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Interview With Icculus on GNU/Linux Gaming 74

Via Phoronix comes a link to an interview with prolific GNU/Linux game porter Icculus about the state of gaming on GNU/Linux. Topics include Steam, Windows 8, his experiences trying to push FatELF vs full screen games, and the general state of the game industry. From the article (on the general state of games on GNU/Linux): "It's making progress. We're turning out to have a pretty big year, with Unity3D coming to the platform, and Valve preparing to release Steam. These are just good foundations to an awesome 2013."
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Interview With Icculus on GNU/Linux Gaming

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  • Re:Walled Garden (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ninetyninebottles ( 2174630 ) on Sunday December 02, 2012 @05:27PM (#42163283)

    I feel like you are talking about different things. Steam isn't a developer, it's a gaming platform and a game store.

    Agreed, but Steam is a distribution platform and a store. They add value by handling a lot of the purchasing and with value added integration. They are competing with the App stores for about half of their business model. It is likely not sustainable unless there is some sort of major technological shift.

    That would be like talking about putting Steam into Game for Windows Live. You can talk about Valve putting their games into other people's store, but not Steam as a platform.

    Well, yes and no. Steam is not a fixed technology. One of the benefits is that across platforms it can link users together to play, chat, share scores, etc. Valve introducing not only their games to Windows Live but also their reputation and ability to audit games to determine which ones are malware or crashy or will otherwise cause users problems is a very real value, especially if MS were to walk away from that service and leave it up to third parties. Xbox, however is the most locked down and least likely of platforms. Phones and desktop OS's on the other hand are a more plausible situation.

    So, there is no scenario in which Steam can be a first class citizen. You're mixing Valve the developers, and Steam as a distribution platform.

    So imagine a world where Apple announced they were going to allow absolutely any application to be distributed in the App store... but by default users would only see the ones Apple approved. Imagine, however, that users could add any company/organization they wanted to approve or disapprove of software and provide ratings for it. For example, Symantec could feed information to the Apple store and users that enabled it could (for a fee) have all applications vetted against Symantec's white/black list. Users could add the Catholic Church's whitelist to remove even apps Apple provided that did not align with the beliefs of those adherents. Users could also add Valve and see added to the store any games Valve had approved as options for purchase. Further Valve approved apps (submitted to the store by Valve) all included integration with Steam's network services to add value.

    In the example above Steam is a first class citizen as much as any other distributor of software and while Apple might exclude some of their games by default for whatever reason, users could still get those games from the same place as all their other games. This is a survivable situation for Valve so long as they keep producing games and adding value with their network services (like integration with other platforms and authentication on other platforms) and Apple wins because more people can get the apps they want and Apple sells more hardware all without seriously degrading the security benefits of the current App store.

  • Re:What's the point? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 02, 2012 @05:37PM (#42163373)

    If you bring closed, proprietary, DRM-infested software onto it, you're just turning it into another Windows; you might as well just go back to it.

    Nonsense. Bringing in Steam and closed source games doesn't turn a GNU/Linux platform into a closed source OS. The closed bits have to behave and accept that I control the system.

    I'm amazed at the number of people with such an attitude to which you respond. For some reason, some number of unintelligent people actually believe making Linux popular and attractive to game developers and publishers, somehow Linux itself will be magically destroyed. The complete lack of critical thought to reach such a conclussion is truly amazing I completely agree with you. Even beyond that, availability of Steam and game frameworks is going to attract developers and games, which have absolutely nothing to do with Steam.

  • Re:What's the point? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Belial6 ( 794905 ) on Sunday December 02, 2012 @09:14PM (#42164789)
    OSX is dramatically closer to the market share of Desktop Linux than it is to Windows. OSX has somewhere in the neighborhood of 9-10% more of the market than Linux. This isn't to say that the Linux market is large. It is to say that the OS X market is tiny. As much as Mac fans want to rave about how their platform is a major contender, it really isn't. It is a niche OS that has been marketed well enough that it looks like a major OS.

    Before the fanboys come out of the woodwork to accuse me of being a 'Hater'. Please notice that I did not comment on the quality of the OS. Only it's market share.
  • by HerculesMO ( 693085 ) on Sunday December 02, 2012 @10:58PM (#42165261)

    And the sad fact is, that as of today, Windows 8 under steam outnumbers *all* versions of Mac OS all together. You can bet that the desktop distribution to Mac is higher than Linux, so what is the point here?

    Valve is caught with a problem, they are trying desperately to stay relevant in an era where XBox is actually really good, and while the integration into Windows 8 leaves much to be desired, you now give companies a huge benefit in added revenue via XBox points and Xbox Achievements (which points can unlock certain things). Simply stated, developers and publishers make more money through the Xbox channels than they do anywhere else.

    I know the idea of Linux gaming is great on /. but let's face the bad news; only if the community takes on the challenge of porting games (ala Wine or something), will it ever be bothered to be played. And even then, every Linux "gamer" will keep a Windows partition because all games will come to Windows, and only some will come to Linux -- and that's in an ideal world. So if publishers/developers know this, what's the point in adding Linux support in? The games won't play as well, they will lose added revenue via Xbox points/achievements, and they will make a few nerds happy.

    Sorry to say but getting a Humble Bundle developer to push the idea that Steam on Linux will be "moderately successful" to "wildly successful" is idiotic and naive. Next time show an interview from a big name publisher and let the entire interview be three minutes of laughing.

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