSX better than Linux or Windows. And why not?

Re:Apple doesn't take gaming on computers seriousl (3, Interesting)

Guspaz (556486) | about 9 months ago | (#46105825)

Annoyingly, you'd be able to use discrete graphics cards with any modern Mac if Apple would stop refusing to license thunderbolt PCIe bays. Benchmarks (via enthusiasts hacking together solutions) show that even a Macbook Air can provide good gaming performance (5x or more the framerate of the iGPU) when connected to a high-end graphics card via Thunderbolt (even on the internal display). Since Apple refuses to license them, however, you're restricted to doing it under bootcamp with expensive enterprise-targeted enclosures.

In other words, there is no technical reason why you couldn't simply plug an external discrete GPU into any Mac and instantly get massively improved gaming performance. Apple is actively blocking such things.

Re:Apple doesn't take gaming on computers seriousl (1)

DanSSJ4 (1693476) | about 9 months ago | (#46106069)

Right, because there market is the rich elite which don't care about games or play them on xbox, or techies which are smart enough to dual boot into windows.

So until their customers want games beyond Angy Birds, they won't and don't care.

Apple has never been about giving you freedom and customization, they want you to use their product they way they designed it for the purpose they designed it for.

Re:Apple doesn't take gaming on computers seriousl (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46106221)

Apple is not responsible for licensing Thunderbolt; Intel is. Apple was just the first manufacturer to use Thunderbolt across its lineup.

iPod touch and iPad mini (2)

tepples (727027) | about 9 months ago | (#46105829)

Apple does not seem to be much interested on building affordable computers for gaming.

Then what are iPod touch and iPad mini? They're not general-purpose out of the box,* but they do compute, and they do run games.

Yay! (1)

UneducatedSixpack (2829861) | about 9 months ago | (#46105675)

It is now #3. Is there #4? I guess not. So if Linux moves it can only go up 'case there is no way to go down.

Re:Yay! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46106043)

You mean Linux is now Metro-Sexual? Apple is Gay and Windows is Straight?

Nice to know that since I'm a Linux user. Of course, I'll fuck damn near anything that doesn't move fast enough. It's the only way I get any excersise besinde "flying off the handle, then jumping to conclusions and reaching for that next cheetto".

Metro (1)

tepples (727027) | about 9 months ago | (#46106263)

If anything is "metrosexual", it's Windows 8.x before you install Classic Shell.

It has to start somewhere (5, Interesting)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 9 months ago | (#46105681)

The problem is that Linux still needs a baseline distro for developers to target. Ubuntu had a lot of promise until the last few years where it's been shifted to target every device *except* desktops. Not to mention the weird shit they've been pushing like ads in the OS.

I'd really like to see something to the effect of a Linux Gaming Standard, where as long as certain structural conditions are met within any given distro, developers could simply target those standards and build their rpm/deb packages and not have to worry about supporting Ubuntu specifically. I'm talking things like specific libraries and drivers that need to be present for "Linux Gaming Standard" certification, so that people aren't having to worry about hunting down the right repo by blindly copy/pasting some forum suggestion for someone else into their terminal hoping to make magic happen.

Re:It has to start somewhere (2)

DanSSJ4 (1693476) | about 9 months ago | (#46105779)

SteamOS could be just that. If it gains large popularity all the other distro's will want to make sure that they include everything the SteamOS uses for playing games so they can have access to that library of software.

SteamOS would become the Linux Gaming Standard that you want, it will just be called SteamOS Compatible.

Re:It has to start somewhere (1)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 9 months ago | (#46105811)

Definitely, as long as whatever standards, API's, etc, Steam is using as baselines aren't limited or somehow tied to the Steam service itself.

Steam Runtime (2)

tepples (727027) | about 9 months ago | (#46106147)

It's called the Steam Runtime [github.com] .

Re:It has to start somewhere (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about 9 months ago | (#46105937)

You mean, like debian...

Re:It has to start somewhere (3, Interesting)

steveha (103154) | about 9 months ago | (#46105969)

Linux still needs a baseline distro for developers to target.

I think Linux has one now; it's called SteamOS. I've said this before:

http://games.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=4252825&cid=44926779 [slashdot.org]

John Carmack has talked, in the past, about the insane difficulty of packaging games for Linux. There are so many distros out there. Well, SteamOS solves that problem.

I predict that game developers who support SteamOS will not accept bug reports filed against any other distro; instead they will tell the user "it runs fine on SteamOS, so tell your distro it needs to get compatible."

I am fine with the above, as long as SteamOS is free and open. Well, it is. So I think this is the best possible news for Linux gaming.

Re:It has to start somewhere (1)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 9 months ago | (#46106095)

The biggest issue I see with this is that SteamOS is much more than just a set of standards or baselines. They're running a modified kernel, for example.

Re:It has to start somewhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46106199)

Q: Didn't you tell me to develop for Ubuntu? Do I need to install Debian to build for SteamOS?
All Steam applications execute using the Steam Runtime which is a fixed binary-compatibility layer for Linux applications. This enables any application to run on any Linux distribution that supports the Steam Runtime without recompiling.

ergo, target the steam runtime.

No Angry Birds on my Linux (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46105791)

If the increased popularity means Spies'R'Us will start using Steam/Linux as yet another way to spy on me, then sure hope not. [/tinfoil]

Re:No Angry Birds on my Linux (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46106027)

You're languishing down at Score:0 but you make a good point. If Linux ever became a really popular gaming platform, that brings with it: DRM, bloatware, spyware, enough non-tech-literates to make it a viable virus platform, etc. Basically most of what people hate about Windows.

I'm not so sure this is a good thing.

Great either way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46105799)

More sales on non Windows platforms is good for everyone! Well, probably not good or bad for the vast majority of Windows gamers, but everyone who matters.

The big expense in supporting any non Windows platform is in not using, or porting from Direct X. Supporting both OS X and Linux should (all caveats aside) shouldn't be more expensive than supporting one.

The more sales go to non Windows, the more games get ported to both. On the other hand, if you see this as a competition with OS X, more games isn't what you want. Why? Well, at least for me I only buy games I'm going to play (though I have been known to impulse buy on Steam), and I'm more constrained by time than game availability. This means that the chance of me buying a game is negatively affected by the number of games available. Linux sales may drop as more games support Linux.

tl;dr, buy games, play games, don't use the blue shell (In my day it was a red shell! Get off my Mode 7 lawn!) on the guy in second place.

Linux has always (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 9 months ago | (#46105823)

been number 2 to me.

HAHA, it's a joke. I use Linux, have written drivers for Linux, and I have written robotic code on Linux.
Please don't hurt me.

Premise of story a bit odd (1)

failedlogic (627314) | about 9 months ago | (#46105833)

The premise here is a bit odd. Windows is the obvious #1 platform on PC but the #2 Mac doesn't have a close second to Windows globally. Taking 2nd place here isn't very hard. There aren't even many desktop OSes capable of running modern games now. I also though Linux wasn't a "platform" since it isn't an OS, its the kernel. Anyhow, given the small number of desktop gaming OSes, it won't be hard to be #3 or #4. Unless I'm mistaken. Maybe there are a lot of gamers using DOS, OS/2, Solaris, BSD, BeOS, QNX ....

Not surprising if you state Macs aren't supported (5, Informative)

Volguus Zildrohar (1618657) | about 9 months ago | (#46105837)

On the Maia website, for system requirements:

OS: LINUX 64, WINDOWS. MAC SUPPORT COMING SOON.

Re:Not surprising if you state Macs aren't support (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 9 months ago | (#46105875)

Now now, don't go muddying up a good narrative with facts!

He he... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46106131)

Even if Linux took the #2 spot for gaming, Apple could take it back, albeit a bit disingenuously, by simply enabling support for iOS games on OS X. Aided perhaps by a long overdo touchscreen Mac.

(I would quickly note that I never thought desktops or laptops should have touchscreens, but despite all the hate directed towards Windows 8/8.1, people appear to like touchscreens being an option.)

Good job beating mac.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46105859)

You know what a powerhouse they are in gaming. Really whats the competition? For second place?

Re:Good job beating mac.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46105999)

I'm getting ready to release a "Special Olympics" game. Every participant gets a medal for coming in second place, you insensitive clod.

Linux is GPL 2.0 (1, Interesting)

TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) | about 9 months ago | (#46105885)

Linux is GPL 2.0. General Public License 2.0 does not have the "2.0 or any greater version clause" so Linux can't have a viral open source lock-down like GPL 3.0 and Linus Torvalds doesn't seem interested or able (the contributions to GPL 2.0 *cannot be relicensed to GPL 2.1 or GPL 3.0*

So things like Android and Steam OS aren't going to bring Linux style "freedom".

You can still do TIVOization and use the operating system itself but also have proprietary stuff (think NVIDIA Linux video card drivers.

So in some ways these Linux "forks" that are gaming solution, and these are important, aren't necessarily "open source" or "freedom" wins. Still, there are very few good reasons why gaming needs to be on Windows --- and I am thankful for Linux gaming stepping forward.

But I'm a realist and I understand that due to the above, don't think Linux solutions are the absence of evil in these scenarios.

There are and WILL be strings, unlike the operating system itself. Correct me if I am wrong, but I'm pretty sure I am correct --- and please only people that know what they are talking about (so thank you in advance!).

Re:Linux is GPL 2.0 (2)

Microlith (54737) | about 9 months ago | (#46106277)

TrollstonButterbeans

Nice, but in case some fool takes you seriously...

Linux can't have a viral open source lock-down like GPL 3.0

Irrational statements like this show you argue from emotion rather than logic.

So things like Android and Steam OS aren't going to bring Linux style "freedom".

SteamOS being based on Debian means it could very well do so, as Debian readily uses GPLv3 packages and nothing Valve is doing would be impacted by the GPLv3.

You can still do TIVOization

Yet nothing indicates Valve will do so. If anything, their own behavior suggests the direct opposite.

There are and WILL be strings, unlike the operating system itself. Correct me if I am wrong, but I'm pretty sure I am correct --- and please only people that know what they are talking about (so thank you in advance!).

What strings? Can you name them? You can't be contradicted if you won't lay out your claims.

Linux still needs decent game dev tools (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 9 months ago | (#46105901)

The only major game development tool that I know of so far which can create games for Linux is Unity3D, and it doesn't even run under Linux, and so is very unlikely to result in any Linux-exclusive games, If the developer already has windows or a mac, and they are making a desktop version of a game anyways, even if they ultimately intend to support Linux, they are almost always going to target their own native platform first.

Exclusive content is important if there's ever to be any large scale adoption expected. Becase without it, people will just continue to use whatever they have already, because it's good enough for them. This means that migration to Linux for gaming will progress at a much slower rate than it otherwise potentially could.

And there's plenty of historical precedent in the gaming industry of people going out of their way to just to buy hardware with exclusive content. With Linux, it may not even require that a person buy new hardware... it just requires a different OS to be installed, one that's freely available, even.

FreeBSD (1)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | about 9 months ago | (#46105925)

is what Steam should have gone with if they insist on doing this venture (which I decidedly think is a solution searching for a problem). FreeBSD is good enough for Playstation and Sony seems to know what they are doing when it comes to consoles and gaming.

Re:FreeBSD (2)

willy_me (212994) | about 9 months ago | (#46106127)

FreeBSD would be a little stupid. I love BSD, but it lacks driver support for video cards. SteamOS has to support multiple different hardware configurations so going with Linux makes much more sense. Sony is a special case because they are in a position to standardize on a single hardware configuration. For them, BSD should be great.

There's a big difference between Sales and Users.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46105939)

There may be more sales still on OSX but that's simply because most OSX (and Windoze for that matter) games aren't free where as most Linux native games still are. There are far more people gaming on Linux than on Mac already. (When's the last time you heard someone say, "I wna do a bunch of gaming...I'm gna get a Mac." Chances are never or you know some pretty foolish people lol. The user base is there. The game developers have just ignored Linux for far too long. As soon as they begin marketing more games with Linux native clients, the sales will soar up closer to the actual gamer count of the Linux OS. This statistic is just silly due to the basis of it. It serves no purpose other than delaying the game devs in going Linux native even further by pawning off a silly statistic as an actual Linux gamer count.

Re:There's a big difference between Sales and User (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46106005)

Also, it doesn't take into account all the games that have been purchased for the Windows platform just to be "emulated" on Linux with no intention to ever run it on Windows at all.

2nd place! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46105989)

First loser yay!

pleasant surprise (1)

DuckDodgers (541817) | about 9 months ago | (#46106089)

Now I grant that the games in the sales statistics are mostly indie games, not a list of top level titles. But the sales revenue percentage from Linux ranged from 1-6%, which is much better than I expected.

But I have a hard time seeing SteamOS get much of a foothold. I would love to be proven wrong. But it has got a weaker selection of big name games than the competing consoles are expected to get, and a weaker selection of big name games than the Windows version of Steam will have, and most of the hardware skews will be more expensive than an Xbox One and Playstation 4. Plus, last time I checked, it won't have support for Netflix, Skype, and similar services. That's a hard sell!

I want to get a SteamBox. But I would not be surprised if we have the only one in town.

Linuxs is already number 2 for a long time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46106121)

In absolute number of players. Check Dota 2 statistics.

I would think it already has taken #2 (2, Interesting)

msobkow (48369) | about 9 months ago | (#46106217)

I would think Linux already has taken #2 if you include Android game apps.

Re:I would think it already has taken #2 (1)

PixetaledPikachu (1007305) | about 9 months ago | (#46106421)

I would think Linux already has taken #2 if you include Android game apps.

The article specifically mentioned PC Gaming. Yes you can run android and play android games on your PC if you want to, but I bet the number is insignificant

music to my ears (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46106413)

I love to hear this and speculate on it. In love with games for 30 years. I dreamed of making them. Not yet, working on a degree in CS (the safer route than a degree in making games which seems unlikely to get me a job at all, especially not where I live).

Anyway, the only thing that really keeps me using windows is that's where the games are. MS doesn't seem interested in keeping gamers using windows... they're leaving the door wide open for linux to take over. OS X has never been a gaming platform and I doubt it ever will be.

If PC gaming is "dead" lets take it to linux where it belongs. 3

Is it? RTFM (1)

sinij (911942) | about 9 months ago | (#46106439)

Is Linux Set To Be PC Gaming's Number Two Platform?

RTFM
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