Is Linux Gaming the Next Big Thing?

With the announcement of Valve's SteamOS, will Linux Gaming be the next be thing for the industry?

Since the announcement of the SteamOS, a Linux-based operating system from Valve last year, many have wondered: will Linux be the next big thing?

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Valve isn’t attempting to dip into the waters of the living room–they’re diving right in on Nintendo’s, Microsoft’s and Sony’s territory. The Steam Machine is a Linux-based PC-style console to play games on, but will it triumph?

Will game developers be on board?

Steam does maintain games online with Linux support, and with the promotion of Steam Greenlight, more Linux games will see the spotlight.

 Linux Games Available Now:

  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Crusaders Kings II
  • Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
  • Democracy 3
  • Legend of Grimrock
  • Castle Story
  • Trine 2
  • Left 4 Dead 2
  • Wizardry 6 and 7
  • Jazzpunk
  • Surgeon Simulator 2013
  • Kerbal Space Program
  • Prison Architect
  • Metro: Last Light
  • Plus many more

The only games I’ve seen so far worth playing are DOTA 2, PortalHalf-Life 2Don’t Starve, perhaps Super Meat Boy and Octodad: Dadliest Catch.

What about games like Tomb Raider, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, BioShock Infinite, Dark Souls II, or Watch Dogs? None of these games are available on Linux. For any chance of Linux gaming being big on the market, they’ll need a stable of developers creating games natively for Linux; or at least providing cross-platform functionality. I just don’t see that happening on a massive scale any time soon. 

However, Linux’s powerful benefits make it a great option for PC gamers. The networking power of GNU/Linux fits better than any other OS for two reasons: improved power consumption that benefit laptops, desktops, and servers by having dynamic power management that works really well on the embedded influence over the desktop and server hardware; and VFS scalability patches

Linux is a tad complex and has limited support, so it’s always been limited to PC enthusiasts, programmers and hardcore types. Thanks to the launch of the horrific Windows 8, Valve’s Gabe Newell has made no secret of his distaste for the OS and why pushing for Linux is a focus for Valve.

“The big problem that is holding back Linux is games. People don’t realize how critical games are in driving consumer purchasing behavior.”

We want to make it as easy as possible for the 2,500 games on Steam to run on Linux as well. It’s a hedging strategy. I think Windows 8 is a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space,” said Valve Co-Founder Gabe Newell. “I think we’ll lose some of the top-tier PC/OEMs, who will exit the market. I think margins will be destroyed for a bunch of people. If that’s true, then it will be good to have alternatives to hedge against that eventuality.”

I honestly believe if anyone can help transition gaming with Linux, it’ll be Valve. They did wonders for the gaming community with Steam and they continue to do so now with the Steam Greenlight. Who knows what we’ll be looking at in the near future at the rate they’re going–but one thing I can say, it’s promising.

What are your thoughts on Linux Gaming being the next big thing? Let us know in the comments.

Some fun facts about Linux:

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Venisia Gonzalez
Venisia is a public relations professional, video game industry contractor, published author, freelance entertainment journalist, copy editor, a co-organizer of the Latinx Games Festival, and a member of the Latinx in Gaming and the Puerto Rico Game Developers (PRGD) community. Her passion is video games. She loves the adrenaline rush from a multiplayer match and understands the frustrations of a brand-new raid. Venisia finds immense value in gaming especially in the realm of mental health.