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Valve: Linux Better Than Windows 8 for Gaming 768

dartttt writes "In a presentation at Ubuntu Developer Summit currently going on in Denmark, Drew Bliss from Valve said that Linux is more viable than Windows 8 for gaming. Windows 8 ships with its own app store and it is not an open platform anymore and Linux has everything they need: good OpenGL, pulseaudio, OpenAL and input support."
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Valve: Linux Better Than Windows 8 for Gaming

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  • by hinchles ( 976598 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:48AM (#41805159)
    I've read alot about companies saying win8 is bad for gaming yet very few are actually willing to put their money where their mouth is and actually produce linux native games (or at least games that work perfectly well under wine). Couple that with the lack of installed userbase with capable hardware and the commercial aspects of linux don't really stack up. As much as I'd love to run mint full time its stuck on its vm currently or on underpowered hardware (where linux really shines as a desktop making old/low powered hardware useable!) neither of which are gaming capable.
  • Finally (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kral_Blbec ( 1201285 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:49AM (#41805163)
    The only thing tying a lot of people (myself included) to Windows is gaming. With how much I hate the new ModernUI, I've been taking another look at going back to Linux as a main O/S.
  • Just greed. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Haxagon ( 2454432 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:52AM (#41805235)

    Windows 8 isn't had for gaming, it's just bad for Valve. Vale has wanted Steam to be a general App Store for a long while, and if regular plebes start using the Windows Marketplace, they'll lose that battle before they even begin. Valve's just concerned with their potential market being at risk.

  • by dstyle5 ( 702493 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:53AM (#41805269)
    Steam works the same in Windows 8 as in Windows 7 from what I've seen thus far. There is no way most gamers would buy a game in the Microsoft app store if the same game was available on Steam. Seems like Valve is more concerned about the competition from the Microsoft App Store than about how open Windows 8 as an O/S is.
  • by Ravaldy ( 2621787 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:54AM (#41805279)

    If they move to Linux they will fail. I myself am a gamer and all my friends who also game aren't techies. There is no way in hell they will be installing Linux on their computers.

    If they focus their product dev to Linux it will sink the company.

  • by CAPSLOCK2000 ( 27149 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:55AM (#41805309) Homepage

    Valve is one of the most influential companies in the gaming world. If they speak people will listen.
    This single statement will cause thousands of gamers to check out Linux.

    This is a market that is willing to spend hundreds of dollars and hours of tweaking to gain a few percent more performance. Any rumour about a better system will cause a flood of gamers that want to be the first to get the advantage.

  • by bhcompy ( 1877290 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:57AM (#41805343)
    7>XP. Sorry, AC Chief.
  • Perhaps, but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Junta ( 36770 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @11:57AM (#41805351)

    In this case, Valve's agenda is the lesser of two evils. Either MS gets their way and Linux desktops continue with the relatively sparse gaming library compared to Windows systems, or Valve gets their way and at least Linux gets a lot of the titles that were formerly Windows-only.

    I'd rather a viable company scheme be one that operates within the structure of the general structure of Linux based desktops than requiring Windows or wine. Purists can still run their desktop with the same (or even better) selection of truly free software, and the rest of us can use a free desktop without compromising or dual boot to get at a few titles we really would enjoy.

  • by JonJ ( 907502 ) <jon.jahren@gmail.com> on Monday October 29, 2012 @12:01PM (#41805435)
    Valve is already releasing their game. When will you be releasing yours Mr. AC? And when do you expect to surpass Valve in revenue?
  • Re:Just greed. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Microlith ( 54737 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @12:02PM (#41805475)

    Wouldn't you be concerned if the vendor of the OS you're dependent on suddenly comes along and decides to push their own store with it? You end up like IE6, one dominant platform for the OS. And given that Microsoft has very obvious goals of deprecating Win32 in favor of WinRT, which requires software using it come from the store, yes Valve has every reason to be worried. As does every other software vendor out there, because this gives Microsoft an overwhelming amount of power, over both them and you.

    Pushing to make Linux a viable platform is good for everyone.

  • Re:Fear... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OG ( 15008 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @12:04PM (#41805493)
    While there are challenges, i think that Valve's doing it at least partly right. For starters, they're initially supporting Steam on a specific distribution and release. While some people may disagree with that stance, I'd say that it's smart to focus on the most popular distro first and get that working well, as it'll provide a much more solid base for the product. Additionally, if they could recommend/support specific drivers for optimal performance, that would also reduce initial variability. I think part of the problem with launching an application on Linux (especially a game or gaming system, which tends to really utilize all of the different components of a system) is the thought that it needs to run on all Linux distros out of the box. That may be a great goal, but it's a support nightmare. It's probably better in the long-run to target a certain platform, get it working great on that platform, and then expand from there. It'll be interesting to see how this turns out for them.
  • by Microlith ( 54737 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @12:05PM (#41805495)

    WinRT is not open at all, and Microsoft intends on deprecating Win32 in favor of it. I imagine it won't happen until Windows 9, but eventually the newest version of DirectX will require use of WinRT (probably WinRT 2.0 when they iron out the last of the Win32 dependencies) at which point Microsoft will move to close off the openness of the PC completely, reserving Win32 access and whatnot to "legacy VMs" and "Enterprise" platforms.

    And it's not really fair to call it "competition" when the store is pushed by the company whose OS holds a monopoly in the market it'll be pushed on.

  • by Microlith ( 54737 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @12:14PM (#41805683)

    It's quite likely that Steam could make Linux (Ubuntu, at least) viable for games. There's nothing inherently "good" about Windows for games other than the monopoly that Microsoft rides on.

  • by HungryHobo ( 1314109 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @12:16PM (#41805737)

    They know that microsoft know how important gaming is long term.

    they also know how much more leverage they have if they ever need to negotiate with microsoft if there's alternative systems.

  • by AwesomeMcgee ( 2437070 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @12:17PM (#41805749)
    As soon as there is a single fully working audio stack for linux that doesn't require fidgetting with configuration like crazy to get it to work, and it's compatible with *all* games, then you're a step closer to being viable.

    Except the fact that getting bluetooth mouse/keyboard to work is a huge pain unless you buy one of the specifically linux supported bluetooth sets, but I pick my hardware based on quality/price, not OS support because I shouldn't have to (and don't with windows).

    Yes, open is great, but until every hardware company is ensuring a simple fully functional driver for their devices on it and there is a common interface for software to all of those drivers ala directX/directSound, windows will be a better gaming platform even for linux enthusiasts. Unfortunate, as all the software stacks that do exist for linux tend to outperform windows by a fair margin, because of significantly better OS architecture.

    Simply put, it's a problem of robustness and consistency. When I want to shoot zombies I don't want to have to restart my sound system or HID system and re-enter pin codes and set defaults again, nor do I want to spend weeks configuring and scripting auto-configuration setup for such a thing. So it's a waste of game developers time to try and target linux when they live a crunch-mode life as it is with huge risk of flop resulting in practically no money-back for the effort even when they're focussed on only one OS.
  • by Microlith ( 54737 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @12:22PM (#41805831)

    If they move to Linux they will fail.

    Indeed, therefore they should not ever try to support Linux.

    I myself am a gamer and all my friends who also game aren't techies. There is no way in hell they will be installing Linux on their computers.

    Good, they don't have to. They can continue to run Windows 7 or install and use Steam on Windows 8. But we'll probably be forced to make a decision in Windows 9.

    If they focus their product dev to Linux it will sink the company.

    Good to see people are still wholly ignorant about what Valve is doing.

  • Re:Fear... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 29, 2012 @12:28PM (#41805927)

    I honestly don't understand this argument. Valve is perfectly within their rights to say "we intend to ONLY support certain hardware and software profiles for certain Steam-for-Linux profiles".

    We all know they have limited resources, and gamers are already perfectly willing to shell out tons of money on specific hardware. If my webserver can't play L4D, I don't think I'll particularly care. Nor if my Android device isn't able to play all Steam games.

    Being forced to install Pulseaudio or buy from a certain range of video cards might seem distasteful, but what are the alternatives? No Steam, or use another supported platform. I think I'll take the less expensive option, thank you.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 29, 2012 @12:30PM (#41805977)

    He's just angry that Windows Marketplace is going to cut into his donut funds.

    Sure, but he's also saying the truth.
    Microsoft will obsolete sooner or later the win32 api and then the only way to install software will be through Microsoft's app store (onle Metro apps for you suckers).

    How do you know this? You're talking about Microsoft strategy that isn't in their best interest. The only point to using Windows is that it has that several-decade compatibility. Why would they remove the last compelling reason to use Windows? And even if you think they're ok with shooting themselves in the foot, why do you think computer manufacturers will stand for letting Microsoft removing functionality which would in turn kill sales. They'd sooner create custom Linux distributions built heavily around Wine and their own Windows work alike. Or get Mac and get snookered into Apple's app store.

    It'd be like the 1980s all over again, with dozens of Z80 and 6502 based computers in a variety of implementations and no one will be happy. Ah, the good old days.

  • by SScorpio ( 595836 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @12:32PM (#41806017)

    Microsoft released a 32bit version of Windows 8. I doubt they will be moving solely to ARM anytime soon.

  • by jopsen ( 885607 ) <jopsen@gmail.com> on Monday October 29, 2012 @12:36PM (#41806071) Homepage
    I don't think it's just a negotiation strategy. There is no stopping Windows App Store or Mac OS X App Store, they are going to happen, and they are going to be the future for application deployment on Windows and OS X, respectively. So for Valve to try and make Linux a viable platform makes a lot of sense.
    In the long-term they will be better suited for fixes bugs and providing better hardware support.
  • by next_ghost ( 1868792 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @12:38PM (#41806113)
    Nope. But if Microsoft continues this nonsense and major game developers switch to Linux, 2014 will be.
  • Re:Fear... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lonewolf666 ( 259450 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @12:49PM (#41806315)

    I'm sure there will be some initial problems. Such as some drivers not being very good.

    But with GPUs in particular, I guess Valve can get away with a few "recommended configurations". Such as NVidia cards with binary drivers. While those are not exactly in the spirit of FOSS, they may be a pragmatic way to get things started.

    I'll be optimistic and say that some good things may come from Steam games running well on a few selected graphics cards. It would increase the pressure on other vendors to put some more effort in upgrading their Linux drivers.

  • by emilper ( 826945 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @12:52PM (#41806373)

    did Delphi do better on Windows ?

  • by apexwm ( 1612713 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @12:53PM (#41806385) Homepage
    No surprise there. The same applies to many different areas where Linux is way more efficient than Windows is. Everybody knows Windows is bloated beyond comprehension. I use Linux for my primary machine, and also use Windows machines daily and in comparison the Linux desktop smokes Windows. Everything from data processing, running virtual machines, LAN performance, you name it. Windows has a monopoly and since it has close to 90% of the market, software companies will continue to develop for it. If Linux had more market share, more companies would develop commercial software for it. So, even though Windows has a majority of the market share, it is definitely not the best OS. It's simply the most popular OS, for now.
  • by Tharkkun ( 2605613 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @01:02PM (#41806603)

    No surprise there. The same applies to many different areas where Linux is way more efficient than Windows is. Everybody knows Windows is bloated beyond comprehension. I use Linux for my primary machine, and also use Windows machines daily and in comparison the Linux desktop smokes Windows. Everything from data processing, running virtual machines, LAN performance, you name it. Windows has a monopoly and since it has close to 90% of the market, software companies will continue to develop for it. If Linux had more market share, more companies would develop commercial software for it. So, even though Windows has a majority of the market share, it is definitely not the best OS. It's simply the most popular OS, for now.

    Until Linux stops all their internal bickering and decides on one native standard for all gaming they will never been seen as better. The reason Microsoft dominates is because they standardized the market on Directx. Write once, work on all. For Linux it's not that easy yet and 3% performance doesn't outweigh the headaches.

  • Re:Fear... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Mr. McGibby ( 41471 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @01:06PM (#41806677) Homepage Journal

    They also know that it's likely the community will help support other distros if they can just get one working.

  • by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @01:13PM (#41806831) Homepage
    I think the problem is that a Linux gaming machine can be good, but if you just throw Linux on the average PC out there, the results will be less than stellar. I tried installing 6 different distros on my laptop because I really wanted to give Linux a fair try and seriously use it for a year. I quit after all these distros and only 1 month of usage because getting the drivers set up along with getting things like WiFi enabled was just too much of a pain. I was hopeful because from my experience it works well enough on VM, but as soon as I went to run it on real hardware the experience was just completely different, in a bad way. You could develop a gaming platform based on Linux, with a very small list of approved hardware, and a specific distro to work with that hardware, but that kind of takes away half the reason for PC gaming in the first place.
  • Re:But the APIs? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JDG1980 ( 2438906 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @01:29PM (#41807167)

    There's no good gaming APIs to use. Where is the DirectX equivalent?

    Developers have had no trouble with OpenGL on iOS and Android. Why would PCs be different? Direct3D benefits Microsoft due to lock-in, but I have a hard time seeing how its use benefits developers. And even Microsoft's usual advantage of legacy compatibility isn't really an issue here, since the market for Doom clones and WoW clones (the only PC games that the gamer crowd cares about as far as I can tell) moves so fast that everything is being rewritten every year anyway.

    Linux does have other problems with its graphic subsystem: the lack of open drivers for nVidia, the lack of any decent drivers for AMD/ATI, and most of all the 20 layers of legacy crap that the typical Linux desktop staggers beneath. But this has nothing to do with the underlying API for 3D games, which is clean and simple OpenGL.

  • Re:Finally (Score:4, Insightful)

    by HaZardman27 ( 1521119 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @01:36PM (#41807277)
    Ubisoft is the worst company to quote for PC games sales data. I'm almost certain their Always-On DRM they had been bundling with their games was killing their PC game sales.
  • by SplashMyBandit ( 1543257 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @01:41PM (#41807375)

    Huh? there is one input model for Linux (plenty of libraries to access it), OpenAL (which is now recommended by Microsoft), OpenGL (which has been there forever), standard networking etc.

    I'm writing a modern jet combat flight simulator and use Java, JInput, JoGL etc etc and find I can run on Windows, Linux and Mac with vary little customization for each platform required (just a little for the GLSL implementation differences for Nvidia vs ATI on each platform). Linux is less hassle than Windows in many respects and I get better performance too (just like Valve) do. Java 1.6 U10 and later also kick ass for performance (I sit there with the JDK's JVisualVM and watch what goes on in real-time; this is an awesome [free!] tool).

    We cross-platform devs have been trying to tell the DirectX guys for ages that it is completely possible to write cross-platform games for *less* effort than it is to write around the MS APIs (due to their cruft and version churn). However, the MS devs don't listen, won't listen and when they do finally listen they resist for ages.

    So, even though Windows has a majority of the market share, it is definitely not the best OS. It's simply the most popular OS, for now.

    Windows is the most popular *desktop* OS, this is true. However, it is not dominant on the server (eg enterprise and web serving spaces), consoles (PS3 and XBox are fairly even) or mobile devices (where the revenue growth is; Android [which is a customized Java+Linux]) has installs of 1.3 million new devices *each day*.

    So, it makes economic sense to develop for Windows if you could only develop for one platform exclusively. However, if you are smart you can develop cross-platform applications that work on Windows *and* Linux *and* Mac *and* Android *and* PS3 without too much hassle (Xbox and iOS are kinda in siloes). The economics has been against developing for Windows only. The smart money has always been using the right tools to do cross-platform work. That way, when the IT landscape changes (eg. the advent of mobile, and one day whatever becomes the new hotness) your code will be able to quickly ported to the new platform. All because you chose the strategic (cross-platform) over the tactical (eg. DirectX ease of use but Windows-only).

    Here's a case study I like to quote of someone who chose cross-platform technologies which allowed him to personally make $US 3.5 million dollars when the IPad and iPhone came out. He says if he had put himself in the Microsoft straightjacket with DirectX then he couldn't have done this (and this is why DirectX was invented, to keep you on Windows, and that has been a very successful strategy so far for MS, but it about to marginalize them in the coming heterogenous computing world):
    http://techhaze.com/2010/03/interview-with-x-plane-creator-austin-meyer/ [techhaze.com]

    Hopefully this is a bit informative for you, and why the "develop for Windows only" mentality is wrong (and in fact has always been wrong; it suits Microsoft's purposes to keep you on the desktop, not the game developers who needs to adapt to future trends). Now here I have to give credit to the *new* Microsoft, they finally seemed to have grokked that there are other platforms out there and are starting to play nicely. This is very very good, but there is still a lot of MS stuff from the bad old days to be overcome (including indoctrination of its users, such as your mistaking Windows desktop popularity as a reason to develop using Windows-only technology :) ).

  • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Monday October 29, 2012 @02:27PM (#41808277) Journal

    I'll get hate for saying this, but its the FOSSies at the top that will ruin it, Valve or not. By "FOSSie" I mean those that hold GPL as inviolate and will hate Valve for daring to bring their DRM platform to Linux. We saw this right here when many of the old guard devs were posting things like "Well as long as they don't put it in the repo" because God forbid things should be easy for a non GPL package!

    You see right now Linux is split in 2, on one side you have the pragmatists that just wants the damned thing to work for as many as possible, then you have the FOSSies that don't give a shit if its the most fiddly obtuse mess on the planet as long as GPL is held above all. I have a feeling that Valve is gonna find out like so many before that the FOSSies hold positions in the higher levels of your system internals and there is gonna be a LOT of "Ooops, broke your shit Valve...well if you'd just open your source code why that shit wouldn't happen".

    This is why the ONLY time Linux has gained any ground is when Google just took the system internals away from the devs and took everything in house, where they could force some order and direction. If Valve thinks those devs that hold GPL like the ten commandments are gonna play nice with their DRM platform? Shiiit, they might as well ask for abortion clinics at the RNC, it would probably go over as well.

    Final verdict? Win 8 bombs, OEMs continue selling Win 7, Gabe quietly lets the Linux version rot after he has to do a couple of major rebuilds thanks to the FOSSie faction trying to force him to Open Source his code, and that will be the end of that. There is A REASON why you don't get proprietary software on Linux, its not because you can't make it run, its because the FOSSie faction will make damned sure it won't run for long, so why bother? Until the faction that worships GPL isn't in command you can give it up Chuck.

  • If you're counting routers, servers and the like? Then your statement is true but I don't see many GAME sales coming from those sectors.
  • by Patch86 ( 1465427 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @02:58PM (#41808771)

    If you can't figure Linux out, you are probably not a Windows power user.

    I've never been trained in using Linux, and I would probably not consider myself a Windows "power user" (insofar as I define it as someone who knows more than how to navigate menus and a little bit of CLI stuff). Yet when I installed Linux for the first time a few years ago (Ubuntu, probably around 2006), I picked it up no problem. Since then, I've experienced a hand full of the usual Linux gripes around hardware and drivers, but it's basically been no more painful than my life running Windows (which I still do- this is posted from a Win7 machine).

    I mean, what the hell is stopping you? Assuming you don't have a huge problem with hardware compatibility (which can always ruin your day, but then it did with Vista too), what else is different? The file system structure is arranged differently, but it's not that confusing, and especially not if you intend to make liberal use of search instead of finding everything by hand (I always use the Win7 search facility these days- I can't remember the last time I descended into the file tree to search for something by hand). Installing programmes is easier than in Windows (just go to the Software Centre, use apt-get, or download the package from a website and double click it). If you use the CLI then you'll need to learn a new set of commands, but all you really need to know is "man" and "man -k", and the rest is at your finger tips- surely not that hard for a "power user"?

    Maybe you need to use programmes that are only available in Windows (games are the main reason I keep Win7 boxes around at the moment), or you've bought hardware that won't play nice with Linux. They're both valid reasons not to switch. But general usability? Get real.

  • by Requiem18th ( 742389 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @04:08PM (#41809761)

    Pragmatism is unpragmatic in the long term. It seems I need to remind you how many times people have dissmissed free software and its ideals or have declared RMS alunatic paranoid just to be proven wrong again and again. I remind you that 20 years ago people were declaring free software imposible, 15 years ago, free software was dying, 10 years ago it was never going mainstream, 5 years ago it was a fad, now it's not going to last. Please, stop.

  • by Coryoth ( 254751 ) on Monday October 29, 2012 @09:47PM (#41813161) Homepage Journal

    And Kylix was Borland's Hail Mary shot as Delphi was spiralling down the drain. What's worse, it wasn't native linux, but a kludge of QT and Wine, and yet still didn't provide backwards compatability to Delphi.

    Kylix didn't fail because it was for linux. Kylix was doomed from the start because it was a hastily put together lifeboat from the sinking ship of Delphi.

The Macintosh is Xerox technology at its best.