At the same time, Linux users have proven that they are willing to pay for less than AAA titles in Linux, and are more eager to do so than Windows and Mac OS X users. Humble Bundle proves this. If a group like Humble Bundle is able to monetize Indie titles on Linux better than they are able to only other platforms, what does that reveal about the potential of Linux as a gaming platform. Moreover, Humble Bundle gives Steam keys out for each of their bundles as well. What better way to give new users a head start and get them used to the platform?
Tunnel Vision And id’s Sore Perspective
Carmack fails to see the difference between 20 years of id’s intellectual property failing on Linux, and Steam for Linux. The difference being very simple. Id has brought individual titles to Linux for years. These titles have all stood alone. It is very simple for consumers to avoid the prospect of Linux as a gaming platform if there are only id games to choose from. They had certainly hoped to inspire other developers to jump on the bandwagon and make Linux gaming a reality, and they did inspire a few. But it was never enough.
At the same time, they were delivering games to a platform that was fragmented and broken on the desktop. It still is mind you, but in a different way. A quick trip down memory lane will remind you of a time when you could go to Best Buy and pick up a copy of Red-Hat, Mandrake or SuSe for $50 to $100. All of which were RPM-based distributions that did pretty much the same thing, but had enough nuance to them to differ the experience. In short, in completely sucked.
As time went one and Linux distributions became easier to create and manage, the situation got completely out of hand in regards to variations by the mid-2000s. Imagine for a moment if you will, an alternate universe where Android is the same way. Sure, it is fragmented right now with Sense and Touchwiz, and carrier modifications. But at least users don’t have to suffer the nuances of different package managers, or the lack-there-of. Underneath the differing candy shells, there is still the Play store and a degree a familiarity overall.
Do you think that Android would even be relevant if it suffered from the same in-fighting and political upheaval that occurs within the Linux community everyday? What if Android devices from LG had a completely separate installation process for software than a Samsung device? Would that be a viable gaming platform?
If you are EA or Ubisoft, how can you invest your capitol into Linux as a platform for gaming if the only metrics you have for measuring a successful return is the unmeasurable, perceptual failure of id over two decades.
Steam Is Different
Steam for Linux offers up an entirely different prospect all together. They are bringing a content delivery platform and a library of games to an immensely popular Linux distribution. It is important to add here that not only is Ubuntu immensely popular the world over, it is also immensely popular on the Desktop.
So what do you think will happen when you have games that people want to play delivered on an operating system that people actually want, and are excited about using. You have a winner.
id has been on-board with Linux for years. It would be foolish to give up on the platform now when it is finally picking up Steam. No pun intended.