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Why Gaming Sucks On Linux

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Gaming

Despite last week's article about running World of Warcraft on Linux with CodeWeavers' CrossOver, I can't help but feel a sense of despair when I think of gaming under Linux. It seems that over the last few years, with a few exceptions, things have gotten worse rather than better. Frankly, I've had it with gaming under Linux. It's not worth the time or the effort.

The Tragedy of Loki

You might remember that a while back a company named Loki Games tried to make a business out of porting Windows games to Linux. Loki had an ambitious idea and did deliver some good games for Linux. But could it pull it off? Could Loki show that there was a real market for games under Linux?

Well Loki sure did have some significant achievements.

As you can see, Loki offered a good selection of games (yes the games listed are old, but Loki has been out of business since early in 2002, so it's understandable that its product list is dated). And some of those games—back in their day—were considered top of the line and were wanted by lots of Linux gamers.

Alas, Loki was never able to make the numbers work and ultimately went out of business as a result. For Linux gamers, the death of Loki was a true tragedy. After that, who would want to ever bother making Linux versions of the latest and greatest games? As it turned out . . . nobody. And nobody will probably bother again . . . ever.

Full Story.

Gaming?

Is gaming really that important? With all the game systems available why do we really care if Linux can run MS games? Heck, I'm not sure I'll live long enough to get to know everything that Linux already does, what do I care about games.

Re: Gaming?

It doesn't sound like you understand the situation.

From what I gather, the lack of gaming abilities is one of the main reasons why most home users won't switch to Linux.

Actually, its more to the fact that most people and organisations won't switch to Linux simply because of Windows Application Compatibility.

They like the flexibility, the low cost of acquiring and the near non-existant malware in Linux, but if it doesn't run the apps they need, they won't adopt another OS. (And willing to continue the burden that is Windows).

Sure, Wine and such exist, but they're a mess that is more analogous to flipping a coin. You won't know if you're Windows apps work until you try it. (That's the harsh reality of it).

And that's not good enough...Most people don't use computers like most Linux users do. They don't want to screw around, and want things hand fed to them. (Its an unfortunate side effect of using Windows for too long. The result is often clueless PC users who plunge into panic when something goes wrong.)

If you can come up with a secure, Windows Application Layer that is easy to work with and works seamlessly with any current Windows app, I guarantee the large majority of Windows users will jump ship very quickly. (Make sure this layer is open-source!)

Windows users still hang on to Windows, not because they like to, its because they have to! Give them a true alternative, and watch the tide turn on Microsoft. (If you talk to gamers, they'll only adopt Vista because they're really cornered into adopting DirectX 10...While others have given up and are planning on getting a game console.)

There are many issues that Linux has to overcome to be adopted by a larger crowd. Some believe in adopting proprietary standards to gain the necessary marketshare to be able to influence companies to take notice of Linux, while others prefer the "free and open" way.

The way I see it, one should view Wine, CrossOver, Cedega or even a new Windows Application Compatibility layer, as interim (short-term) solutions. The long term goal should be to provide an alternative to commercial solutions such that open and closed can compete on a level playing field. (Is everyone tired of hearing the words "Anti-trust case" and "Microsoft" yet?) Smile

Currently, its not level. Its very largely Windows dominant with some companies starting to notice open-source. (as in start to support Linux, but not introduce open versions of their solutions). Most will sit back and let someone else pioneer the way. If they see mega profits to be made, they'll join in without too much thought. Its a simple fact, they'll go where the money is big.

What it boils down to is, Linux's current issues and slow adoption is because of a few things. Developing a solid "Windows Application Compatibility" layer will address a major one...It is what I believe, the necessary catalyst, that will start a domino effect on a Windows dominated world.

Gaming?

stmok wrote:
It doesn't sound like you understand the situation.

From what I gather, the lack of gaming abilities is one of the main reasons why most home users won't switch to Linux.

Actually, its more to the fact that most people and organisations won't switch to Linux simply because of Windows Application Compatibility.


I do understand the situation and I agree that there are several reasons that Linux isn't being adopted by more people. However, this article wasn't about those other reasons and I merely stated my personal feelings about the true unimportance of games on a PC when there are so many dedicated gaming platforms available today.
stmok wrote:

They like the flexibility, the low cost of acquiring and the near non-existant malware in Linux, but if it doesn't run the apps they need, they won't adopt another OS. (And willing to continue the burden that is Windows).

Therein lies the single biggest problem with the Linux community in general, the underlying socialist ideal of something for nothing. Loki failed because too many Linux users expect to get everything handed to them for free. This model works well in the market of ideas and ideals, but not so well in the real world market where programmers like to live in big houses and drive fast cars. The community needs to stop equating the profit motive with evil and realize that without the incentives of monetary rewards Linux will always remain a hobbiests OS maintained by fellow hobbiests working at real jobs somewhere else to earn a living.
stmok wrote:

Most people don't use computers like most Linux users do. They don't want to screw around, and want things hand fed to them. (Its an unfortunate side effect of using Windows for too long. The result is often clueless PC users who plunge into panic when something goes wrong.)

Which is exactly why they should continue to use Windows until it becomes so painful that they decide it's worth their investment in time to learn something new. It's wrong to blame Linux for not being more like Windows, if it becomes like Windows we won't want to use it. It's precisely because it is not like Windows that it is a secure, stable computing environment.
stmok wrote:

Windows users still hang on to Windows, not because they like to, its because they have to! Give them a true alternative, and watch the tide turn on Microsoft. (If you talk to gamers, they'll only adopt Vista because they're really cornered into adopting DirectX 10...While others have given up and are planning on getting a game console.)

No, they hang on to Windows because that's all they know. Windows came preinstalled on their box and as far as they're concerned there is nothing else.
stmok wrote:

There are many issues that Linux has to overcome to be adopted by a larger crowd. Some believe in adopting proprietary standards to gain the necessary marketshare to be able to influence companies to take notice of Linux, while others prefer the "free and open" way.

I for one prefer the "free and open" way, but free as in free speech not free lunch. Too many in our community see free as meaning free lunch and there "ain't no such thing as a free lunch." Smile
stmok wrote:

The long term goal should be to provide an alternative to commercial solutions such that open and closed can compete on a level playing field. (Is everyone tired of hearing the words "Anti-trust case" and "Microsoft" yet?) Smile

Won't happen. There simply is no viable alternative to the commercial market. Linux users simply must be willing to accept that there is value in the production of software and be willing to pay for it. Once that happens, you'll see so much software and so many device drivers being ported to Linux it will make your head spin. Until then, the programming talent is going to the platform that pays them what they're worth in the real world market of commerce.

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