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Are we seeing the end of the most recent "golden age" of Linux gaming?
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denyasis 15 Sep

Quoting: ageres1% still means millions dollars. I'm sure Proton is profitable for Valve right now. What are their expenses, salaries for few guys working on DXVK and Proton?

Oh, I agree with you and I too assume the revenue brought in is enough to cover costs for current Linux development. My worry is what would Valve do when the revenue drops or becomes unprofitable? 1% is still margin of error sized for companies, no matter how many millions it may represent.

I guess on the positive side, if their cost to maintain it is small, it's easier to argue against cutting Linux development ("It's less than 1% of spending, boss").

I would assume in general the possibility of contraction of the gaming industry as a whole as a reflection of the global economy. I guess it's a matter of whether companies like Valve and others seeing value in continued investment.

ageres 16 Sep

Quoting: denyasisMy worry is what would Valve do when the revenue drops or becomes unprofitable?
When? Why do you think it's going to drop?
Quoting: denyasis1% is still margin of error sized for companies, no matter how many millions it may represent.
Just no. Money is money, and every big company has become big because it has been struggling for every +1%.
For example, imagine if Steam user base doubles but somehow Linux gamers user base remains the same. That means, it's 0.5%, twice as insignificant, but still bring the same money as before.

denyasis 16 Sep

I think I am more pessimistic given the current economic situation in the world. Given that gaming for most of us is a luxury, I wonder if the industry as a whole would see a shrinkage in spending, and look to cut costs and focus on largest gains. Hypothetically, i worry that or segment might not be profitable enough and would get cut.


I think in general, I am just more cynical about Valve's motivations with Linux. It's not a huge loss to cut us and focus on more prifatble areas. On the other hand, they have contributed greatly, so even if they do abandon it, we still have all the improvements they've made and I'm very happy for that and prolly shouldn't complain.

Arehandoro 17 Sep

Came a bit late to the party.

I'm confident that we're only seeing the tip of the iceberg, in the most positive way possible -with some worrying outcomes too-.

This year, we've seen Lenovo starting selling some flagship devices with Linux, System 76 and Purism doing well and expanding their products, with the latter, together with Pine, releasing a Linux based phone, Microsoft being Microsoft at heart, but at the same time putting efforts on WSL2, now commiting changes to the kernel to propose a new virtualization stack with Hyper-V, Stadia working from Debian servers, and let's not forget Valve with Proton, Gamescope, DXVK plus all the community projects I might be forgetting. This, if things go well, will eventually show in our share and numbers. One step at a time.

Overall, the state of Linux is fantastic, and when seeing the bigger picture I think we should have enough hope to see even better results in the future. Sure, the road won't be empty of bumps and a lot of the above mentioned does not directly relate or help us as gaming Linux users -Stadia- or dubious practices might tamper with our hopes in the future -Microsoft- as community as a whole.

Talking about the gaming industry in particular, I think the market is adjusting slowly to current COVID situation, general economic issues pre-covid and imminent market saturation. Not ideal, but not an issue only for us Linuxers.

I see Proton not as a revenue stream for Valve, but as a method of removing competitive disadvantage.
In short, Gabe wants Steam to be effectively independent of Windows and not reliant on Microsoft technology. The easiest way to do that is have an open layer that translates everything Windows can do. Valve doesn't need to make money out of that, because the value is inherent.
This is in much the same way as Apple (yes, really) rescued the internet by open-sourcing WebKit. They made $0 in doing so, but ensured that no-one could ever 'own' the web.
It's no coincidence that Gabe has been begging Tim Cook to take gaming seriously on MacOS

Meanwhile, I'm paying close attention to Big Navi, and the extent to which RDNA2 being on both new consoles will affect PC gaming. 2021 (assuming the world doesn't literally burn) is going to be a fascinating year for games.

tuubi 18 Sep

Quoting: undeadbydawnThis is in much the same way as Apple (yes, really) rescued the internet by open-sourcing WebKit. They made $0 in doing so, but ensured that no-one could ever 'own' the web.
You mean the WebKit they first forked from KDE's open-source KHTML engine? That's fine of course, and permitted by the license.

But who did they "rescue" the internet from? IE still dominated, but we already had several free and open source web engines and Mozilla's Firefox was steadily gaining market share.

DebianUser 18 Sep

Quoting: undeadbydawnI see Proton not as a revenue stream for Valve, but as a method of removing competitive disadvantage.
In short, Gabe wants Steam to be effectively independent of Windows and not reliant on Microsoft technology. The easiest way to do that is have an open layer that translates everything Windows can do. Valve doesn't need to make money out of that, because the value is inherent.
This is in much the same way as Apple (yes, really) rescued the internet by open-sourcing WebKit. They made $0 in doing so, but ensured that no-one could ever 'own' the web.
It's no coincidence that Gabe has been begging Tim Cook to take gaming seriously on MacOS

Meanwhile, I'm paying close attention to Big Navi, and the extent to which RDNA2 being on both new consoles will affect PC gaming. 2021 (assuming the world doesn't literally burn) is going to be a fascinating year for games.

Exactly.

Another relevant thing (or not), is concerning the state driven chinese OS based on Linux (Deepin/UOS).
If this OS became really massively used in China (it will take some years if it happens), Linux-ready stores may dominate the game.
The commercial war with US may (must?) have a huge impact on leveraging the adoption of this OS country wide.
And China is a very big juicy market.

Pure speculation here, but definitely possible IMHO. Wait&See...

Last edited by DebianUser on 18 September 2020 at 2:07 pm UTC

vv221 19 Sep

Quoting: DebianUserHave only Linux without Steam is really hard if you want a decent game list.
The several thousands DRM-free games that run on my Debian Sid would disagree with this statement

Quoting: DebianUser
Quoting: PublicNuisance
Quoting: tuubi
Quoting: damarrin
Quoting: tuubi
Quoting: damarrinMarketing clout is Linux’s single weakest point.
Worth it though, if the alternative is being less open and collaborative.

I disagree, Linux totally needs to grow its market share to be trully viable as a PC OS, I'd say 10% should be enough, and it needs marketing for that.
No amount of market share is worth losing what makes Linux better than the competition. And I really mean that it's already a better PC OS than Windows or Mac OS. But I guess we all have our own criteria.

In some ways one could argue Linux has already suffered for what little mass appeal it has. What is the most popular gaming store on Linux ? Steam which is closed source. What are the most popular engines used in Linux games ? Unity and UE4 which are closed source. What is the most poplular GPU ? Nvidia with closed source drivers. Not to mention that hardware is coming with more and more closed source microcode and blobs attached even if there are open source drivers. People either eagerly gave up FOSS principles, if they had any, to get our sweet games or in some cases didn't even know what we were giving up in the first place. I agree we all have our own criteria so for many i'll just be the old man raging about the good old days or something like that.

Today, if you want Linux *and* gaming, you can:
- have a dual boot with a closed source OS, and closed source games downloaded via a closed source store (max game list)
- have only Linux, and closed source games downloaded via a closed source store (medium game list)
- have only Linux and FOSS games (minimal game list)

I prefer FOSS, but having a dual boot, and buying Windows only games does not promote Linux as well.
Have only Linux without Steam is really hard if you want a decent game list.
So i take the 2nd option.

I am in agreement with you about what our options are in regards to Linux gaming, I just don't like the options. I have also chosen option 2 myself. I'm trying to migrate over to more of option 3 than 2 but it will be a slow migration and still not be a total conversion as I still enjoy many closed source games. I'll continue to buy what Linux games I can from Itch.io/Game Jolt/GOG etc in order to support DRM free and/or open source clients/stores. I'll continue to donate to FLOSS distros; and open source games/engines. I have no illusion that my steps are largely not going to have any impact but maybe things will get better over time.

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