Why are there so few games for Linux?

To play I use Windows XP.

This is the answer of most of the Gamers using Linux, many of these users are not able to use only Linux and they have to rely on the typical Windows partition to play. Of course, this would not be necessary if companies and projects were dedicated to creating games for Linux… But they are not abundant.

extra life

It also gives me the impression that there is a lot of non-player or passive player Linux, as in my case, I rarely play, perhaps there is also the key to why despite its lack it continues to be a fairly popular alternative (within what it fits) or by flipping the argument, the reason why there are no more linuxers.

We can say with certainty that the great stumbling block of Linux is no longer the Desktop, it is able to tackle it with simplicity, the problem is the game.

Why isn't creating good games on Linux appealing?

It must be made clear that there are games in Linux, some are quite good according to those in the know. But people basically complain about two things:

  • Little catalog
  • Lag in technologies

Few potential users

There are several reasons why this happens, among them, that the volume of users is low. This argument is so common that surely we have all heard it, but it is also strange to hear it knowing that what is needed to port a game from one platform is not to have developers multiplied by 2, but "simply" developers who port the game to the other platform. Sure, you will tell me that there are libraries that these games use that do not exist in Linux, but, neither that happens with all games nor is it a difficult mission to carry out if the video game industry turns to Linux.

An example? Lugaru:

It is a game created by the Indian company Wolfire games For Windows like all games, however, Wolfire decided to port his game to Mac OSX and Linux. Outcome? Their sales increased more than 100%, a totally disproportionate number for those who expect Linux and Mac to be only just under 5% of the population.

The Free Software Dilemma

There are those who say that Linux should be consecrated for Free Software and many believe it but it is not so. The practice says that the Free Software is developed in its great majority without pretensions of profit by its volume. Only big projects get support, therefore, many of these projects take place in free time and developing a game is not an easy task. It requires specialists in various areas, especially design and programming methodologies different from those that are usually applied to everything, if we talk about a good game, with good graphics, which is why a Windows user would change. Put together to a team of so many specialists It is so complex, especially without starting from a business support it makes it a titanic task from the beginning, taking into account that money is more necessary here since developers need to concentrate a lot of time on writing the code and what it takes, probably most require exclusive dedication to gambling.

The proprietary standards

If we are going to refer to pioneer projects, they will probably run into these kinds of problems a lot, I already mentioned it above, there are very common libraries for video games and for video in general that are proprietary and could not be implemented in Linux for legal reasons.

Playing on Linux

Linux players know it, but maybe novice players don't. There are several alternatives for playing on Linux when the game is not available for Linux:

Use Wine: Lo elementary and basic, a system installed within Linux that, in practice, emulates Windows (although some linuxers resent that it is said that way, but it is the most efficient way of explaining) so that our applications (not just games) run on Linux . Some libraries like DirectX and other Windows packages are installable with Wine. But Wine alone is not good for running relatively modern games.

Cedega: This platform is supported by Wine and allows you to do the same as Wine does, but in a more efficient and dedicated way to run games through proprietary libraries (Wine is GPL). The great grace of Cedega is that allows you to play very current games no Linux version, but not perfect, sometimes it will need adaptations for each game to work and many gamers claim that the gaming experience is not the same.

My appreciation is that this has much of the blame industry, almost as much as in the matter of hardware. The worst thing is that they have not realized the gold mine they are wasting. If there is any guilt left hanging around, it is that of users who are too passive and they settle for having a Windows partition to play with (which at some point in their lives will get them into trouble when they want to move something).

Although I will always think that there are consoles to play, there is no doubt about that.

Will Linux evolve to be a "playable" platform?

The image belongs to fabioperez Flickr user via license Creative Commons


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  1.   Nitsuga said

    Sure it does, but that's a loooooooooooooooooo lot way ...

  2.   Menthol said

    That comes but what can I tell you, as long as there are linuxers like me playing on the console, there will not be many who are on top of the developers

  3.   Edgar said

    I do not have big complaints, I always try first with wine if it does not install well I try play on linux or winedoors if it continues to fail I try crossover games (for me the best) and if not last I try yields. With that combination it is rare that something does not work, the only thing that "bothers" me is that I have never had a joystick compatible with Linux :( I have tried with a psx controller connected by parallel port and everything worked except the crosshead, Xbox 360 controller that is supposed to have native support from kernel 2.6.24 does not work for me :( I have the theory that it is because my controller is from the joytech company and not from Microsoft, but that's another story if it weren't for that i would remove windows but yesterday

  4.   bachi.tux said

    I can think of several reasons:

    1. Maybe companies see "the terrible 1%" of world market share.
    2. Maybe they believe that being Free Software, their software should be free.
    3. Companies may think that no Linux user will pay for their game, due to Linux's hacking past and FREE.
    4. Maybe they are financed by other companies or signed "single perpetuity" with some platforms and no one but them.

    I can think of these and thousands of other fundamentals, from the most logical to the most crazy. They have the answer. But the question would be:

    If BIG games can be played on Linux, will it be embraced by the masses and compete head-to-head in the statistics with Windows?

    There are other things that make some companies of certain types of Applications see Linux as "green".

  5.   rheoba said

    I agree with bachi.tux and its 4 points.
    On the other hand, I would not like that with the existence of all those games in Linux, cracks and keygenes for Linux would begin to be created, it is what I like the most about Linux, that I have everything and without the need for cracks and keygens, much less being hacker app user.

  6.   Sergio said

    There has been a lot of talk on the subject these days. Personally, I would love that there were more games for Linux, and that companies begin to realize that porting the games to this system could bring them advantages, but I do not see it as a limitation to the growth of Linux.

    Anyone who wants to use the PC for more serious uses finds in Linux a system that, unless he is a professional in very specific areas, adapts more and more to his needs every day, added to the great advantages that Linux has in productive areas, making that this class of users do not have problems to migrate.

    With the increase in the user quota, the production of games for Linux will naturally increase. The 1% market share is not that tempting for some companies.

    Gamers are one of the last groups of users to migrate to Linux, as Windows gives them everything they need.

    I think that waiting for the field of games in Linux to be comparable to that of Windows, is the same as waiting for the year of Linux on the desktop to arrive, since, unless there is a super success case for a company Whoever ventures into this system, most of the big game developers are not going to be willing to risk a 1% market share.

    We linuxers can't do much to improve this, just give a warm welcome to every brave company that launches even the smallest little game for Linux, regardless of whether they are proprietary or not, since we linuxers tend to see owner = bad.

  7.   laura077 said

    I am not a player at all, for that the consoles. I care a lot, a lot more about the hardware issue. :)

  8.   keogh said

    mmm I use Xbox360 x)

  9.   Rafael Hernampérez Martin said

    I sucked the world of videogames from the Spectrum, participating in the development of videogames for all those platforms based on the Z80 and later.

    In my humble opinion, I think that for video game programmers to opt for video game development for Linux is that there is more demand for this platform. On the other hand, I think that carrying out an open project for a game platform or a Game Maker for all platforms would be a very important step so that both Ventanucos and Pingüino users can enjoy the same games, without the need to invest in programmers specific to each platform, and specific formats as well.

  10.   Nacho said

    There is another point that I think is important ... and that is that Linux is a melting pot of distributions and projects.

    If they release a game ... Is it in deb? Autopackage? Rpm? binary? fountain? repository?
    I see too complicated for a company to take games seeing the panorama. If it is in deb, the dependencies aside. If it is in rpm, the system still exploits you with the file size and the stability of mandriva (xD). In autopackage ... because it is too complicated for the audience it is focused on (Yes, even that) and if it is in binary or source ... juas ... I want to see it, the gamer compiling a Need for Speed ​​Fiat Brío ProCarbon (Yes, the following nfs is dedicated to esty xD)

    Everything that gives us a choice, for a company makes the product more expensive, or takes it away from the average consumers (binary, source).

    Maybe it's not just interests, maybe we should get together and try to make an installable package on any system without headaches or put "apt-get -b source Halo" in the terminal ...

    The same is silly, but you do not have to look at your navel in this regard, the neverwinternights was horrible to install, plus you needed time, download time, and follow the instructions to the letter.

    And it's just one example of a native game ...

  11.   Ignatius Yafe said

    Hello, lately I have been considering the issue of switching to linux, at the moment I have a distribution called Trisquel installed in a virtual machine.
    Well this is the main reason why I have not decided to switch yet, for the simple fact of the lack of games, I think the things that cause this are:
    1- The lack of libraries or environments for game development, I know a little about this since I am creating small games in Game Maker so that in the future I will become a good indie developer.
    But that is not the point, but tools like these are lacking, I still recognize that there are free alternatives such as GDevelop with an event system similar to that of construct2 and Godot engine, a graphical engine that uses python as a scripting language.
    But the tools most of the companies also use microsoft libraries for their 3d projects such as DirectX.
    2-The lack of market
    The market share of linux is not as large as that of windows and within publishers and marketing there is an ideology that is to seek a large market, since in linux there are not as many people as in windows (I can not say about MAC since I do not know very well what its quota is) for example in windows there are many people and most of the people are gamer.
    Linux at the moment I see it more for computing or learning activities (since at least in my country linux is used in most schools)