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Paradox Interactive
Supay commented on 13 February 2018 at 10:14 am UTC
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I've been listening to the Paradox Podcast, by two employees at Paradox Interactive, who discuss the business aspects behind the game industry. It's a really interesting listen and I recommend it.

I've asked them for a future discussion on Linux gaming and ended up having a chat with one of them about it in general. Paradox have been a strong supporter of Linux both for their own developed games and those they publish. But apparently they are seeing a steady decline in Linux user numbers. They get live data from players, so it's not an issue with the Steam sale info. Linux users are now below 1% and falling for them. They didn't say that they would stop Linux support, but they did say that it costs them to maintain it and that the community either needs to grow and result in better returns or it may not be viable.

I am a strict Linux purchaser and won't buy anything which lacks support, even if it runs in WINE. If Paradox dropped Linux it would be a major blow to me as I have all of their games which run on Linux and a considerable number of hours in each. It's worrying to hear that a company which has so strongly supported us is suffering such low take-up of their games, and yet they continue to develop for Linux even so. They have a bunch of new releases due including Battletech and Surviving Mars, both Linux supported, and they are announcing more titles in May at PDX-Con. I'm hoping that includes a Linux supporting Victoria III.

So, listen to the podcast anyway as it is good. And there may be a Linux discussion coming on it. And if you like Paradox games and have been thinking of getting any, then it might be worth buying them,or letting them know that you intend to, or simply that you appreciate their work, or even just whether there's anything stopping you buying their games, so that they can respond or address it. It would be a sad day if they stopped as they are growing fast and could represent an even more substantial market for us in the future.

liamdawe commented on 13 February 2018 at 3:28 pm UTC

Hey, thanks for the info. It is worrying if they're seeing a fall.

Do you have a public source where they said this that I can see?

Supay commented on 13 February 2018 at 5:58 pm UTC
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I do indeed. It was a public chat on Twitter after I tweeted them. Here's the link.

Check out @JDtheHutt’s Tweet: link

The specific comment was:

"I can try to comment in a future episode. Sadly Linux is less than a percent of the sales and keeps dwindling. SteamOS didn't turn out to be what we all hoped. The Linux community needs to grow or spend more to stay viable."

liamdawe commented on 13 February 2018 at 7:39 pm UTC

Damn that's a shame, might make a post to highlight it.

Supay commented on 13 February 2018 at 9:23 pm UTC
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The podcast is a really interesting and open discussion into how the industry works and why they have made the decisions they have. They also talk about titles they either wanted to acquire or had pitched to them but turned down. They mostly seemed to be Linux supported too. Included Kerbal Space Programme, Don't Starve, Rocket League and others.

razing32 commented on 14 February 2018 at 11:23 am UTC

Damn. I really loved HoI 4 and it hurts to see such a statement.

liamdawe commented on 14 February 2018 at 5:04 pm UTC

Well, let's just remember this is only the opinion (that we've seen) of one person so far. Also, before diving into the below, to be clear I'm a big fan of them

After chatting with Samsai he did make a good point. Most of their games are a niche, so they don't actually sell like hot cakes anyway. Now you have to add in the fact that their niche games are selling to Linux (another niche).

Look at Crusader Kings II that released in 2012 with 1.6 million owners on Steam.
Europa Universalis IV released in 2013 with 1.4 million owners on Steam.
Now look at Stellaris that released in 2016 and it has 1.5 million owners on Steam.

They might look like big numbers, but then Stardew Valley has 3.5 million owners since release, even Oxygen Not Included that's in Early Access is catching up to their sales numbers at over 600K sales and it's not even fully released.

Rough numbers, but it's worth keeping in mind that they can't expect to find a huge audience with a niche set of games on a niche platform.

I'm sure they know this and I'm sure they won't suddenly make a rash decision like pulling Linux support away.

If you look at the wording that particular person used, they were talking percentages too. So, we actually have no idea if they're just looking at a percentage going down a bit, say more people buying on Windows over time, pushing the Linux % down, or if the actual numbers of Linux users buying their games is declining. They're two very different things.

Supay commented on 14 February 2018 at 5:11 pm UTC
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He is the Head of their Acquisition and Business Development department though, so he would be the one who knows what the figures really are and whether they are worth it. I did ask whether it was just Steam purchase data, which is often skewed by people swapping platforms, but he clarified that they have access to other data to show user activity. Their games do have startup launchers and a lot of online integration so I assume they get a lot of data chatter in the background about the OS being used.

You're right on the percentage query. That would be a good followup question. I'll see if I can find out more, unless you're already doing that?

Shmerl commented on 16 February 2018 at 3:49 am UTC

Would be interesting to see percentages of Linux users for other niche but at the same time rather high profile games like Pillars of Eternity or Tyranny which were developed by Obsidian, but published by Paradox.

bintsmok commented on 16 February 2018 at 7:00 am UTC

The flaw of most statistical data about Linux sales and Linux market share is they do not reflect the Windows + Linux dual booters. Most probably, they count them as "Windows" users.

The Steam OS market share should be presented like this.

Windows only
Windows + Linux dual boot
Windows + macOS dual boot
Linux only
macOS only

Once the data on Windows + Linux dual booters are available, there should be a follow up survey on why they dual boot. Possible reasons are:

1. They do majority of their gaming on Linux but they use Windows for certain games such as PUBG, Overwatch, or Battlefield 1.

2. They play only on Linux but they boot to Windows for AutoCAD or Photoshop.

3. They are benchmark enthusiasts and they like doing Windows vs Linux game performance comparisons

MaCroX95 commented on 16 February 2018 at 11:27 am UTC

I'm not surprised by the statement at all honestly, I myself was suspecting that Linux gaming marketshare is dropping due to Feral releasing fewer and fewer games year by year. It is a shame but there's not much we can do, we would need Valve and third party developers take some action because Windows is snowballing very fast.

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