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GNU/Linux and Commercial Game Developers

I have created a poll on our shopping site with a proper question that would interest commercial game developers and commercial game marketers.?(2010.08.27: Due to a site upgrade problem this poll no longer exists. A new poll will be created in the future.) Then refer all questions about commercial games on GNU/Linux to this article and the poll. Once some place can show some serious numbers, hundreds of thousands, to the commercial game people then they will be interested in the GNU/Linux gaming market.

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of open source games that are already native on GNU/Linux. Unfortunately the commercial gaming market lags behind open source game development when it comes to GNU/Linux. Some people using GNU/Linux want the commercial games too. This article is an attempt to assist a move in the direction of GNU/Linux in the commercial gaming market.

I recently participated in a Digg posting on Digg.com titled, "Would U Use Linux fulltime if it supported mainstream games?". I dislike the use of "U" in place of "You", it causes my eyes to ache. Despite that I cast my vote in favor of the meaning behind the post. I would like to see more commercial game developers create native games for GNU/Linux. The problem with that Digg title is something I commented about on Digg. I will copy that here:

The problem with this question from the perspective of commercial game developers is it is backwards. A corporate "bean counter" (accountant) could not care less if developing games for Linux causes more people to use Linux full-time. He does not care what operating system is used as long as he can show a profit on the books. What a bean counter is going to care about is whether or not the company he represents can make a profit from selling to Linux users. The question would be better phrased something like, "Would you be willing to purchase commercial games for Linux if they were developed for Linux?", the answer to that question would definitely interest the bean counters that have the ears of the corporate "suits" (management).

My personal commitment is to never buy a commercial game that is not available natively for Linux. If I have to run a game under WINE or with Crossover then I am not going to spend my hard earned dollars for that game. For example I bought Unreal Tournament 2004 and Quake 4 specifically because I like the genre and both have a native Linux capability. If more people take this stance and are willing to say so in public on the 'net then that might make a difference. However, as long as people will keep buying game titles that are Microsoft based and keep using WINE or whatever to run them on Linux then there is no incentive for the corporate game developers to make Linux based games. As long as there is a large Microsoft installed base that will buy these games developed for Microsoft based systems then the game developers will keep grinding out the Microsoft based titles and ignoring "alternative" operating systems.

As I have said before, I do not need these games. The game developers do need my money if they are to stay in business. This is where all Linux users must make a similar decision because that is what will get the interest of corporate game developers / marketers.

My firm conviction is that commercial game developers and game marketers really have no idea how many GNU/Linux "gamers" there are that would buy their products. There is no way to get hard "market share" numbers for GNU/Linux users, especially home users that would buy games. Because of this these commercial game developers and marketers are reluctant to commit resources, which require money, into developing games on GNU/Linux for the GNU/Linux gamer.

If one is keeping around a Microsoft based operating system just to play games then one is contributing to the problem. I am convinced that if GNU/Linux gamers insisted on GNU/Linux game titles rather than being willing to compromise just so they can play some Microsoft based game, like Crysis for instance, then this situation would begin to change in favor of GNU/Linux.

Instead of using WINE or keeping a Microsoft OS around go buy some titles that were developed for GNU/Linux and let the game developers and marketers know, "We are not going to take it any longer." Or continue using WINE or a Microsoft box and continue to be part of the problem rather than the solution to getting commercial games developed for native use under GNU/Linux.

Here is one suggestion I have for a commercial game developed with the GNU/Linux gaming community in mind. If you have not tried Tribal Trouble then get the GNU/Linux demo and check it out. If you like it then pay for the GNU/Linux version and let Oddlabs know you want more GNU/linux game titles. If you have suggestions for commercial game titles for other readers to purchase that are developed for GNU/Linux then post a comment with your suggestions. Please only refer to games that can run natively on GNU/Linux.

NOTICE: All comments are approved by a moderator before they show here. Please only post comments once, they will show once they are approved. It may take up to a few hours for comments to be approved depending on the time of day based on UTC -0600.

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53 comments to GNU/Linux and Commercial Game Developers

  • Ken

    Good article and very true.

  • KhaaL

    Great post and I am on the same standpoint as you. however, I guess I fall into the “contributing to the problem” category by your definition. I boot to windows because the game(s) won’t requires a dozen or so tweaking on wine in order to get running, and I (unfortunatly) do actually get better performance in windows due to a bug in the kernel since 2.6.17. the only solution for linux enthusiasts would be in this case buying a console and miss out on the majority of PC games.

    I will always pay for quality linux games, even if its not completly in my taste, just to raise the interest for the platform from game makers.

  • Tom

    It is even worse than that they are contributing to the problem, by running Windows-exclusive games. There are companies like Blizzard and CCP that say, why in the hell should we produce a Linux-port when we have people buying our products for a completely unsupported operating system? These are customers who are paying for software support and providing those services for themselves. Companies will never, never, ever spend the money to port a game which will generate no additional money. The Linux Gaming World website has been discussing this topic throughout the last few years, in some interesting essays in their archives.

  • I pretty much buy every game that interests me for Linux and don’t dualboot.

  • Ken (comment #1), thank you for the comment.

  • Khaal (comment #2), I appreciate your comment. Yes, I do insist that using Microsoft operating systems just to run games is part of the problem. Don’t do that. :)

  • Tom (comment #3), thank you. Here is a URL to Linux Gaming World for any of you that want to read the articles there.

  • Vadi (comment #4), thanks for participating. You don’t multi-boot, but do you run games under WINE? If you do, then that is part of the problem, not the solution.

  • Joe

    Natively targeting Linux is not worth it. Linux needs cross-distribution stable ABIs first.

  • Joe (comment #9), thank you for your opinion. You mean “Application Binary Interface”? Do you have some data to back up your claim? A URL to a discussion of the problem would be nice to provide.

    However, since there are commercial companies and open source projects that have created games for GNU/Linux I do not believe the problem is a lack of “cross-distribution stable ABIs”. I think it is more that game developers and marketers do not know there is a lucrative market in the GNU/Linux game space.

    Edit: a gamer is going to run a distribution that will run games. All the distributions I have tried will run Enemy Territory, Quake 4 and Unreal Tournament 2004.

  • Tak

    Joe: Gee, Epic, Bioware, Id, Hothead, 2DBoy, and a multitude of Free Software game developers seem to have managed it.

  • Going out of the office to do some LAN work today. Will get back to checking comments when I return.

  • I have fully removed Windows from my machine. I was dual booting, but XP was getting crudded up. I now run Battlefield 2 and Call of Duty 4 under Cedega. It works ok, but, please someone hear this:

    I WOULD BUY A SECOND COPY IF IT RAN NATIVELY

    I would buy it on prinicpal and become a loyal supporter of whatever company put it out.

  • Grant Wagner

    I for one won’t go as far as to say I won’t buy a game if it doesn’t support Linux, nor am I entirely off of a dual boot on my gaming machine.

    While Linux is a great operating system, and is often grouped with some excellent software, it is just a tool, an enabler. If it doesn’t run the programs I want, then I need to switch to something that will. Thus, Wine is always a staple of my Linux installs, and it will be a pretty cold day in H.E. double hockey sticks before I can comfortably move to a non X86 platform.

    Mind you, my personally work habits have entirely gone to open source, so I only use windows for gaming. As a gamer, my interests really peaked in the late 1990s and very early 2000s, so I really only boot XP for Oblivion and Arcanium. As soon as the support is there, these will be wined and I’ll most likely never boot windows again.

    Finally, to answer Joe in #9, the following API’s are every bit as powerful as Microsoft’s DirectX standard and are fully cross platform: SDL (2D graphics, basic audio, event processing, networking, input handling, etc), OpenGL (3D graphics) and OpenAL (3D positional audio). These are also much easier to use. All a company has to do is use one of these instead of Microsoft’s c**p and recompile to support Linux, mac and windows. Why don’t they? Microsoft’s advertising, that is all.

  • I am the owner of My Game Company, a small independent game developer. We have published several titles that run natively on Linux, including Dirk Dashing: Secret Agent (a parallax sidescroller), Fashion Cents Deluxe (a casual dress-up puzzle game), and our recent release The Adventures of Rick Rocket (a 2D space shooter). Our games use the Bitrock installer, for which we have received a lot of compliments on its ease-of-use.

    We also have a page on our site with other family-friendly games that run natively on Linux, which you can purchase through us. Fizzball, My Tribe, and the Runes of Avalon series are the most popular sellers, aside from our own games.

    Regarding comment #9, I wrote a series of articles on commercial Linux Game Development that were published on gamedev.net. Article 2 in the series discussed how to achieve binary compatibility across distributions. Binary compatibility really isn’t an issue, as already stated in comments 10 and 11.

  • Good that someone shouted my thoughts.
    I stopped buying games when I stopped using windows, and that was long time ago. As you said, natively ran games are worth buying, but neither I will throw money for something that will run under wine, mostly with some trade-offs in performance.

    Make it, I will buy it.

  • Toby Haynes

    There is a market out there for good Linux games. To whit, I point you at

    http://2dboy.com/2009/02/12/world-of-goo-linux-version-is-ready/

    In the 2 days from the release of the Linux version, Linux sales hit 4.6% of total sales over several months. And to boot, the first day Linux sales eclipsed both the Windows and Mac single-day sales. It would be interesting to get an update. We are talking about a game that was Game Of the Year 2008 for several magazines and was in pretty much everyone’s top three.

    I gave up dual-booting to Windows many years ago. I realized that there were enough games on Linux to keep me busy and while occasionally I yearn for Bioshock or Mirror’s Edge, I’m not prepared to have to maintain a Windows environment for that. And I’m hardly short of entertainments on Linux – just been blowing apart aliens in Shadowgrounds:Survivor and slicing up monsters on Sacred:Gold, courtesy of beta-testing for LGP. Both those games should be available in the next few months (indeed, Sacred has a gold master and may be shipping already).

  • Stratus

    World Of Goo has a linux client which is I think $20. I am playing through the demo. Its worth getting if this sort of puzzle game is your thing. Its kind of like the incredible machine meets bob the builder

  • […] GNU/Linux and Commercial Game Developers There are dozens, if not hundreds, of open source games that are already native on GNU/Linux. Unfortunately the commercial gaming market lags behind open source game development when it comes to GNU/Linux. Some people using GNU/Linux want the commercial games too. This article is an attempt to assist a move in the direction of GNU/Linux in the commercial gaming market. […]

  • Grant (comment #14), thank you for your comment. My philosophy is different when it comes to software I want not being available on the operating system I use every day. I prefer to not get the software and make sure the company relying on income from that software knows that I will not buy it unless it is available for my operating system. If one needs a specific piece of software that is a different problem. But games are not a need so I feel free to put pressure on the commercial game people to get what I want. I do not desire to multi-boot nor to run WINE to play some games. I will avoid games that are not available natively on GNU/Linux and I advocate that all GNU/Linux gamers do the same.

  • Troy (comment #15), thank you for your informative comment. Folks, go check out My Game Company – Fun, Family-friendly Games for Linux!

  • Emil (comment #16), thank you for your comment. Good for you that you are with the program to not buy non-native GNU/Linux games. Spread the word. :)

  • Toby (comment #17), I appreciate your comment. Thanks for providing that URL for information on World of Goo.

  • Stratus (comment #18), thanks for commenting.

  • Kevin (comment #13), I appreciate your comment. However, I firmly believe Cedega is part of the problem getting games developed for GNU/Linux. If commercial game developers believe you will do the work to get their game running on GNU/Linux they will keep ignoring GNU/Linux.

  • Re: “If more people take this stance and are willing to say so in public on the ?net then that might make a difference. However, as long as people will keep buying game titles that are Microsoft based and keep using WINE or whatever to run them on Linux then there is no incentive for the corporate game developers to make Linux based games.”

    Sadly, your statement presumes that most average computer users are righteously outraged about MS Windows, and feel that it’s in their best interests to do something about it. I don’t think that’s the case. The majority of gamers that I run into are the exact opposite–they don’t care about what OS they’re running; they care about what game they’re playing. Those of us who live in the OS “movement” have a tendency, I think, to believe that the rest of the population shares our indignation or whatever motivation *we* have personally for wanting alternative operating systems for ourselves. We imagine that they’re secretly cheering us on–“Go forth, oh righteous FOSS warriors, and free us from the shackles of Miscrosoft, for lo! we cannot do it ourselves!” But the hard truth is that the masses don’t care, at least not all that deeply. They view computers like toasters: they don’t care what ToastOS it’s running, so long as it makes toast. And really, that’s not a totally irrational view.

    What that means, though, for those of us who run Linux or Mac OS, and yet who remain a *decided* minority in terms of OS market share, is that stamping our petulant little feet and telling Blizzard (for instance) that we’re not gonna play World of Warcraft (thank you very much) until they produce a native Linux client, is simply not a credible strategy. Blizzard is making $150 million in revenue a *month* off of WoW as it stands. Adding a native Linux WoW client to their product mix adds very little to the bottom line *and* it complicates both their development strategy *and* their support burden. I *know* this to be true, because we know people inside Blizzard and we’ve had discussions with them on this very topic. And really, can you blame them for not wanting to play? An explosion of OS choices may be great for users, but it’s just a headache for developers.

    I totally understand that some people have a moral objection to running applications under Wine. I can respect that. I further agree that having more native apps for Linux is axiomatically a good thing. However, I would note that *if* Wine attains its promise and runs, say, 90-95% of Windows apps without any work whatsoever, then we’ve just created a pretty compelling bridge for mass migration. If that were to happen, then the word starts getting out to Joe User that, hey, the OS you run is irrelevant–Wine will let you run game X on whatever platform you choose. All of a sudden, the masses have a much easier time breaking out of the prior paradigm–they can now make a choice of operating system based on their needs as individuals, rather than being compelled by the applications they want to run. And really, isn’t that how it ought to be? I mean, our goal as a company over here at CodeWeavers isn’t to convert the world to Linux or Mac by the sword and make everyone run the OS *we* prefer and to kill all the Windows unbelievers. All we want is to simply give people the *choice* to make a choice. Windows is always gonna be here. We just want alternative OS choices to be here as well.

    Having a more robust Wine also lowers the burden on software developers–they only have to write one game, and Wine would essentially run it anywhere, or with only minimal additional polishing. That’s a much better way for them to run their businesses, rather than having every Mac, Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, BeOS, or whatever other OS user beating down their doors in righteous rage with torches and pitchforks and demanding a native client.

    Thanks for starting an interesting thread.

    -Jon Parshall-
    COO
    http://www.codeweavers.com

  • Jon (comment #26), thank you very much for your input. I honestly appreciate you taking the time to comment.

    I know my calls to avoid WINE will step on some toes, your company’s included. I do appreciate CodeWeaver’s efforts to give people a workable alternative to run Microsoft based software. I personally think it should only be seen as a short term strategy to get people to move to Free Open Source Software (FOSS) GNU/Linux distributions. I intend to work to see that it is only a short term strategy because I do perceive it as slowing the adoption of GNU/Linux by Commercial Closed Source Software (CCSS) developers.

    I also already understood the point that most gamers could not care less about running a Microsoft operating system as long as they can run the latest release of Microsoft’s Halo or play Electronic Arts’ Crysis. I believe this is part of the ideological struggle between FOSS and CCSS. Yes, it is not an ideological struggle for the average gamer that is slave to Microsoft. But it should be. :)

  • All, I just checked this. If you want to run Halo or Crysis you will probably not be able to use CodeWeavers Games to do so.

    Click for Satus of Crysis at CodeWeavers (Does not work.)
    Click for Satus of Halo at CodeWeavers (Not currently supported by CW.)

    This illustrates the problem of relying on third party software to run game applications that are not native to GNU/Linux. By the time it works on WINE, which is what CodeWeavers uses to do their “magic”, it will no longer be a hot game title. Gamers want the new stuff, thus WINE will not be the answer for gamers. Native support when the game comes out will be what gamers want and look for. If that native support is only on Microsoft and/or Apple systems guess what the gamers are going to use?

  • Actually, we *do* support a number of game titles that I consider to be newer and/or hotter. We supported Team Fortress 2 as soon as it was launched, for instance. Same for the Wrath of the Lich King expansion for WoW–it ran as soon as it was released. As Wine gets better (and it *is* getting better), more and more applications “magically” run without our ever touching them. That’s because Wine is a general-purpose technology–an improvement made to Wine to fix Application A will often fix Applications X, Y, and Z as well, because they are all using the same functionality. So, while we may not officially “support” a game title, that doesn’t mean that it won’t work just fine–it just means that we don’t want to be obligated to fix that title if it ends up breaking again down the line, as we are obligated to fix bugs in things like Office 2007 that we *do* officially support. In other words “Unsupported” “Doesn’t Run” (at least not always).

    As for stepping on my toes, I didn’t feel stepped on. ;-) I personally think that technologies like Wine actually accelerate FOSS adoption, not the other way around. But I understand that some folks disagree with that.

    Cheers,

    -jon-

  • Jon (comment #29), again, thank you for participating.

    The problem as I see it is the Microsoft “Windows” product line is a moving target and Microsoft is going to work to break application support like is found in WINE. It is understood by most honest people in the IT industry that Microsoft deliberately changes file formats and anything else it can change to break third party support for their products. WINE is not immune to this and will always be playing catch up when Microsoft does make deliberate changes to break WINE. Anyone that believes Microsoft will not do this is either foolish or uninformed. To get informed do some web searching. (Not you Jon, as I am sure you are aware of this, but others following this discussion.) Here is a search to get one started.

    By saying “step on some toes” I meant my calls to avoid WINE would cause some consternation in some corners of the GNU/Linux community. I figured a company, like CodeWeavers, that relies on income from providing WINE support would fall in that category. I am happy to read that is not the case. ;)

    That said, if CodeWeavers is working directly with game developers to make their games work on WINE that is a good thing. But the game developers that state that creating a GNU/Linux binary of their games or game clients is not worth it do not deserve money from GNU/Linux users. That is my point. That these companies get money from Microsoft users is not surprising since they develop their software for those users. That these same companies get money from GNU/Linux users while thumbing their noses at GNU/Linux users, well, that is just disturbing.

  • Kevin

    I like/love games along the lines of Baldur’s Gate. When wandering through a store, sometimes I look at games. I always pass them by, but more and more as time goes by I have stopped even looking at them. If they were native GNU/Linux, you can bet I would not pass them by (though I’m also not saying I would buy one every month or so either).

    It is not my idea of fun to be expected to pay $50 or whatever games run these days to gamble that they might run ok under Wine, and I am not hungry enough for commercial games to spend hours researching how well Wine might run a Windows game I might like to have. It’s also not my kind of fun to be expected to pay several hundred dollars for an OS that rots from the inside out, or that beckons virus inhabitation. The last version of an OS like that I have was labeled with a 98.

    I did pay over $50 years ago for one Windows game that turned out to be not winnable without a patch. At that point, I swore off that publisher, and it has had a direct effect on how willing I am to shovel out cash to someone that just wants my money without being willing to give me quality. I can live without games, so maybe I’m not typical. I guess that will not convince anyone to build better native GNU/Linux commercial applications, but if they do, I think the world will be a better place to have a computer in.

    For now, I buy games for Nintendo systems, not PCs. If GNU/Linux native games start coming out, I might change, but I guess even then I wonder. GNU/Linux changes so much so frequently there is hardly a guarantee a game I bought two years ago will run next year… and that’s how I play most of my games… over the long term, and not at one extended sitting.

  • Re: “Microsoft is going to work to break application support like is found in WINE. It is understood by most honest people in the IT industry that Microsoft deliberately changes file formats and anything else it can change to break third party support for their products.”

    This is a common misperception regarding Wine which rises from an imperfect understanding of what Wine really *is*. Yeah, Microsoft has done this with other technologies in the past. But in this case, the thing that they would be breaking in order to nerf Wine is their *entire API*. They can’t really do that. Why? Because while it might cause temporary damage to Wine, it would also break *every other software application on the planet*–Microsoft’s, Adobe’s, IBM’s, Oracle’s: you name it. *Everything* would break. In the words of Frank Zappa, that’s the equivalent of treating dandruff by decapitation. Nerfing Wine isn’t worth the rage they’d generate in the rest of the software development community by doing that. Not only that, but such a move could also be construed as anti-competitive, and would likely open them up to further lawsuits, particularly in Europe, which has demonstrated that it has an itchy trigger finger when it comes to MS anti-competitive practices.

    Re: “That these same companies get money from GNU/Linux users while thumbing their noses at GNU/Linux users, well, that is just disturbing.” Again, I think this betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of the marketplace, and the fact that we live in a free market society. Those developers aren’t thumbing their noses at us in any sort of vindictive way; they’re making a rational business decision based on market share, and where they can make money. Again, software developers (like most OS users) simply don’t share your righteous fervor for The Cause(tm). That’s not a crime on their part: it’s simply how the real world operates in a free market. So stop QQing. ;-)

    This is a classic Catch-22: users won’t switch to a new OS if it doesn’t have the apps they want, and software developers won’t develop those new applications unless there are customers there in the market. However, it is my firm belief that it is *not* the responsibility of software developers to do charity work in order to increase the market share of FOSS. It’s not their job to say “We’re gonna do a Linux client for this app because, by God, I know it’s the *right* thing to do (even though it will complicate my development schedule and create a support headache for me! Onward!” They’re simply not in business to do that. Building market share is *our* job: the FOSS community’s. Likewise, breaking the Catch-22 starts with *us*, not the software developers.

    This is why I believe that migration technologies like Wine are so crucial to that equation. Yes, it’s a crutch. Yes, it’s a stop gap. No, it’s not “pure.” But people in the FOSS community, in my opinion, need to be a *lot* less dogmatic on what is pure and righteous and holy and a lot *more* focused on getting people onto Linux in any way they can. If User X decides, on the basis of Wine running Windows Application A, that s/he can switch to Linux finally, *that’s a win for the community*, pure and simple. The more of those wins we get, the better off we are. We should be utterly unconcerned about what apps User X is running during the initial stages of their migration to Linux, and how they are running them. Adoption of native Linux apps can and will come in time as that person continues their journey. But in the initial stages of that migration, we should simply be pleased that User X is on Linux, because that builds market share. That’s the *only* thing that matters, if you want to get software developer’s attention: numbers of seats running Linux. What applications those seats are running is completely irrelevant.

    Cheers,

    -jon-

  • Kevin (comment #31) thanks for that comment.

    “GNU/Linux changes so much so frequently there is hardly a guarantee a game I bought two years ago will run next year.” So far, both Unreal Tournament 2004 (which I bought) and Quake 4 (which I bought) still run on my upgraded Mandriva distribution. I have run these games for a few years at this point, so I am not so sure your assumption of GNU/Linux moving out from under a game is what will happen. Maybe the next upgrade of Mandriva would break one, but I don’t think it will.

  • Jon (comment #32), welcome back.

    Yes, I admit I was on the wrong tangent with Microsoft breaking their own API to break WINE. Since WINE is a custom API for running Microsoft based products I am fairly sure they are in their own catch-22 with that problem. ;) That is rather ironic to contemplate for someone like myself who has followed Microsoft for over 20 years and gone from a strong Microsoft fan in the late 1980’s to Not A Fan in the late 2000’s. Humorously ironic at that.

    I do understand the free market and that decisions are made based on market share numbers. I understand the “bean counting” decisions to not commit resources to developing for GNU/Linux. From my perspective those are wrong, not from advocacy or zealotry, but because they have no clue how much GNU/Linux “market share” there is. No one does. That said, I suspect market research that says GNU/Linux has less than 1% of the desktop market is flawed on the very low side. I further suspect GNU/Linux on the desktop has at least as much market share as Apple OS X, probably more, but I cannot prove that. No one can prove that and that is part of the problem. Please see my article “Linux 46% Market Share, Windows 43.5% Market Share” to see what I mean.

    I also think that these companies that are refusing to release a GNU/Linux binary or binary patch are doing so because they are too tied to Microsoft technology like DirectX. Had they developed their 3D game with open technology instead of some closed, proprietary Microsoft technology then a cross-platform release of their games would be much less of a “headache”. The companies that do create games cross-platform have to have looked at the same problems and solved them or worked around them. So, it can be done, it has been done and it should be done. Not out of “righteousness” but because there is highly likely a market that will buy these games due to the fact they are available nativley on GNU/Linux.

    My argument is not against WINE as a whole, although that used to be my stance. It is against using WINE for running games developed only with closed, Microsoft technology that are released with little or no understanding of the “alternative” GNU/Linux market. I do not think these business folk in the game market are “disrespecting” us vindictively, but they are discounting us. What I mean by “thumbing their noses” is a careless disregard for the GNU/Linux market because they really have no clue how big of a market there is for GNU/Linux.

    I understand that a small business wanting to move to GNU/Linux on the desktop for the security, stability and cost savings may be tied to an application that has to run under a Microsoft API. There are thousands of QuickBooks users in that dilemma. For that small business WINE could be the answer to assist that move. That is a totally different problem from games. That small business is already on Microsoft and wants to switch to GNU/Linux. WINE can be a boon for that small business. On the other hand, the GNU/Linux gamer is already on GNU/Linux and wants GNU/Linux games.

    I still am firmly convinced that people that are already GNU/Linux users should only give their hard earned money to game companies that provide products for GNU/Linux. I do not care if some Microsoft gamer hooked on DirectX games does not switch to GNU/Linux. If he wants to stay on his Microsoft heroin that is fine with me. But I am on GNU/Linux and I prefer my games to be on the platform I use. I am not alone in this preference.

  • James Lopeman

    Rail Road Tycoon II and CivCTP from loki _STILL_ work for me on fedora-10
    x86_64 ( they are i386 versions )

    Meflin

  • Alex

    Well, in some ways I’m not surprised that DirectX is part of why so many games are tied to Microsoft. The closest you can get to it’s level of unification in GNU/Linux is probably OpenGL+SDL, however from what I’ve observed, it could potentially be bothersome to use OpenGL for a brand new super-fancy-graphics game due to new features of graphics cards requiring vendor-specific extensions in OpenGL but in DirectX the features are already standard due to the strong communication between Microsoft and the graphics card vendors. I’m a fan of open standards and all, but the way that OpenGL standard fails to quickly adapt to new feaures might be viewed as somewhat problematic I’d imagine.

    About market share, I’d like to note my personal observations about “Market Share” as it compares to Apple:
    – Among peers in my classes (mostly engineering), linux desktops/laptops seem roughly half as common as Apple desktops/laptops.
    – Among some IRC channels for some webcomics I read, linux desktops/laptops seem roughly twice as common as Apple desktops/laptops.
    Those observations don’t mean much as they’re just from the limited perspective of what I see around but I’d feel pretty sure it’s the same order of magnitude as apple in the general case.

  • gwern

    I would point out that these questions are hardly worded fairly (‘couldn’t care less’?). But I do buy commercial games – Introversion Software’s Defcon and Darwinia to be specific.

  • Jon

    My PS3 replaced my windows partition. Sometimes I buy linux games whether or not I want to play them, just to show the publishers that someone will buy.

  • mz

    I didn’t take the time to read all the comments, so I apologize if someone has already pointed this out. I would love to see more games support Linux, but your logic is flawed. The answer to the question, ?Would you be willing to purchase commercial games for Linux if they were developed for Linux??, has no direct correlation to profit for the game developers. If the player already purchases games for a platform other than Linux, the developers see no increase in profit if that player starts purchasing Linux versions instead. Your question should be something like, “Do you purchase games for platforms other than Linux? If not, would you be willing to purchase games for Linux if they were developed for Linux?”

  • Ray

    I’ve purchased both World of Goo and Savage 2. I don’t play games a lot, so at first I was happy enough to just pick up the demo for the experience. When I found out there was a Linux version available, I was more than happy to part with my money to support the developers.

  • James (comment #35), thanks for point that out. I appreciate your comment.

  • Alex (comment #36) thank you for your comment. Your anecdotal evidence of GNU/Linux versus Apple use is interesting.

  • gwern (comment #37), thank you for participating. What would you suggest for wording of the questions in the poll? Would you add more choices? What would be these other choices? If you think I should have put in something like, “No! I will not support closed source software!”, well that is not what I nor the game manufacturers want to know. If one will not purchase closed source software then that one is not needed to assist making a decision about commercial gaming support for GNU/Linux.

  • Everyone, I can edit the poll to add another choice or two if I think your suggestions are good ones. Please feel free to make suggestions for additional poll questions. I thought “No, I could not care less about gaming.” to be a fair option. I want to keep the number of choices as low as possible.

  • Jon (comment #38), thanks for commenting. I do not recommend buying software that one does not want just to make a point. But I do appreciate your efforts to support “the cause”. :)

  • mz (comment (#39), welcome and thanks for your comment. You should read more of the comments so you can better know my position. ;)

    Rethink my logic please. What I am saying is that GNU/Linux users that are already on GNU/Linux should stop buying games from game manufacturers that do not support GNU/Linux. A large enough net loss in profit will get someone in management at these companies to notice and start asking why. Of course we need to convert more off of Microsoft too so as to make more of an impact. But if people that are already on GNU/Linux only buy games made with GNU/Linux support then that will help make a difference in the long run.

  • Ray (comment #40), thanks. I guess I should have a look at World of Goo. It has been mentioned several times now.

  • I’ve bought Loki games in the past. I buy console games. I won’t buy a game that doesn’t explicitly support Linux. It’s worked out…well, I wouldn’t exactly say “well”, but at this point, I’ve been buying mostly just console games now. There are a few MMORPGs, and a lot of strategy games I’d love to be playing, but I just can’t bring myself to support them when they don’t support me.

  • emag (comment #48), thanks for commenting. I agree with your sentiment, “… I just can?t bring myself to support them when they don?t support me.” 100%. That is what all folks currently using GNU/Linux should think. But many do not see it “our way”, yet. ;)

  • Jay

    I too have taken the stance of not buying games that do not have native binaries. I have personally brought almost every commercial Linux game out there, and I will continue to update my collection when they are released.

    I have also completely removed wine, and the few games I played with it leaving a nice long post on the developers & publishers forums stating why I will not buy any more of their games until Linux binaries are either released free of charge or in a boxed format like their Windows CD’s.

    Oh and I really disapprove of Windows only games that use OpenGL (or use existing Linux engines like ID Tech 4 etc).

  • pc spiele

    My Game Company produces family-friendly commercial games with native Linux binaries, and we also sell other family-friendly games made by other companies that have a Linux client. Some of our games include:

    Dirk Dashing: Secret Agent! (a platformer)
    The Adventures of Rick Rocket (a 2D space shooter)
    Fashion Cents Deluxe (an original dress-up puzzle game)
    Fashion Cents Gents (a sequel to our popular dress-up game)

  • pc spiele (comment #51) thanks.

    We have already heard from the owner of My Game Company in this comment..

    The URL you had provided, that I removed, has nothing to do with games. I suspect you are SPAM’ing. :)

  • All it would take is 1 very nice MMO, and 1 really good FPS game to kick start the revolution. There are millions of linux users out there and most of them would buy an AAA title in a heartbeat if one was made. that would be a couple million sales.

    It’s practically a guarranteed win from a dev standpoint. there is no competition ATM. If I had 50m to drop on a development project it would be for a next gen MMORPG for Linux. And it would use OpenCL. Both Nvidia and ATI have OpenCL linux drivers. the performance would exceed windows.