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Are we seeing the end of the most recent "golden age" of Linux gaming?
Mountain Man commented on 16 September 2019 at 6:57 pm UTC

I think Linux gaming has run into the same roadblock that Linux in general has always faced: there's no single business entity with deep pockets to market Linux and push it into the public consciousness. I was hoping Valve would take up that challenge, but they really haven't. Most people don't even know there's a free alternative to Windows and OSX, or they still think Linux is some archaic text-based operating system. The other problem is that even people who are aware of and familiar with Linux see no compelling reason to leave Windows for Linux.

I have a bad feeling that Linux will never be more than a niche operating system on the home desktop.

dvd commented on 16 September 2019 at 9:41 pm UTC

Mountain ManI think Linux gaming has run into the same roadblock that Linux in general has always faced: there's no single business entity with deep pockets to market Linux and push it into the public consciousness. I was hoping Valve would take up that challenge, but they really haven't. Most people don't even know there's a free alternative to Windows and OSX, or they still think Linux is some archaic text-based operating system. The other problem is that even people who are aware of and familiar with Linux see no compelling reason to leave Windows for Linux.

I have a bad feeling that Linux will never be more than a niche operating system on the home desktop.

Millions are using it, it is in no way a niche. The commercial crap has millions and billions of dollars in advertising and unfair government policies to coax pepople into it. Linux only has the occasional 'weirdo' that, if lucky, shows/endorses it to his/her surroundings.

Mountain Man commented on 17 September 2019 at 12:12 am UTC

dvdMillions are using it, it is in no way a niche. The commercial crap has millions and billions of dollars in advertising and unfair government policies to coax pepople into it. Linux only has the occasional 'weirdo' that, if lucky, shows/endorses it to his/her surroundings.
On the desktop, Windows has around 80% of the market. OSX has about 15%. Linux has around 1.5% which is barely ahead of ChromeOS at 1%. That's niche, like it or not (and I don't like it, but what can we do?).

GustyGhost commented on 17 September 2019 at 1:27 am UTC

The simple truth is that making the choice to use free OSes requires one to have a level of knowledge beyond "that's what it came with, so I'll use it". It also requires effort beyond unboxing a shiny new gadget. And if that's the way it is, then it is just nature running it's course.

dvd commented on 17 September 2019 at 6:57 am UTC

Mountain ManI think Linux gaming has run into the same roadblock that Linux in general has always faced: there's no single business entity with deep pockets to market Linux and push it into the public consciousness. I was hoping Valve would take up that challenge, but they really haven't. Most people don't even know there's a free alternative to Windows and OSX, or they still think Linux is some archaic text-based operating system. The other problem is that even people who are aware of and familiar with Linux see no compelling reason to leave Windows for Linux.

I have a bad feeling that Linux will never be more than a niche operating system on the home desktop.

Well you can't beat millions of dollars in marketing and lobbying that shaped the stupid copyright and software patent laws in the US (and also worldwide) and keep a stranglehold on education so the masses are almost certainly educated with windows as 'the computer', or the third party software like adobe reader that act as a platform lock if you need to interact with some government agencies.

Also, spreading the GNU operating won't spread like windows, you need the activists and an active community to do so.

I also think you have a very negative view about people. 'Linux' in general needs no more knowledge than windows, heck, it requires less. For example, ubuntu/debina/your favourite distro here can partition a hard disk fine. Windows 10 can't. I needed to use a gparted live image just to partition a drive into efi mode so the 'easy' OS could install itself. It also has built-in ads that a handful of people i talked to despise. They only need to keep windows around because of adobe reader's platform lock. (it's required for some EU papers, and government endorced signing authorities) And they are no 'computer wizards'.
There are also constant problems that have been hallmarks of windows: it's slow even though they did almost nothing with it, this or that driver doesn't work, etc...

sub commented on 17 September 2019 at 7:52 am UTC

That's interesting, Liam.
Thanks for doing this!

Liam DaweThere'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

sub commented on 17 September 2019 at 7:56 am UTC

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

Actually, it's quite simple. Really.

Unless you have a realistic underlying model, don't fit "something".

It's actually not even needed for the given data to grasp.

Thanks again for collecting the data.

Can you somehow automatize that stuff, so that in future you/we can
track that data without much further work?

Edit:

Also, could you please (additionally) do this plot by normalizing to the total number of games released in the particular month?

This would give us the fraction of Linux games released per month.
I guess it is a reasonable assumption that the total number of released
games on Steam is still on a rising trend?

on_en_a_gros commented on 17 September 2019 at 10:29 am UTC

dvd'Linux' in general needs no more knowledge than windows, heck, it requires less.

This is true only for IT enthusiast. Many users (even in the gaming world) don't really know what a live image is or why you need to partition your hard drive. With windows, you buy a computer ready to run, if it slows down or don't boot anymore you can pay someone to fix it or you just buy another one.

Mountain Man commented on 17 September 2019 at 10:57 am UTC

dvd'Linux' in general needs no more knowledge than windows...
Assuming it is already installed and properly configured, this is arguably true. However, the average user does not have the skill set to download, install, and configure Linux whereas using Windows or OSX is as easy as buying a new computer and turning it on.

theghost commented on 17 September 2019 at 11:32 am UTC

The Linux experience improved much in the recent decade. Although the user friendliness is not perfect yet, we see efforts from so many participants (Ubuntu, Red Hat, Mint Team, Manjaro Team, Valve, Endless, System76) which is the difference to the years before, where most engineering happened on the subsystems in the kernel.
Even though native gaming declined a bit (basically because of PROTON), Linux has a brighter future than ever.

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