Prior to the release of Windows 8, gaming on Linux predominately revolved around emulating core libraries through WINE and rarely featured stable games without configuration problems. Valve’s CEO, Gabe Newell was so incensed by Windows 8, and its lack of freedom, that he decided to launch Steam for Linux and create SteamOS, a gaming-optimized Linux distribution. Whether or not you agree with Gabe Newell’s analysis, it’s impossible to deny that Linux could become a viable gaming platform. Currently, there are over 1500 native games on Linux compared to 6464 on Windows while OS X users can choose between a library of 2323.
So what does this mean? Linux gaming is still on the rise, but it’s so small in comparison to Windows. Additionally, the majority of games are indie titles without any major graphical demands. There are exceptions such as Counterstrike: Global Offensive, Shadow Warrior and Metro Redux but the library is still far too limiting. Perhaps, things will change as Valve’s Steam Machines hit the market. Ideally, Valve should announce a number of Linux versions to coincide with their hardware launches.
Windows 10 has been a monumental success and this could impact on Valve’s Linux project. However, with concerns about privacy and a rumoured subscription model in the future, it seems like Linux will have a niche audience. Originally, Valve argued that Linux provided much better performance in their testing but this was done with DirectX 11 comparisons. Frankly, DirectX 11 is a horribly optimized API, and DirectX 12 should bring major improvements across the board. This raises the question, is there still a need for SteamOS anymore?
It’s certainly an interesting discussion and I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Would you ditch Windows for Linux if all the games were playable?
Image courtesy of The New Boston.
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