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Are we seeing the end of the most recent "golden age" of Linux gaming?
GustyGhost commented on 15 September 2019 at 5:12 am UTC

In my observation, it seems that commercial gaming on Linux had tremendous traction 2015~2017, trailing Valve's efforts. Of course, I do not have any hard numbers to support it although I have little confidence in claiming that the scene hasn't lost any momentum. Do you think the market has simply plateaued?

lucinos commented on 15 September 2019 at 7:56 am UTC

My view about linux momentum.

Technology-wise things are just getting better and better for linux. Linux is now to the point that even many windows games have better performance on linux than on windows. But about the publishers my observation is that linux gaming had exponential growth in 2013-2015. But exponential gave place to linear since 2015. This is still plenty of games, it is not a matter of quantity and quality is also good (average linux quality is a lot better than average windows quality), the really bad thing is that since 2015 we have zero pleasant surprises. And since 2018 things got worse as we have some bad surprises.

I had run the numbers and they show
exponential growth 2013-2015
linear growth 2015-

growth quantitatively has not slowed down but linear growth means it is slowing down in percentages.

the surprising factor is more important for me, we need good surprises, and hopefully no more bad ones.

Liam Dawe commented on 15 September 2019 at 10:28 am UTC

There's always going to be ups and downs, we've been through quite a few over the years. I'm currently working on scraping Steam to put together releases by month and yeah to see how big a difference there actually is. Will likely add it as a chart on our dedicated Steam page.

There's a few caveats in doing so though, the main one being accounting for late porting. It's basically impossible unless you know the normal release date and Linux release date for every game on Steam. It's not super common though, so it won't throw the numbers off too far, we're talking likely 1-2 a month (and not every month). I'm also being careful not to include games without a price (not released) but haven't yet account for pre-orders with a price.
Additionally, Valve have measures in place to rate limit so doing it automatically takes a while.

Here's what I have atm. Not verified fully, treat as a test run but I checked over and manually counted multiple dates myself and they seem to correctly match:
image

Even with the info there's a few things you need to take into account
- September is not included as it's not fair to show as it's only half way through
- Games going exclusive to Epic
- Developers going bust (quite a few!)
- Developers working on short games and then longer games, so releasing less sometimes
- Developers releasing a big game, then treating it as a live service (constantly updated) and not working on others for a long time
- SteamOS was announced in 2013, with SteamOS/Steam Machines releases in 2015 so we're finally really now starting to see the tail end effect of it fizzling out
- Considering Valve's numbers put us below 1%, the amount we get is pretty huge for such a niche even if it's not AAA

Shmerl commented on 15 September 2019 at 6:04 pm UTC

The downward trend could be market balancing the number of games to the current level of demand. Paradox said something about that I think, as the reason their sales were going down, while the total number of Linux users actually is growing. I.e. the number of releases was getting too big to be sustainable. Where it will balance out, would be interesting to see.

Liam Dawe commented on 15 September 2019 at 6:13 pm UTC

Can't use GOG due to their heavy curation and very often long delayed releases. Doesn't really work well.

Shmerl commented on 15 September 2019 at 6:14 pm UTC

Still would be interesting to see what their trends are. There is little visibility, without analyzing the data over time.

lucinos commented on 16 September 2019 at 3:49 am UTC

Liam DaweHere's what I have atm. Not verified fully, treat as a test run but I checked over and manually counted multiple dates myself and they seem to correctly match:
image

I am giving a like because you collect the data way more systematically than me You can also give a nice graph!

But polynomial??? This is Heresy! Technical analysis only uses straight lines. You use a bunch of them, you may even get them in random, you can also change the scale (often logarithmic for catching exponential growth) but always straight lines.

Liam Dawe commented on 16 September 2019 at 7:07 am UTC

Heh sorry, I tried reading up on the best one to use and got tons of conflicting information. No one seems to agree...

chancho_zombie commented on 16 September 2019 at 7:58 am UTC

are you counting officially valve supported steam play games? are those 2018 spikes steam play games??

Liam Dawe commented on 16 September 2019 at 8:46 am UTC

chancho_zombieare you counting officially valve supported steam play games? are those 2018 spikes steam play games??
No, this is Linux native only in that chart.

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