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Linux game sales statistics from multiple developers, part 5

Posted by , / 20648 views

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.

Beamdog
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
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.

In the future I'll be using a new, completely custom framework that can create .NET executables as well as JavaScript/WebGL builds from a single C# codebase. We're planning to initially use the web builds with Electron to keep supporting Mac and Linux. This should perform just fine for smaller games such as Ultra Hat Dimension which is probably coming out on Steam in early 2018.

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.


Milkstone Studios
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!

38 Likes, Who?
Comments
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Jan 2 August 2017 at 12:40 pm UTC
Come on, Pecisk, be real: We buy Feral's ports, we pay a few bucks more in Humble Bundles, but we are a tiny group of passionate people within a niche market. Because of us, no publisher would even consider a port of a game. +1 Linux won't do it for the top dogs, even really cool and dedicated people like the CD Project/GOG guys have to consider economic reasons and viability. The Witcher 1 eON port was released for macOS, but not for Linux, even though the effort would have been quite low.

I don't have proof, but I'm pretty sure neither Aspyr or Feral could pay their bills and salaries as a Linux only publisher.

Some AAA gaming is fine for you, but it's not enough to convince any halfway serious gamer outside our *nix bubble to switch to Linux.
Areso 2 August 2017 at 12:40 pm UTC
scaine
LeopardConclusion is simple actually. If AAA games keeps coming without Linux support , Linux gaming won't go anywhere better.

I know what you're getting at, but the tricky part is "AAA". If you changed "AAA" to "quality" games, I'd agree with you wholeheartedly.

But "AAA" is such an ambiguous term. Is Ballistic Overkill AAA? I think so, but it's not even in the same league as Paladins in terms of player-base, let alone something truly gigantic like Overwatch. What about Insurgency? Or Albion Online? Do we still think Full Throttle is AAA? Does "AAA" time out, somehow?

first A for big budget, second A for big dev and publisher, and third, it was once, A for quality.
So, AAA games tend to have a lot content, quality models, animations, voice overs, videocuts and so on...
Leopard 2 August 2017 at 12:41 pm UTC
scaine
LeopardConclusion is simple actually. If AAA games keeps coming without Linux support , Linux gaming won't go anywhere better.

I know what you're getting at, but the tricky part is "AAA". If you changed "AAA" to "quality" games, I'd agree with you wholeheartedly.

But "AAA" is such an ambiguous term. Is Ballistic Overkill AAA? I think so, but it's not even in the same league as Paladins in terms of player-base, let alone something truly gigantic like Overwatch. What about Insurgency? Or Albion Online? Do we still think Full Throttle is AAA? Does "AAA" time out, somehow?

So as long as some/many quality titles are available, it's an acceptable sacrifice (to me) that not all quality titles are available.

By AAA i mean ; Doom 2016 , Wolfenstein 2 , Witcher 3 , Skyrim , Fallout 4 , Battlefield 1 , Overwatch etc.

Yes ; you can say quality games which mostly has their own , unique engines and even support of common Api s like Vulkan yet they don't have Linux versions. These are most desired games by gamers and lot of people are playing them opposite of indie 2d scrolling games.
RafiLinux 2 August 2017 at 12:48 pm UTC
Can't remember if this is an ongoing article or is there going to be a final part and then a summary of all of them previous ones combined for a final take?

If you follow all of the work liamdawe put into all of these parts, the outlook seems great. I just wish I could support more of these games but I'm not into single player games and most of the ones covered were.

For me to buy a game, it has to have

  • *Linux native - Dosbox wrappers are the exception for older games
  • *DRM-FREE - With slight exception to Steam
  • Split Screen or Same Screen Gaming
  • 100% Controller Support
  • Local Multiplayer - Versus or Cooperative
  • $20 or under

I may sometimes go above the $20 limit if the game provide editing tools for levels, characters or more.


Last edited by RafiLinux at 3 August 2017 at 10:05 am UTC
Areso 2 August 2017 at 12:50 pm UTC
JanCome on, Pecisk, be real: We buy Feral's ports, we pay a few bucks more in Humble Bundles, but we are a tiny group of passionate people within a niche market. Because of us, no publisher would even consider a port of a game. +1 Linux won't do it for the top dogs, even really cool and dedicated people like the CD Project/GOG guys have to consider economic reasons and viability. The Witcher 1 eON port was released for macOS, but not for Linux, even though the effort would have been quite low.

I don't have proof, but I'm pretty sure neither Aspyr or Feral could pay their bills and salaries as a Linux only publisher.

Some AAA gaming is fine for you, but it's not enough to convince any halfway serious gamer outside our *nix bubble to switch to Linux.

Valve made their bet on more optimisation, but it was not good enough. Any CS:GO gamer know, higher FPS is better, so part of them could switch to AnyDevilOS, which provides additional 10-20% FPS.
But even Valve not always achievement this goal. Let alone 3rd devs, whose ports to Linux working very badly (often they provide as bad as half FPS from Windows counterpart).
Trump 2 August 2017 at 12:50 pm UTC
I want supergiant games report on this with the latest release of pyre.
lucifertdark 2 August 2017 at 12:59 pm UTC
TrumpI want supergiant games report on this with the latest release of pyre.
That would be an interesting one to see.
Pecisk 2 August 2017 at 1:07 pm UTC
JanSome AAA gaming is fine for you, but it's not enough to convince any halfway serious gamer outside our *nix bubble to switch to Linux.

I think this is why so many Linux geeks get this wrong.

It is not about making someone switch. You won't make anyone switch.

It is about growing Linux desktop with new users/gamers.
razing32 2 August 2017 at 1:11 pm UTC
View PC info
  • Supporter
Numbers seems to support we are still quite small.
I wish we could at least match the MAC population.
Pecisk 2 August 2017 at 1:12 pm UTC
Aresofirst A for big budget, second A for big dev and publisher, and third, it was once, A for quality.
So, AAA games tend to have a lot content, quality models, animations, voice overs, videocuts and so on...

Sure, but then disqualify PC altogether, because best AAA games are on consoles these days. PC market is big, sure, but console market just guarantees that sweet sweet revenue. There's good reason why Arkham Knight was canned for PC altogether.

I think this discussion which rages now for years is basically about "is this enough for Linux desktop to exist and grow?" and we have different opinions where this growth should/can come from. You think Windows gamers suddenly will switch over to Linux for some frame per second or other reason....not really. I never bought that argument.

For me Linux gaming is - does it offer enough entertainment and fun for Linux user NOT to use Windows dual boot or switch to Windows altogether? I would argue it does for many, many users.
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