Tomb Raider 2013 Now On Linux - But is it too late?
The 2013 reboot of Tomb Raider was critically very well received with an average of 86/100 over all platforms on Metacritic. After being available on Xbox 360, PC, and PS3, a Definitive Edition released in 2014 for PS4 and Xbox One, but now Tomb Raider is now available to buy on Linux. Yes, it is still the 2013 reboot. Rise of the Tomb Raider is still on Windows only for now.
It's been 3 years since the initial release, is it too late?
Linux never gets enough love when it comes to game support. It always gets left in the dust, but is this changing? Has SteamOS pushed developers to support the platform more?
In a fun twist of fate, the install rate for Linux actually dropped for end users when SteamOS released at the end of 2013--which doesn't bode very well for the OS. Luckily, no one is losing any money as Linux is free.
Free Linux may be part of the issue
I mean we all like free things, who doesn't? However, the biggest part of Linux is the customisability and options it gives you. The breadth of version options and the installation process can be just a little bit overwhelming for people who know less about computers, while the ease of installation of the likes of Windows and OS X is a safer option. OS X only really has one version option, the newest, and Windows now only has two with Windows 10 -- Do you want Home, or Pro? Both are 32-bit and 64-bit anyway (hint, always go Pro). Having given SteamOS a go, I can say Linux is now super easy to install if everything goes smoothly. If it doesn't go smoothly, or if you have a weird setup like me, it's still not easy.
Most people are like this when installing Linux, no matter your experience.
Engines are supporting the OS more, but in-house engines still falter
Another 'small' issue is that even with SteamOS here, and with more games supporting Linux, due to the user base dropping it's not always cost effective to support it. Modern engines, like UE4 and Unity, make it easier than ever to develop for Windows, OS X, and Linux at the same time. However, with the games which are ported over later, very often it's 6 months or more until they make it on to anything other than Windows. In Tomb Raider's case it was a good 3 years, and it took almost 9 months for Tomb Raider to be ported to OS X which has a similar problem.
This isn't the death of the OS for gaming, but it's also never too late
Like with almost all headings which have a question, the answer is no. It's not too late for Tomb Raider to support the OS, but it is strange that Rise of the Tomb Raider hasn't received the Linux port treatment at the same time, with the engines being very similar. Maybe in the next month or so it will be?
I've always said that as soon as Linux has the same -- or almost the same -- game support as Windows, I would instantly move over to it. I'm still waiting for that day, but who is going to make it happen first? It will be Linux with a Win32/UWA emulator or developers with their games supporting Linux out of the box. It looks like engine creators are starting to take up the mantle, but will developers who use their own in-house engines follow suit?
Thanks Steam Spy for helping with this.
Stressed office lady image source, SavaHapp.