Tim Sweeney, the Founder and CEO of Epic Games took to Twitter again recently to answer some questions about Linux and gaming.
Why? Well, it seems the previously incorrect reports about Easy Anti-Cheat dropping Linux support like to reappear and people end up spreading it around. Even though it has since been clarified, people still end up spreading it.
In reply to someone on Twitter asking Sweeney what his "beef" is with Linux, Sweeney replied with:
Linux is a great. UE4, Epic Online Services, and Easy Anti-Cheat support it as a native runtime platform, and we’re seeking to better support Wine as a solution for running Epic Games store window titles.
Note: I did attempt to get clarification on the Wine and Epic Games Store bit in the above quote, to see if Sweeney meant the whole store in Wine or to get the store on Linux and use Wine like Valve does with Steam Play but he hasn't replied yet.
Another interesting thing Sweeney said around this, was in reply to a user asking about Easy Anti-Cheat, to which Sweeney responded with:
EAC has native Linux binaries in beta, supporting several native games in active release. This missing link is native Linux anti-cheat integration with Wine/Proton so that games running under Wine are protected. This is in the works but is a big task.
So the situation sounds pretty clear. Easy Anti-Cheat does continue to support Linux and Wine/Steam Play support for Easy Anti-Cheat should be happening. Sweeney's comments shouldn't be too surprising if you've been following our news for a while, as he previously said "WINE is the one hope for breaking the cycle".
A long time ago I would have disagreed, but since Valve came along with Steam Play (which bundles Wine, DXVK and more together in the Steam Client) I somewhat agree with this. It has opened up Linux gaming to a wider audience already, so people don't have to worry about losing their entire back catalogue of Windows-only titles and compatibility continues to improve with new each release.
As for some other interesting things that came up recently, someone mentioned Sweeney's previous comment comparing installing Linux to moving to Canada, if you didn't like "US political trends". Sweeney also replied to clarify what he meant by this:
These statements are consistent. 99.9% of game playing is on mobile, console, and PC. A game developer who’s frustrated with other platforms can’t just retreat to Linux. They couldn’t earn a living. We have to fight for our freedoms on today’s platforms as they stand.
It's the whole chicken and egg debate again, users don't want to switch to Linux due to games and game developers don't want to support Linux due to fewer users.
I do get what he's saying, but I don't think the majority mean to only support Linux. On that point, I think he missed the mark a little. It's more about supporting Linux as an additional platform to help against lock-in, monopolies and continue to help break the cycle. Although, as mentioned above Wine/Steam Play have started to slowly even the playing field a bit there.
He goes on:
What are those rights? I think it’s the user’s right to install software of their choosing from sources of their choosing, developers’ right to release software on their own, and competition among stores.
I don't think anyone can truly disagree with that. Installing software from where you choose is quite important, as is competition. Even in the open source space, competition can be very healthy and push everyone to improve. That's true for online stores as well of course, a monopoly of any sort is a bad idea.
Does this mean ever game developer has an obligation to release their game on every store? No, it’s their creative work, and they have a right to choose how to distribute it. That includes the right to negotiate store terms and reject stores that don’t pay them adequately.
He's not wrong there either of course, it is entirely down to a developer/publisher on where they release their games and what deals they take to do it. Be it Steam, Epic Store, Humble Store, GOG, itch.io and all the smaller stores.