Thursday, 25 March 2010

Linux & Gaming, does one need the other?

The recent episode of Shot of Jaq: Getting in the game has got me thinking about a subject that I have a lot of interest in: gaming.

I am not an avid hardcore gamer who will spend 6 hours playing with his mates online. However I do spend probably more than the average computer user hitting a joypad or trying out new games. I enjoy a variety of games from racing, sports and sandbox style games such as GTA4 and the Saints Row series.

When I moved to using a Linux OS back in 2008 the first thing I did was to go down to the local computer shop and enquire about the availablity of commercial games for the Linux system. However I was disapointed that whilst the shopkeeper knew that these did exist, after a month of trying to find a dealer he admitted that he had to give up. I had an idea that the list would not be extensive, but I thought there would be a handful available from his list of game sellers.

Whilst I don’t think games are necessary for Linux I certainly think that they would help promote the growth of the Linux as a primary OS on many desktop PCs, especially those homes with older children.

I have installed Linux on a few friends machines and usually within a few weeks, they are pleased with the system, but they want a version of windoze installed as their kids want to play the new games. I think that if we are able to get the ‘big title’ games onto the system and start introducing people to Linux from an early age then the future market would increase rapidly.
We cannot say that there is no market in the games industry, billions is generated every year, if we can get people to stop sending that money to ms via 360 and windoze game sales and start putting money into the companies that support Linux then this is even better for the potential growth of the Linux community.

Linux is no longer only a purist OS; a novice can install one of several distros and get the internet, write a letter, listen to music and burn a CD with no need to even touch the terminal. For your purist programmer then Linux is the perfect choice. However we need to focus on the middle ground. Not the minimalist who only wants to browse and write letters, but also those who are keen users of the computer, but do not want to programme.

Yes there are some games out there, but most of the games offered by LGP(Linux Game Publishing) are ports of older windoze games. Runesoft have a few, but again these are hardly chart busting titles. We need a company to take a chance and prove that the Linux market is worth investing in.

Most Linux users have a console, so that shows that we will pay for entertainment, if this money were to be diverted to Linux supporting companies then surely this is better for us in the long run.

I feel that Loki games were just too ahead of their time. They printed too many copies of games for a market that was not quite ready yet. It is a shame that we only seem to be getting smaller independant companies porting games to our open OS. These are good, some are great, but will not convert the hardcore gamers away from the ms operating systems.
Do I think games are vital for Linux’s survival: No. For Linux’s growth as a mainstream desktop OS: yes

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