It’s been a long time since I’ve done this, but here’s part 5 in the series of me talking to developers about how their games have been selling on Linux.
If you missed the previous articles: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4.
For those who don’t recognise the name, Beamdog are the people behind revamps of classic RPG titles like Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition and Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition.
They gave some details about how Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition sold on Steam:
- 91.74% - Windows
- 6.22% - Mac
- 2.04% - Linux
Additionally, they also gave details about install numbers from their own Beamdog client:
- 91.13% - Windows
- 6.38% - Mac
- 2.49% - Linux
Here’s what Beamdog CTO, Scott Brooks had to say about Linux support:
QuoteWe really think the Infinity Engine games are something special and work hard to bring them to people that might not otherwise be able to play them. We've worked with professional and volunteer translators to help bring Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition to 14 languages, and we add things like Story Mode to help people who otherwise would have a hard time playing these great games. We've ported an engine that was originally built in the 16bit to 32bit transition to 64bit in order to let people continue enjoying these games. There are people on Linux that would love to play our games specifically on Linux, and we would love to let them.
Also, if you missed it I did an interview with Beamdog before, you can see that here.
MidBoss, the roguelike where you possess the bodies of your enemies released with Day-1 Linux support back in May. Here’s the figures their developer gave:
- 93.4 - Windows
- 4.7% - Mac
- 1.9% - Linux
Here’s what the developer of MidBoss had to say about supporting Linux now and in future:
QuoteI feel pretty good about supporting both platforms in MidBoss, particularly since Ethan Lee who made FNA did the ports and it wasn't too expensive. Without him they probably wouldn't have happened.
When we do wind up doing a bigger more demanding game again (MidBoss 2? Who knows!) I'll investigate getting the .NET versions working on Mac and Linux too. The .NET side uses OpenTK/OpenGL so it shouldn't be that difficult, hopefully, we just don't have the time/resources right now to go into it.
To my surprise, Milkstone Studios were very open and sent over details about multiple titles!
White Noise 2
- 95.31% - Windows
- 4.06% - OSX
- 0.64% - Linux
Only Linux details given for these:
- Little Racers Street: 12.05%
- Pharaonic: 4.59%
- Ziggurat: 2.19%
- White Noise Online: 0.96%
It’s worth noting, that just before the release of Little Racers Street, I did an interview with Milkstone Studios about the title. That may have helped towards the rather high Linux percentage there.
Here’s what they said about continuing to support Linux:
Milkstone StudiosSeeing these numbers, look like Linux players are more used to single player experiences, so that might be the reason.
We support Linux on a pretty basic level (we're not Linux users ourselves, so we have limited experience with it). Linux support takes up lots of support time (I'd say around 20-25% of our support time is dedicated to addressing Linux issues), and it's hard to justify dedicating our time to this platform if sales for it are low. However, Unity allows for easy generation of Linux builds, and most of the work required for a proper port was done with Ziggurat, so for now we'll continue releasing games with Linux support, and trying to solve issues to the best of our knowledge.
While they weren’t able to give any specific details, I did speak to two of the bigger porters Feral Interactive and Aspyr Media.
Here’s what Feral Interactive had to say:
QuoteThe Linux market remains small in comparison to Mac, and tiny compared to Windows. Three years of bringing AAA games to Linux has taught us a lot about what works in sales terms, and what works less well. Although we had hoped that the Steam Machine would gain more traction, we have been pleasantly surprised by the Linux sales achieved on distros other than SteamOS, and continually encouraged by the passionate (and vocal!) audience of Linux gamers. However, we are disappointed by the promotion of piracy by some, which does disproportionate damage to the economics of bringing games to an already small platform.
Take a look at what Aspyr Media said:
QuoteOur Linux business continues to be an important part of our strategy going forward. We consider Linux a viable platform, and continue to make it a target goal of any deal we strike.
I did reach out to Virtual Programming, but they were extremely busy and didn't have time.
I would like to thank everyone who got back to me. Sadly some didn’t reply, but given how busy developers are actually making games, it’s all good!