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The technical director for Electronic Art’s SEED division who works on the engine has stated that it’s capable of running on Linux. While very cool, this isn’t a reason to get your hopes up when it comes to future AAA ports just yet.

The Frostbite game engine has been used a lot in the past few years for powering many of the games created by EA-affiliated developers. Titles like Battlefield 1, Star Wars Battlefront II and various Need for Speed all run on Frostbite.

Johan Andersson, long time developer of the engine and current technical director tweeted this out earlier today:

the Frostbite dedicated servers do run on Linux for MP games, and we've had the client up also but not fully or officially supported

— Johan Andersson (@repi) September 7, 2017

 

This was after tweeting about how the Frostbite engine has about as much code as the Linux kernel.

While it’s exciting to learn that dedicated servers run on Linux, what’s more interesting is that they’ve also done work in getting a client up and running. It’s no secret that DICE, the studio that originally created the engine, and the people who have gone on to develop it since have been positive about wanting to bring their games to Linux for years. Still, a few years ago, Andersson dispelled any notion that it’s likely to happen anytime soon, saying that the Linux market share is too small to support.

We’ve come a long way as a gaming platform in the last few years, but I think that it’s still reasonable for publishers to be skeptical of making the financial commitment necessary to support Linux. Even if the engine already sort of works you need to hire dedicated QAs, allocate resources for platform-specific technical issues and to keep the port functional and up-to-date. Even massively popular and well-used engines like Unity or Unreal have many issues that any Linux user here can likely attest to the sometimes bumpy experience. This also doesn't take into account that EA has its own distribution platform, Origin, which would also need a port and would also incurr QA and technically-related costs to operate.

These aren't insurmountable challenges but it can be part of things that we gamers sometimes overlook when it comes to wanting games on our platform. Big publicly-traded companies like EA are accountable to investors who often wish to maximize profit. This occasionally means they’re a little shy to enter new, untested markets. Valve, being privately owned, had some more leeway in making these decisions when it decided to bring Steam and its game catalogue to Linux.

I’m cautiously optimistic that this is still an overall good sign. The Frostbite engine adopted AMD’s Mantle a few years ago and it wouldn’t surprise me if it adopted its kinda-successor-API Vulkan in the near future. That could further lower the barriers and convince the people who ultimately make these kinds of decisions that investing in Linux is worth the risk. For the meantime, I think it’s important to politely remind publishers and developers from time to time that we’re a receptive and understanding bunch and would be open to any ventures they made in our little market space.

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Pyronick 7 September 2017 at 6:44 pm UTC
Still better than nothing. Having EA onboard would definately help lift Linux popularity
Ehvis 7 September 2017 at 6:58 pm UTC
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I wondering what "not fully" means. Everything but the DirectX stuff would be a lot less impressive than everything but Denuvo support.
TemplateR 7 September 2017 at 7:06 pm UTC
Before the Frostbite-Engine getting a full linux-support, it is better to have a linux-support of EA´s Origin, where the Games with Frostbite-Engine is getting released.
stretch611 7 September 2017 at 7:07 pm UTC
AAA... obviously it does not imply quality whenever it refers to EA.

Years ago, After the launch of C&C 4, the last EA title I bought, I was enrolled into their beta program for the upcoming Red Alert 3. I noticed that it said it required internet access to play and immediately did not like or want that feature. Ultimately, it was something else that caused me to leave the beta program, but I honestly forget what, other than a different bad decision at EA.

Even EA did start supporting linux, I doubt I would ever buy anything from them ever again. I avoid anything for android from them like the plague, and the last time I bought anything from Popcap games was right before EA bought them. After titles like Simcity (the rebooted one with required internet access) and the multiple stories that appear from time to time about how people can't even play single player on older titles after EA turns their servers off, I feel more than justified and happy to avoid EA.

I am more than happy to support smaller indie type developers... you are more likely to get better support and actually new unique games that are different than mass market titles.

It is very sad, because I do remember when EA was just a distributor in the process selling indie games back in the Commodore/Atari era. I loved those games... the original Archon, Pinball Construction Set, M.U.L.E., Populous, and Racing Destruction Set (I might have screwed up that last title, the one where you built the cars and racetracks for a dirt rally road race.)

/end old person rant...
razing32 7 September 2017 at 7:18 pm UTC
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stretch611AAA... obviously it does not imply quality whenever it refers to EA.

Years ago, After the launch of C&C 4, the last EA title I bought, I was enrolled into their beta program for the upcoming Red Alert 3. I noticed that it said it required internet access to play and immediately did not like or want that feature. Ultimately, it was something else that caused me to leave the beta program, but I honestly forget what, other than a different bad decision at EA.

Even EA did start supporting linux, I doubt I would ever buy anything from them ever again. I avoid anything for android from them like the plague, and the last time I bought anything from Popcap games was right before EA bought them. After titles like Simcity (the rebooted one with required internet access) and the multiple stories that appear from time to time about how people can't even play single player on older titles after EA turns their servers off, I feel more than justified and happy to avoid EA.

I am more than happy to support smaller indie type developers... you are more likely to get better support and actually new unique games that are different than mass market titles.

It is very sad, because I do remember when EA was just a distributor in the process selling indie games back in the Commodore/Atari era. I loved those games... the original Archon, Pinball Construction Set, M.U.L.E., Populous, and Racing Destruction Set (I might have screwed up that last title, the one where you built the cars and racetracks for a dirt rally road race.)

/end old person rant...

Slightly younger person and I agree completely.
They butchered Dungeon Keeper with a mobile port. So other people made War for the Overworld which is in essence what EA should have done.
They killed Dead Space with micro transactions for crafting in the 3rd one.
Like you said they killed Sim City so others made City Skylines.Again what EA should have done.
Sims games are now a mess of DLC as far as I can tell.
C&C is dead. I'm more hopeful from mod projects for Open Ra then I am for EA.

I do want bigger publishers putting their games on Linux , but at the same time I cannot ignore what the industry is today. A hodge-podge of anti consumer practices. From pre-order game , to pre-order DLC(season pass) , micro transactions , loot crates etc.

There is a joke that EA is the worst (gaming) company in the US because Ubisoft is in Europe. (and presumably Konami is in Japan)
Kimyrielle 7 September 2017 at 7:22 pm UTC
Ironically enough, they are the one publisher who could just foot the bill of going to Linux and laugh it off. For them, all the investments needed would be the equivalent of breaking the tip jar. The reason they never did was because they don't care.

The feeling is mutual, though.

Really, what was the last EA game that didn't completely suck, or was at least remotely original? I can't even remember, and I have been playing games for a while. EA is what happens if the Borg found a business. They assimilate everything they touch, but everybody having actual talent immediately quits the studios they keep buying, so what's left is a bunch of corporate drones producing boring, unoriginal, soulless yearly updates of the same five games they have been making since the fall of the Roman Empire, because that's all they are able to do.

I haven't bought from them long before I switched to Linux and I can't see me buying from them in the future, even if their stuff ends up running on Linux. *shrug*
kria 7 September 2017 at 7:52 pm UTC
Nice to see them getting interested in linux but will never buy a game from EA again.
Lakorta 7 September 2017 at 8:15 pm UTC
While I also don't like EA (for obvious reasons) if they were to release games with Linux support I may actually (depending on the game of course) buy something from them. It's not like we don't have any bad publishers on Linux from which I bought games anyway.
MintedGamer 7 September 2017 at 8:20 pm UTC
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Sorry but my hopes are up. FIFA on Linux would be a dream come true for me. Yes, I realise this is still very much a pipe dream, but lowering the cost and barriers to porting will make it more financially feasible for companies to consider. At some point it will become profitable and then it would have to be seriously considered.

If Frostbyte engine games were to come to Linux (hypothetically) then it would help massively with the chicken and egg situation of gamers not moving to Linux because their favourite game is Windows only, and Devs not supporting Linux because the customers aren't there. Plus if EA made the first move and got publicity for supporting Linux (and maybe Mac) Ubi, Activision and Blizzard would also have to take note.

EA would earn huge kudos from me if they ported any of their games to Linux. It also provides an escape route for them, like Valve, if (probably when) Microsoft lock down Windows purchases to the Store.


Last edited by MintedGamer at 7 September 2017 at 8:23 pm UTC
scaine 7 September 2017 at 8:36 pm UTC
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I would buy EA and Ubisoft titles in a heartbeat if it weren't for Origin and uPlay. Even if EA launch origin tomorrow and bring us their Frostbite games... I don't know. I'd be torn. Torn between sticking them the finger and supporting my beloved Linux platform.

I'd love to say I wouldn't buy and I'd just hope that others did. But that kind of mentality landed us Brexit and Trump, so maybe I'd bite my tongue and buy at least one title. Maybe.

(For the avoidance of doubt, I did vote, not for Brexit and if I could have voted for Hilary, I would have. Just, you know, clearing that up.)
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