Greetings my fellow Linux users (especially Ubuntu users). First of all let me introduce myself. My name is Chris and you can call me ehmmm… Chris. For the majority of the Linux users I am a noob and for the majority of my friends I am a hacker (just because I can sync their email account on their iPad, hahaha). Once a week I will present my thoughts and problems, as a plain Ubuntu user, on hardware and software, with a funny attitude and an open mind. We will discuss what’s going on at the rapidly changing Linux world (Games on Linux? That’s a groundbreaking change!) and of course tease the other authors of this site!
Well, well, gaming on Linux! Either sales are going down or a new profitable market is emerging. At this point, before the great gaming industry conquers the Linux world too, let me thank all the independent game developers that support Linux all these years. Guys, we love you and we will continue to love you for ever (applause).
Recently we saw Steam making it’s baby steps on Linux and the result was like the footsteps of a grown man! How the hell that happened? Is the OpenGL technology better than DirectX? Who knows what will happen in the upcoming months. A good question is “Why do they really bother themselves porting on Linux?” and the answer my friends is probably Android. You see, Android is basically a Linux distro and if you look through the eyes of a game developer it’s pretty much the same thing. There is OpenGL developing on both platforms, so if you port a game on Android why not do it on Linux too? Add to this it’s market share and you’ve got the answer. I believe Steam is trying to be the first one to break the Linux barrage and shout to the others: “What are you waiting for, come along!” (they missed Android’s train though). Regardless of Linux’s market share, its community consists of passionate and dedicated people and I can prove it to you with a simple example.
Take a look at all the Humble Bundle purchases. In every Bundle a Linux user pays 1.5 to 2.0 times more than a Windows or a Mac user for the same games. Have you ever wondered why is that? The quickest answer is that there is no gaming on Linux so they’re drooling every time there is a Humble Bundle on sale. WRONG! We are not aliens, we too have Playstations and Xboxes in our homes to play games and sometimes even a Windows partition for some extra games. The engagement of the Linux user is what makes him pay more. He loves his machine! It’s like buying a new bed from IKEA or making your own. What will be more precious to you?
Let’s go back on Android. None can ignore its market share and that goes for the biggest game developing companies in the world too. We saw EA Games and Konami, to mention some of them, showing their interest and even nVIDIA is making chips for Android (Linux + nVIDIA = LFE)! They developed apps for Android to see what OpenGL is all about and maybe port to Linux or did they do it for the profit? The answer is somewhere in between. Profit is good, regardless of the piracy rate, and if we believe on Mark Shuttleworth’s vision of 200 million Ubuntu users in the next years, a new great market is emerging and every one will want a piece of it. Like a movie says “There will be blood”.
Concluding, I’d like to say that whatever happens I think we are witnessing a new era for Linux and I am really looking forward to see how it will develop. There are many people out there trying all these years to port and hack so I think the knowledge exists. My biggest fear is that the gaming industry may change Linux as we know it now and I don’t know if that’s a good thing. Anyways, sit back and enjoy the ride and maybe one day we’ll see this beauty on our Linux desktop: