Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
Linux Games

Gabe Newell Talks Linux As the Future of Games at LinuxCon NA 369

Slashdot's Timothy Lord is attending LinuxCon in New Orleans this week and writes in with the following. "Valve co-founder and managing director Gabe Newell says in no uncertain terms what the brain trust at Valve thinks: When it comes to actual users, 'Linux is currently insignificant by any metric' (by any metric that matters to game companies, at least, like number of players, minutes played, and — all important — revenue). On these fronts, Linux players are 'typically under 1 percent' of what game companies see. But that's not the upshot. The takeaway is just about the opposite, says Newell: 'The future of gaming is on Linux.' Newell expounded on the present and future of games on Linux in a keynote address at LinuxCon North America, which kicked off today in New Orleans. He described ways Valve is working to improve the landscape for games on Linux, and hinted at new hardware developments from the company in the near future." Keep reading for the rest of Tim's report.
Since Valve's 1996 founding, the company has come out with a rash of well-known games including Half-life, Counterstrike, and Portal, for personal computers as well as the console market. In that time, though, Valve, like the rest of the computer world, has gone through structural changes driven by the falling costs of both computers and bandwidth. These, says Newell, have increased the relative value of design and game quality in general, but also marketing and — crucially — distribution paths. That has ramifications throughout the games industry, including the emergence and growth of online delivery for games and updates. (Valve’s own system, Steam, is up to 50 million users by itself; the console infrastructure is even bigger: Sony claimed that many users three years ago). The changes in relative costs have also spurred free to play models and large-scale e-sports. (Large scale is no joke: According to Newell, "At the last tournament we held, we had over a million people watching it simultaneously.")

Newell describes a trend toward end-users being involved, though, not just as spectators, but as content creators. He describes this in fairly sweeping terms: “Games will becomes nodes in a linked economy, where the majority of digital goods and services are user generated.” That sounds a bit grandiose, perhaps, but it’s grounded in numbers. “The Team Fortress community creates 10 times the amount of content [that developers do],” says Newell. While he says Valve has always been happy to compete with other game studios (“we’re a little bit cocky”), “the one entity we wouldn’t ever want to compete with is our own users; they’ve already outstripped us dramatically. It’s not by a little bit; it’s an order of magnitude already.” Broad-based distributed development like that is what open source has been whipping up in the world of software for decades.

Creating games or games content, though, isn’t for the faint of heart: centralized online app stores (Apple’s in particular) “put an enormous number of roadblocks in front of doing that,” including developer approval as well as vetting individual apps and updates to them. In that context, he says, few users have the stubbornness or wherewithal to get through that. A more streamlined system for taking advantage of eater player/developers is needed.

“Several years ago, we thought ‘OK, if our model is correct, we need to help making Linux a good gaming plaform for users and developers.” To that end, Valve makes for a case study in how Linux has been creeping in: the company shipped the first dedicated games server running Linux in 1999. Now, most games servers run Linux (now several hundred thousand — and “probably a million”).

Those game servers are dishing up prodigious loads of data: “Near as we can tell, we’re generating something like 2 to 3 percent of worldwide mobile and land-based IP traffic, and that tends to startle people who don’t realize what a large sea change is going on. Even ignoring game servers, we’ve delivered over an exabyte of data year to date.” (Internally, he says, there’s approximately 20TB of content in a Linux-based version control system. This, says Newell, is true for companies like Bungie, too.)

Impressive as those data-shoveling numbers are, they don’t exactly shout desktop (or living room) success. But steps that Valve (along with other companies) has taken make it easier to swallow the claim. “Several years ago, we thought ‘OK, if our model is correct, we need to help make Linux a good gaming plaform for users and developers.” The first major move, says Newell, was to get a game — a real, graphics-intensive game — going on Linux. The process, though, revealed a “sweater thread” of issues, revealing flaws in in all parts of the stack: faulty drivers, gaps between Linux distributions’ included software, pitfalls in the user experience, and flaws in the company’s Steam tools.

In the course of resolving problems in each of those layers, “The good thing is that if we get a game like Left for Dead running, we’ve probably worked through issues for lots of developers. We’ve definitely solved problems for the Call of Duty team, or Tour of Duty, or whatever. The games aren’t that different; the key thing is to get changes all the way through for users. In February, we shipped [the Linux] Steam client; today -- at least when I got on the plane -- Valve has 198 games running on Linux.“

The bug-fixing and code-developing isn’t just a sporadic effort; the company has “several guys on SDL,” started by current Valve employee Sam Lantinga, and is co-developing a new Linux debugger, in addition to the work they’ve done on the LLVM debugger.

Making Linux a better platform for games is necessary, but may not be sufficient in itself, though. Platforms tend to cluster not just by operating system, but by context: platform, mobile, and console games don’t always play nicely: “As a user, I shoudn’t have to buy new games, or have new friends, or whatever, just because I’m sitting on a couch.” With Linux certainly a more-than-viable software platform for games, but still in the chicken-and-egg world of low user and revenue numbers that discourage spending developer time on Linux end users, Newell says the next step is necessary work on the hardware side of the equation, to smooth the open-source path between the developer and back-end data handling side of the games business to actual end-users.

“One of the things we had to do, is we're staging out the different pieces we think are necessary for staging to make Linux the future of gaming,” said Newell. “Our next step, having done these other pieces, is on the hardware side. There are thermal issues and sound issues, but also a lot of input issues.” He closed with this tease: “Our next step on this is to release some stuff we’ve done on the hardware side. Next week we’re going to be rolling out more information about how we get there, and what are the hardware opportunities we see for getting Linux into the living room."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Gabe Newell Talks Linux As the Future of Games at LinuxCon NA

Comments Filter:
  • by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Monday September 16, 2013 @04:34PM (#44866475) Homepage Journal

    One thing(among others) that drove people to stay with Windows for their home PCs has been that games have used windows as a target platform. Microsoft decided their games division should push their consoles as hard as possible, even directing partners to target the consoles above windows.

    Valve recognized early that Microsoft was a competitor and couldn't be the only provider for environment. A push to linux on steam is going to drive abandonment of windows. Microsoft has damaged their headline product to push a broken model of black-box entertainment.

    • by UnknownSoldier ( 67820 ) on Monday September 16, 2013 @04:43PM (#44866577)

      There may be some truth to that. Microsoft having a garbage networking implementation of (GFWL) Games For Windows Live certainly isn't helping. i.e. Trying playing Resident Evil 5 co-op. You have to keep trying that it eventually connects. Either way, Microsoft, intentionally, or unintentionally, is driving customers away to other platforms.

      Sadly, I don't see Linux Gaming replacing Windows anytime soon -- its pretty much the only reason I use Win7 anymore. :-( Carmack has said Linux sales have been abysmal. (Of course the Windows, Mac, and Linux ports) haven't always come out at the same time, but still that doesn't the bottom line. i.e. Witness the sales figures of the crappy Diablo 3 for consoles.

      It will be interesting to see what happens with the PS4 running *bsd.

      Digressing, I really wish Apple would make a standard gamepad for iOS. It would kick the crap out of the PSP and PSP Vita for sales.

      Wonder what "price point" the Valve Linux Hardware will be at.

      • by cheater512 ( 783349 ) <> on Monday September 16, 2013 @04:59PM (#44866725) Homepage

        Its funny. There are so many people like you who keep Windows around for games.
        I wonder what the total number of people like that is.

        Because gaming isn't here yet on Linux in a big way, but a large force getting all those 'I dual boot for games' people gaming on Linux would swing the tide an awful lot.
        And perhaps Valve is just that large force.

        • by nullchar ( 446050 ) on Monday September 16, 2013 @05:51PM (#44867251)

          The dual-booters could swing the numbers a bit, but we'll need more "It Just Works" when using a Linux desktop to get large numbers of gamers to move operating systems.

          (That or somehow convince Nvidia/AMD to eek out more FPS on linux using the same hardware.)

        • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

          It will just reduce the amount of times people go into windows. For now their will always bet hat one one game or application you must have that runs only on Windows.

        • by cas2000 ( 148703 )

          I'm one of them.

          I used to game a lot on linux using wine - most games ran flawlessly with wine, some ran OK, and some wouldn't run at all.

          BTW, valve probably had data showing I had hundreds of different computers, because I used to run each game in its own wine prefix so I could tweak the settings for each game - each of which was effectively a completely new "windows machine"

          Almost all of the games that didn't work or had problems were due to third-party DRM like G4WL and Securom and others, and spyware sh

      • by TsuruchiBrian ( 2731979 ) on Monday September 16, 2013 @05:41PM (#44867153)

        Sadly, I don't see Linux Gaming replacing Windows anytime soon

        I don't see any system being dominant int the near future, not even windows. I expect period of many competing game systems for a while.

        With no dominant system, I think there will be a higher tolerance for change, and a big push for interoperability, which Linux is really good at.

      • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <> on Monday September 16, 2013 @09:18PM (#44868853) Homepage

        Sadly, I don't see Linux Gaming replacing Windows anytime soon -- its pretty much the only reason I use Win7 anymore. :-( Carmack has said Linux sales have been abysmal. (Of course the Windows, Mac, and Linux ports) haven't always come out at the same time, but still that doesn't the bottom line. i.e. Witness the sales figures of the crappy Diablo 3 for consoles.

        I don't think you can simply extrapolate from past data. One of the big issues is that there's a self-reinforcing cycle at work-- a sort of catch-22. Developers won't develop for Linux because people won't buy for Linux. On the other hand, people won't install Linux on their game machine because developers aren't developing for Linux. It seems inescapable, but there may be some tipping point at which the cycle reverses itself.

        For example, if WINE or something similar reached the point of enabling enough compatibility to allow many Windows games to play seamlessly, that might make a big difference. Or if there were new frameworks and engines that made it much easier to develop cross-platform, that might be enough. Though this catch-22 currently keeps people on Windows, you could reach a tipping point where there are either enough Linux gamers or enough Linux developers that things start flowing the other way.

        And I think it's worth citing myself as an example of how a migration to Linux might be closer than the data would suggest. I have ditched consoles completely, and I have been buying games almost exclusively on Windows lately, so the data would suggest that I'm firmly in the Windows camp. *However*, I've been buying games on Windows because I've been buying them on Steam. I've been buying them on Steam because it seems like the safest path to keeping my older games accessible, since Steam has been supporting older games-- as well as they can, anyway-- and making games available cross-platform-- again, as well as they can. So my plan for a few years now has been to keep buying on Steam specifically so that when Mac or Linux gaming becomes more feasible, I can switch over without losing my library of games. Contrary to what the data would suggest, I'm anticipating the migration to Linux. It won't take convincing or marketing. It'll just require that enough of my games have ports available on Linux that I can reformat my gaming rig and make the move without losing too many games.

        • by DudemanX ( 44606 ) <> on Tuesday September 17, 2013 @12:11AM (#44869877) Homepage

          For example, if WINE or something similar reached the point of enabling enough compatibility to allow many Windows games to play seamlessly, that might make a big difference.

          That IS the difference. I actually like Windows(even 8/8.1) for the most part. I also like the idea of running Linux instead but my Steam library has over 200 games. I think about 15-20 of those titles work natively under Linux. Valve has to invest in WINE and perhaps hire some of the developers directly like they did for SDL to get it to a level where most of our games can work under Linux just as they do under Windows. There's no way I'm switching from something that just works for all of my productivity and gaming needs to something else that cannot run the programs I run.

          Ideally I'd like to see them make their own distro with all of the drivers and WINE shit needed to just allow all software in my library to run just like it does under Windows. I double-click the title, it downloads and installs, and then I run the thing. Not all Windows games need to run perfectly and some might not ever run at all but that needs to be the exception and not the rule.

          I'm not going to dual-boot. I'm not going fuck with a separate Windows instance of Steam through WINE which I have to configure arcane settings for each game I have. Make WINE good enough and integrate it with Steam so almost every game I "own" can work right out of the box or there's not even a choice to made about what OS I'm going to run.

    • A push to linux on steam is going to drive abandonment of windows.

      The biggest untold story in PC gaming on Slashdot this summer? The $10.5 million Humble Origin Bundle --- Electronic Arts and Windows only. The Humble Bundle is a fairly reliable measure of the pathetic state of Linux PC gaming: The Humble Weekly Sale Retro Shooters: Statistics []

      • I would argue that the Humble BUndle is not a fairly reliable measure of the pathetic state of linux pc gaming (I by no means imply it's "good", but PlayOnLinux does a fairly good job at getting the games installed and running without much work [assuming you have it ready]). Instead, the humble bundle is the representation of fairly niche, not AAA, (I can't say they are crappy because I haven't played them, with a few exceptions). The games that are usually in the humble bundle are not the kind of games mos

    • Which doesn't change the fact that most people don't use Linux in the first place, when talking about traditional desktops or laptops (the systems relevant to this discussion). I think it's great that Valve has ported over their small handful of games. I also think it's great that "indie" studios are releasing stuff for Linux right off the bat. I just don't think we'll see any mass shift towards Linux for gamers at the level some people here are hoping for.

      Worst-case scenario is pretty much where Windows

    • by Alarash ( 746254 )
      I think I'm a good example. My main desktop OS is Windows. For a server I'll install CentOS 6.4 without even thinking twice, but for desktop, I use Windows. Windows 8, at that. There are two reasons: On Windows I can install a game without having to manually change any file (which by itself would require to read 3 or 4 threads on some obscure board, if I was using Linux). I just double click the installer, and It Just Works. The second reason is Visual Studio.

      I have no passion about open software, even tho
    • by Gilmoure ( 18428 )

      Not having Wimdows at home (Mac/Linux) I have an XBox. I will build a game system if Linux has the games. Can't bring myself to do it for Windows (though I did look into a Windows VM but still, nah!).

    • Microsoft is doing fine. They are well diversified. Even if they shut down their Windows division tomorrow they would still have several other multi-billion dollar businesses.

  • by OutOnARock ( 935713 ) on Monday September 16, 2013 @04:38PM (#44866515)
    1. The check is in the mail.
    2. Linux is the future of gaming.
    3. I won't cum in your mouth.

    Wouldn't the Year of the Linux Desktop have to occur before the Year of Linux Gaming?

    just saying is all.....
    • David Allen Coe clearly needs to update his song.

    • 4. That dress doesn't make you look fat.

    • Maybe not, maybe linux gaming can be a catalyst for linux on the desktop.

  • by BitwizeGHC ( 145393 ) on Monday September 16, 2013 @04:42PM (#44866557) Homepage

    1) Switch to the Wayland graphics stack -- games don't need X11 and all its complexities

    2) Provide a Direct3D-compatible state tracker so devs don't have to mess with OpenGL

    3) Linux really, really needs a Visual Studio. The reason why Visual Debugger is so great is largely because of the rest of Visual Studio. No, Eclipse doesn't count.

    Game devs are used to the Windows ecosystem. Compared to it, what's available on Linux is stone knives and bearskins. Until that changes, not many game devs will be enthused about Linux development.

    • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Monday September 16, 2013 @04:50PM (#44866635)

      1. That's happening
      2. That seems like a patent nightmare
      3. Man up, use VIM or Emacs :) I imagine linux will get visual studio when MS ports it and not a second before. Lots of non-game devs seem to do fine without visual studio.

    • Is Visual Studio really that awesome, or is it merely good but has raving fans because of sheer inertia (e.g. Visual Studio can do 5000 things and IDE X can do 5000 things just as quickly, but tens of thousands of developers already know how to do 3500 of those things in Visual Studio and don't feel like tackling the equivalent learning curve in IDE X.)

      For IDEs that claim to be C++ friendly there is Eclipse, Netbeans, KDevelop, QT Creator, Code::Blocks, there must be others. Does Visual Studio reall
      • They're fans of Intelli-sense, not Visual Studio. If their text editor can't immediately guess which function they should be using, they freeze up and forget how to check the reference documentation.
        • There are plugins to add Intelli-sense to Emacs and Vim, of course.

          In my opinion - an opinion I am sure is popular on Slashdot - you need to know your programming language and basic build steps very well before you move to an IDE. An expert in Visual Studio can use Visual Studio quickly, but if Visual Studio does something he does not expect, or he has to work outside it for some reason, or he needs to develop for a platform that Visual Studio does not target, his productivity is shot to hell. An expe
          • by mrvan ( 973822 )

            I can second this. I used to program delphi, java, and c#, and was addicted to IDE's for all of them. Now I write python almost exclusively, and do it purely in a text editor and console. I miss some IDE features, especially being able to click on a module/function name and opening that function are useful to navigate in a codebase and especially to inspect third party modules I am calling. However, the IDE's I;ve looked at (eclipse+pydev, pycharm, and the emacs extension (epy?)). They were all to clunky t

        • by neminem ( 561346 ) <neminem AT gmail DOT com> on Monday September 16, 2013 @05:33PM (#44867089) Homepage

          "They're fans of Intelli-sense, not Visual Studio. If their text editor can't immediately guess which function they should be using, have to go check the documentation, thus wasting a couple minutes that they could have been programming in, and breaking their flow when they get back."

          Fixed that for you. Why badmouth something for making your job easier? "Your car has cruise control? You must really blow at driving if you use it." Why do people think like that?

          • What sort of programmer doesn't know the name of a function?
            Calling an API is not the part that actually takes time...

            • by neminem ( 561346 ) <neminem AT gmail DOT com> on Monday September 16, 2013 @06:34PM (#44867587) Homepage

              The sort of programmer working with a new API, or an API where several functions have similar names, or you know the name of the functions but not the order of their parameters, or you just yourself created a new class and you don't remember exactly what you named all the properties (id? ID? DocID? DocumentID? In which case, granted, you wouldn't be looking at documentation, you'd be looking at your source code, but same idea, really), or any of a number of other reasons why intellisense is convenient to have around.

              • That's irrelevant. Calling a function takes virtually no time. That's not the hard part of progamming.
                Maybe you only do how to write glue code instead of how to engineer software?

                • by neminem ( 561346 )

                  How it it irrelevant? Sure it's not usually the hard part, but it's still something you do constantly. Suppose someone said, "I claim you will love this car. It's exactly the same as your current car, only you have to press the inside of the roof with your elbow every time you want to use your turn signal". That doesn't sound that hard, right? Using your turn signal isn't really the hard part of driving, right? Would you want to do something slightly annoying and slightly time-consuming every time you had t

                • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

                  by Anonymous Coward

                  I've learned from reading Slashdot that "the hard part" of any activity is simply the part that the writer happens to do themselves and of course lesser people do not.

          • If their chosen product can't do something, then that something is unimportant, or shouldn't be done, or makes you a sissy, or whatever. They can't admit that the thing they are a fan of is less than perfect so they hate on things it does not have.

            I've gotten that with numerous things regarding Linux. Games would be one of them. A Linux fan is trying to convince me to switch so I say "Ok, if you wish to convince me then here are the things I do with my computer that you need to show me how I can do in Linux

            • by jon3k ( 691256 )
              I'm not a Visual Studio hater, the first software I ever wrote was using Visual Basic 3, but I think you can get most of the really nice features in Visual Studio in a well configured VIM. Tree browser, intelli-sense autocomplete, built in reference documentation, etc etc. You'd be amazed (or maybe not?) what a really pimped out VIM can do.
          • That's a fair point, but I would counter with two counter-points.

            First, some languages have a REPL (the interactive Read Eval Print Loop), so if you're not sure how function X works, you can either call a documentation function on X in your REPL or invoke X directly and see what happens, and get information you want from any error messages. If you're unsure about some aspect of the invocation, you can experiment with different parameters directly in the REPL. C++ naturally doesn't support this, but ma
      • by vux984 ( 928602 )

        Is Visual Studio really that awesome

        Yeah. It really is.

        Visual Studio can do 5000 things and IDE X can do 5000 things just as quickly, but tens of thousands of developers already know how to do 3500 of those things in Visual Studio and don't feel like tackling the equivalent learning curve in IDE X.)

        Sort of. I'm sure pretty much everything you can do with VS can be done in another IDE. But the curve is not equivalent, its much narrower, steeper, more slippery, and is prone to falling rocks. ;)

        The learning c

        • I'll take your word for it. ( No sarcasm intended. ) I've heard this repeatedly, but I haven't worked with C++ for a long time so I have no grounds for comparison.
      • In addition to what others are adding, in my experience Visual Studio actually works. XCode and some of the others are very unpolished in the debug area. They randomly disconnect from debug target or some such. MonoDevelop randomly corrupting layouts drove me mad.
    • by HeckRuler ( 1369601 ) on Monday September 16, 2013 @05:15PM (#44866871)

      3) Linux really, really needs a Visual Studio. The reason why Visual Debugger is so great is largely because of the rest of Visual Studio. No, Eclipse doesn't count.

      Man up and learn how to use GDB. It's not that hard. And makefiles are your friend.

    • Games don't (and shouldn't) need a windowing system at all. If it is full screen, then it takes over the display. If it isn't, it is a hardware overlay at the coordinates/dimensions the window claims to be placed at.
    • Real men use Emacs...

      No kidding, kiddo, here is a list of Naughty Dog's Jak and Daxter development tools:
      Allegro, Common Lisp, Visual C++, Maya, Photoshop, X Emacs, Visual Slick Edit, tcsh, Exceed, CVS

      From Gamasutra [] and Visual C++ is there just because it was the only compiler supported by Sony at the time.
    • Visual studio is not required at all. That's like saying Linux needs IIS to be successful (no apache doesn't count). Linux has a few shortcomings, development tools ain't one of them.
    • 1) In progress...
      2) Isn't this recently done?
      3) What? I think most devs try to stay away from VS, no need to port that or imitate it.

    • by epyT-R ( 613989 )

      1. current compositors already suck significant gpu cycles from games. wayland is basically gpu only, offering no fallback. If there's a way to get it to suspend rendering while a game is full screen, it would be tolerable, but say goodbye to performance if you game in a window sometimes (or use any desktop 3D/gpu accelerated software).
      2. No. You don't want api wrapped software. Wine is a kludge. Write it for opengl, and it's relatively easy to port it to any platform with 3d graphics, including windows

    • I'm a professional developer and use Visual Studio on a regular basis, however whenever I work in Linux I prefer to use CodeLite [].
      I believe it is a serious contender in the IDE space on the Unix/BSD/Linux platform but unfortunately it gets barely any attention.
  • Doesn't Matter (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tom229 ( 1640685 ) on Monday September 16, 2013 @05:11PM (#44866841)
    I took on a project of trying to convert my gaming machine to Ubuntu this summer. No wine, only native games that would run on 12.04LTS. The result: Summer is over, and I'm back on Windows.

    At first it was nice to see more games running on Linux, and even Steam available for Ubuntu. However, the vast majority of title's I owned on Steam weren't available, and the ones that were were buggy. Take for example the Valve title DOTA2. It works on Ubuntu through steam, natively, but it's slower, and has several annoying bugs when typing in chat and minimizing the fullscreen to the desktop.

    Skype works, but was buggy. My headset worked, but had more static, etc, etc.

    What's more is I had two random crashes. One due to a kernel update that rendered my machine unbootable, and the other (after a fresh reinstall) due to a nvidia proprietary driver update that continuously crashed X server on boot. I'm not sure what the underlying issue is with Linux. I'm not sure why it's so difficult to get anything that's a binary (not open source from the repositories) working properly. But this seems to be my experience every year since about 2006 when I attempt to transition everything to Ubuntu.
  • They should run a promo for 2-3 years that lets game developers collect 90-100% of Linux ports/new games' profits on Steam sales. It may get the ball rolling and move the culture forward to commonplace .
  • With PC gaming its really important that the graphics drivers are easy to upgrade.

    I recently purchased the humble bundle and tried running a couple of the games on a linux install on a recently purchased laptop. While the distro I was running was supported by the games in question. The drivers needed are apparently new enough they didn't make it into the most recent version of that distribution. So, instead what I got was a GL SL v4 system where the shaders didn't work well enough to actually play the games

    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Monday September 16, 2013 @06:11PM (#44867411) Homepage Journal

      I agree but it is not going to happen.
      1. The kernel developers hate closed source drivers and sees this as a way to discourge them.
      2. They believe that not having a binary interface improves security.
      3. They believe the myth that if you just provide the interface that the community will write the drivers.
      Of course what happens is the closed source drivers just write an FOSS stub that they use to provide a binary interface to the closed source drivers.
      As to number 3 I call it a myth because it is. AMD has released the docs to their gpus and guess who is doing most of the work on the AMD drivers? AMD.

  • We have been waiting ages for another ZORK. Please, somebody? A game that's all brainteasers and wordplay and fake magic and really really bad puns? And no shoot-em-ups, and no swear words, just family fun? Please?
  • My son says:  "My Source games run better on Linux than on Windows by about 15% - once the majority of games get a Linux version I'm done with Windows for good"
    • They run better because they've been recompiled as part of the porting process, and compilers have gotten 15% better since those old-ass games were first released.

      Also, saying, "once the majority of games get a Linux version" is the same as saying "it'll never happen". If people like him, who are super-enthusiastic about gaming on Linux, aren't willing to switch in the current ecosystem... who is? And if nobody is... why would you expect game developers to port their games?

  • by sharklasers ( 3047537 ) on Monday September 16, 2013 @08:10PM (#44868359)

    So Gabe is learning that Microsoft is planning on walling up and is moving to keep his options open. That's good, that makes business sense. But there's a problem...

    Steam has made the concept of a perpetual, one-time rental service palatable. For the vast majority of purchased made on Steam, you don't own your games anymore. Sure you never technically "owned" any of the games, but you know what I mean - you could keep them and back them up, make copies of the installers and whatnot and not rely on a vendor to authorize continual access to the game. But Steam does, and what's worse, people are happy with this. I suppose it's better for a lot of people than to have to deal with buggy disc-based copy-protection checks and what not, but it's still DRM.

    The problem with this is that because the majority of people have no problem with this and see no long-term ramifications for this, everyone releases their games on Steam. That's fine, except it becomes the ONLY option to get a lot of games. I cannot get Dishonored DRM-free - it's Steam or bust (or torrents, but that's not financially palatable to developers I suppose). So if I have a problem with Steam's EULA or ToS, I'm basically unable to play the extreme majority of top-tier titles, and only some of the indie titles out there. GoG provides a good alternative, except that they don't cater to Linux users which reduces my interest in them as a long term source of games (I use Windows now, but won't be forever and want to ensure I have an exit strategy).

    Of course, in terms of Linux, no-one has made such an impact in getting games on Linux than Valve has with Steam for Linux. However, this in turn might reduce the motivation to make a DRM-free Linux (or Windows) games if Steam is there and us minority fellows aren't worth the trouble. Which saddens me greatly, because it means DRM will never leave us because too many gamers cannot stand on principle, or simply don't care. I'm not going to say my opinion is any more right than anyone elses, so please avoid the flames.

    And hairyfeet, don't reply to this. I know you're unable to understand the concept of differing opinions.

news: gotcha