Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




Is there a market for video games for Linux


Do you think Linux'er are willing to pay $15 for a high quality shareware game when they got their
OSes for next to $0 and a lot of software is available for free (Open Source Stuffs)

FairLight
Sunday, November 09, 2003

Some will, most want to just get it for free.

Li-fan Chen
Sunday, November 09, 2003

IF you figure how to get more people to pay, due to a smart licensing (and enforcement) scheme, more will pay than they will admit if the game is great.

Li-fan Chen
Sunday, November 09, 2003

Linux is kind of in a "no chicken -no egg" place with regards to games.
I bet alot of the gaming kids would love to be leet linux users, but since very few hot tiles are released for linux they stick with windows.

All in all, it depends on the game. If its "Fun For All Ages" linux might not be your platform of choice. An RTS game might do well though.

Eric DeBois
Sunday, November 09, 2003

The answer is in the market already and it is: "No." Game development requires a lot of expertise and open source dreamers just don't have it. This lack is much more obvious in games than, say, a word processor.

There is stacks of source available for 3D games, and yet no best seller or really good or even vaguely good open source games.

They're probably never will be either, because top developers, along with the necessary artists, are simply not stupid enough to go work for a wage for IBM, say. (That is, the difference between working for a company that likes to make games, and one where the salesmen make the money.)

JM
Sunday, November 09, 2003

There probably never will be ....

JM
Sunday, November 09, 2003

I would love to say there is a huge market, but there isn't a huge market. To be honest the biggest market seems to be porting exist games...e.g. halflife/counterstrike.

fw
Sunday, November 09, 2003

If you are developing a game, you target Windows as your #1 platform, or possibly Playstation 2.

IF and *only if* the game is a mega, and I do mean *mega* hit, then you think about the ROI for porting to Linux, Mac and Nintendo.

You certainly don't go targetting anything other than playstation/windows for your primary release, assuming it's a cuting edge game and not yet another Solitare/mahjong/platform jumper.

anon
Sunday, November 09, 2003

One of the problems with cutting edge games on Linux is that the 3d drivers suck.  The other problem is that anyone that wants to play games on a PC already has Windows.

So the focus has been on running existing Windows games, usually through emulation.

http://www.transgaming.com/

That's basically a Wine version that they get to work with specific games one at a time, implementing features as needed.

Alex Pavloff
Monday, November 10, 2003

Linux users do not object to paying money for quality software. Their problem is that nothing out there is worth spending money on :-)

The $15 shareware example will be very successful if it meets all of the following conditions:

1. Requires *absolutely no* research or effort to install
2. Recognises all installed drivers including sound, 3d, video and input devices
3. Offers compelling gameplay beyond that available for free
4. Has modest system requirements

Creating software that meets these conditions on Linux is hard. Contrary to most popular reports, I think the Loki business model was sound. Their problem was that they were trying to create a market for Linux games and the infrastructure wasn't there -- gamers had to tweak their systems to get the games to run, 3d drivers were flaky, almost everyone with the necessary hardware already gamed under Windows, etc. Loki would have been successful if they could have held on for a couple of years. Unfortunately, they ran out of money.

Maybe a Loki clone will have another go; the venture would have to be privately funded, though, as I don't think a VC would touch it.

Paul Sharples
Monday, November 10, 2003

Making (serious) money on shareware games is next to impossible on Windows, what would lead you to believe that the smaller Linux market will be profitable?

Games Development, as a sector, makes a loss.

Mr Jack
Monday, November 10, 2003

Didn't Quake run on Linux?

There is no sense at all in writing games for Linux first  (as opposed to writing apps for Linux first).

The market is smaller, so what you do is write it for Windows (or the playstation) first, and then if it really takes off. look to see if there is sufficient money to be made from a Linux port.

I don;t think the fact that much Linux software is free has anything to do with the willingness to spend money on games. Linux freaks don't get so hooked to having things free that they sell the car and roller skate down to the local soup kitchen for lunch.

Stephen Jones
Monday, November 10, 2003

id Software (the maker of Quake) has tried a few ports of their games to Linux in the past but Carmack at one point declared Linux unprofitable from a gaming standpoint.  He pretty much stated that any future ports to Linux would be out of good will only.  If id can't make money selling games on Linux, you probably won't either.

SomeBody
Monday, November 10, 2003

> Linux freaks don't get so hooked on having things free ...

Really?

JM
Monday, November 10, 2003

3D drivers are fine on Linux.  Both nVidia and ATI provide closed source 3D drivers (known as direct rendering).  I don't know about other manufacturers, but these being the most popular - who cares?

I can run Quake 3 and Return to Wolf. games on my Linux laptop, and they run every bit as fast as on a comparable windows box.  Quake 2 and 1 source codes are available, but truth be known, I no longer spend time playing computer games.  I've wasted a lifetime's worth of hours on them in prior years.  There are more interesting and rewarding ventures in life.

hoser
Monday, November 10, 2003

Some ppl will refuse to use the closed source drivers, not because they don't want to pay though but because they believe it goes against the OS principle.

By the way, lokigames did Linux games for quite a while, but they are now closed down.


Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Hoser, I'm guessing that you're a power user. I'd say that others with your abilities and interests would not consitute a large enough market in which to sell Linux games.

As a favour, could you relate just what you had to do to get those iD games running on your laptop (from the standard distro install)? I'd expect the steps you describe to be skim-read by a Linux power user, or studied by a Windows-cum-switcher power user whilst a mainstream Windows gamer would simply defer their consideration to switch until 2 years time. Could your Linux games company live that long?

Paul Sharples
Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Personally linux users know quality and people will pay for it. The only issue would be with the GPL i believe that linux users would probably want the source if they were to pay for any product, linux and money although feasible has been a touchy subject.

Kwame Bryan
Tuesday, November 11, 2003

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home