Gaming is booming and is one of the most inspiring, exciting and innovative form of art in the IT industry. 2012 was an impressive year. With a global market of $67 billion gaming studios hire the most talented developers, artists, writers, and professionals and provide a huge selection of quality games. The budget and production are so high it’s becoming easier to choose a good game than to find a good movie these days… but most of them work on Windows, Xbox 360 or Playstation 3.
Just as “killer-apps”, games are among the top reasons which prevent people from switching completely to Linux. In 2012, 15 games were scored 90% or higher on Metacritic. None of them were released on Linux.
A couple of things happened though and the future might look a little brighter for Linux gamers.
2012 was a big year for “Indie gaming”. Independent developers challenged major studios with games like Minecraft, The Walking Dead and Journey. The fact that a few developers could achieve so much, without resources, changed the perception of many. Then came the Humble Bundles which sent two strong signals: Linux users want games and they’re ready to pay for them.
At the end of last year, Valve and Canonical announced they were working together to bring Steam (which is estimated to have a 70% share of the digital distribution market for video games) to Linux. Their efforts paid off and the Steam client is now available and working fine in most distributions.
The screenshot below shows Steam running on Linux Mint 14:
Valve is planning a new gaming console in 2013 based on Linux and the company is currently promoting its Linux client, even to its Windows users. Gaming media, blogs and magazines are covering the news and some of the major studios are considering porting their games to Linux.
If you like strategy games for instance, you’ll be happy to know Paradox Interactive already ported Crusader Kings II.
Crusader Kings II was given a 8/10 by IGN and Gamespot and a 9/10 by Destructoid. It is one of the very good strategy games of 2012. Other popular games are likely to follow; some old ones like Counter Strike 1.6 or Half Life, or brand new ones like “The Cave”.
If you’re into gaming and you’d like to play on Linux Mint, don’t hesitate to get involved and to send Valve your feedback:
- Browse the Steam Linux catalog online at http://store.steampowered.com/browse/linux/
- Install Steam in Linux Mint with this .deb or add this repository: http://repo.steampowered.com/steam/
- Get involved in the Linux Steam community at http://steamcommunity.com/linux
- Send issues and ideas at https://github.com/ValveSoftware/steam-for-linux/issues
Note: Most popular games are commercial and developed by major studios, so if they come to Linux they’re likely to become available through Steam. However, if you’re interested in HTML5 or online gaming or if you have ideas on how to further promote Indie gaming and Free Software games, please let us know. Many Windows games also run quite well using Wine. We like for things to work out of the box, but maybe we can help here as well. Don’t hesitate to comment if you’ve some experience to share with Wine or wine-related software.