Thoughts on Commercial Linux Games

So there are all these 3D games for consoles and Micro$oft Window$ that are not available for Linux as native applications. I wonder why a large chunk of the gaming industry appears to still be ignoring Linux? It is not as if excellent 3D games cannot be made to run natively on a Linux box with 3D hardware. There are both Enemy Territory and Unreal Tournament 2004 for examples of these 3D games that are native for Linux. However, if I recall correctly, Unreal Tournament 2004 required one to buy the Micro$oft Window$ version and then download the Linux engine for the full game.

More currently there is Quake 4 for Linux but unfortunately the developers and distributors once again did not include Linux support “out of the box” (Of course my current hardware is not muscular enough to run Quake 4 well anyway). One must purchase a Micro$oft Window$ copy of the game first. From the Quake4 GNU/Linux FAQ: “A licensed copy of Quake 4 retail for Windows(r) is required. You will copy the assets files from it and use the CD key.” What a way to sell a game!

Personally I will never buy a game “off the shelf” that does not include a native Linux install “in the box”. Hey, developers and distributors, keep treating me and other Linux users like unwanted stepchildren and do not get my dollars. It is that simple.

Here is hoping for a sea change to add native Linux gaming “out of the box” in the gaming industry.


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Gene A.

Gene is a "Unix Guy", network technologist, system trouble-shooter and IT generalist with over 20 years experience in the SOHO and SMB markets. He is familiar with and conversant in eComStation (a.k.a. OS/2), DOS (PC, MS and Free), Unix, Linux and those GUI based systems from Microsoft. Gene is also a follower of Jesus (forgiven, not perfect), and this does inform his world view.

2 thoughts on “Thoughts on Commercial Linux Games”

  1. Maybe many are using MS’s DirectX, which is obviously for Windows only.

    Also, supporting different platform always has a cost.

    Don’t forget the many distribution modes for Linux: .rpm, .deb, and many many other things. This can become a real mess fast, considering all dependencies you always need (kernel version? OpenGL version? glibc version?).

    For what is relatively a small market, it can be understable why gaming companies don’t feel like doing that.

    But I agree, it’s a shame Linux doesn’t have more good (commercial) games.

  2. I think this is partly a chicken and egg scenario. If the gamers were buying Linux games the game makers would offer more Linux games. If the game makers offered more Linux games then the game buyers would buy them. Ultimately though the game makers have to make the first move.

    Regarding the installation problem, the ‘sh ./game.bin’ type of installer works fine on every version of Linux I have tried. Just make the game, tell the specs needed for running on Linux (kernel must be #.##.## or higher, needs OpenGL version #.# or higher, etcetera) and offer it. Being indecisive and doing nothing because there are many options is not a good way to do business.

    I may be prejudiced about this but I believe Linux is a superior gaming platform on the PC.

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