Skip to comments.Valve CEO: Why Linux is the future of gaming
Posted on 09/17/2013 6:15:59 AM PDT by ShadowAce
New Orleans: If you've heard it once, you've heard it a million times: The reason why desktop Linux hasn't made it is because of its lack of games. Thanks to Gabe Newell, CEO of Valve and its Steam game platform, that's not true anymore.
As a keynote speaker at the Linux Foundation's 2013 North American Linuxcon, Newell explained that the old proprietary ways are no longer working for gaming companies. In no small part, that's because the economics of games are changing. Newell said, "Games are becoming nodes in a linked economy where the majority of digital goods and services are user generated, rather than created by companies."
In fact, Newell said that the Team Fortress Community is already creating 10 times the content of Valve's Team Fortress developers. Newell has no doubt that in head-to-head competition, Valve could take on any of the other gaming companies. But there's no way that it can beat the content of its community and companies that don't realize it's the gamers, and not the developers, who are calling the shots.
While Newell wouldn't go so far as to repeat his claim from last year that "Windows 8 is a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space," he made it clear that he thought he disapproved of the current direction of the PC platform.
"How to be polite ... we think that has been some bad thinking. Platforms are becoming more controlled, the software developer market is controlled, the content is controlled, and [so is] the pricing." He believes that Microsoft and the PC vendors think that this is the right way, but they're wrong. "They should have leveraged the strength of open systems, rather than going to proprietary platforms."
As a consequence, "We have had significant year-over-year declines in PC units". And, "PC vendors and software programs have a deer-in-the-headlight look in their eyes." While PC sales decline, gaming sales have continued to increase, and Steam itself has seen a 76 percent year to date gain in usage.
At the same time, "The Linux desktop is painfully small for the gaming market. It's insignificant by pretty much any metrics players, players minutes, revenue it's typically less than 1 percent." So, if gaming continues to do well, despite Mac and Windows overall declining sales, why did Valve decide to go with Linux? Because Newell has seen the future and it's open.
|Valve: Windows 8 is
a 'catastrophe' for PCs
Newell pointed out Valve has actually been using Linux since 1999. "We use several hundred thousand game servers and use it internally as well for game servers. Internally, we have 20TB of content, we go a year between reboots, and we delivered over an exabyte of data on the internet in the year to date, which comes to 2 to 3 percent of the world's internet." He added, "In all game companies, you'll find more reliance on and higher percentages of Linux usage."
"Linux is the future of gaming for gamers on the client as well, because, besides Microsoft moving to a more locked-in style of computing, "Open systems were advancing much faster. The old console guys are not competitive, and there's huge tension in proprietary systems." For example, Newell said, "It took us six months to get one update through the Apple store. Closed systems are at odds with the evolution of gaming."
So, Valve has been bringing its Steam games to Linux. There are now 198 Steam games running on Linux. The issues of bringing the games to Linux have been solved.
The next step, from where Newell sits, isn't so much bringing games to Linux, but rather working on the hardware side to create a living room gaming device based on Linux. This device, which we'll find out more about next week, is designed to span the gap from the desktop to the living room TV.
In Valve's future, players will run their games on Linux systems. They may not know they are running Linux any more than nine out of 10 Android users know they're running Linux but it will be Linux under the hood. These devices, whether PCs, tablets, or dedicated game consoles, will all play the same while running the same Steam-based games on top of Linux.
That is most definitely NOT the reason Linux hasn’t made it to desk tops. The reason is that Linux is absolutely user-hostile: “if you’re not part of the guild, you are an ignorant fool, who we wouldn’t even want to use our product.” Any given program has dependencies upon dependencies upon dependencies, each of which is maddening for the non-CS-major to install. WHAT? You don’t know how to sed your recursive grep of the root directory?
“But there are more user-friendly GUIs that run on Linux that are expanding all the time!” Yeah: like MacOS, which has been around how many years, and had how many of billions of dollars behind it? Like Ubuntu (which *is* a nice program) is going to make it where MacOS couldn’t?
I cannot make Steam work on my Ubuntu computer
The new OpenOS 4 looks very Windows-like
I can install major pieces of software--even if no dependencies are already installed--much easier on Linux than I can on Windows.
Interesting. I’m running Steam without any issues.
I know. Maybe my low-end laptop is missing something?
What are the symptoms?
Give me access to my entire PC game library and I will never look at Windows on my gaming PC again!
OK—What are your games?
Let me try it again, I’ll get back to you
Ya. Unless they plan to run Linux on a console. Consoles have beat out desktops for games.
Games are still a lot better on a desktop, though. By far. But a >cheap< console (in comparison to a desktop) is adequate for most.
right now it just will not start Team Fortress. I’ll download something else, something small and see what happens.
The problem Newell does not see is that the future of gaming is across multiple devices, not just one.
Microsoft understands this and is way ahead in converging XBox with PC, Tablet and Phone. Write a game once and it can work across all those devices.
Linux is highly fragmented and not available across multiple types of hardware unless you do it yourself.
Today’s gamers are far different from the gamers yesterday.
It’s not real worth the hassle since I’m not really into it. I don’t have enough RAM or a graphics accelerator, so there are few games like that I can play any ways.
There are tons more games one can play on Windows, because so many use it that is what game makers make them for. It is that simple.
Team Fortress Classic, or Team Fortress 2?
You're joking, right?
I think its 2
been a while since I tried, it never worked, I noticed at Ubuntu forums back then I wasn’t the only one and I gave up
It could be your hardware. I know I just looked at TF2 (It’s free to play), and I didn’t have any issues with it at all on the linux client.
Yes it runs on multi hardware but so does windows, and both have issues when any software DIRECTLY or nearly so addresses hardware on any platform other than the one it was written on.
Well yeah. That makes sense, doesn’t it?
Yes, I was just replying to the “linux runs on everything” meme that many on the *nix bandwagon push.
Typing in “apt-get” can be really hard. :-)
Linux is the way to go if you want a reliable server. Nothing irritates me more than having to remote out to Windows servers and fix stuff on them.
Mac and Windows is the way to go for a work or gaming station. Unix needs a GOOD GUI, with good default settings (most Linux apps have, if anything, too much configurability!) before it can be the average person’s desktop computer.
Take your pick.
Just don’t ask it to play DRM protected content :)
The copy protection schemes being used today are completely at odds with open source software in production consumer electronics. It makes it very difficult for Linux to be a pure entertainment device.
Ummm... okay? You realize that Microsoft's not anywhere near the level of game development as, say, EA, Blizzard, Bethesda, or even Valve, right?
Device convergence is NOT a driver for gamers overall. It's a niche. Look at what CCP is doing with EVE Online and Dust 514. EVE is a MASSIVE MMO but overall a small community of gamers when compared to WoW or Ultima. They brought Dust 514 online as free-to-play on PS3, and while there are some interesting aspects to the interplay of the two game environments, they're not as extensible as the respective gaming universe alone.
Linux distros have core libraries that must be available across all platforms to run, and the various flavors are what make them unique. Ubuntu has come a LONG way to make the Linux desktop user-friendly, and I personally code for the project when I have free time.
You also have the Raspberry Pi gaining enormous followings, myself included, for the tinkerer, and Linux distros are being developed specifically for them to allow for stripped down media centers at a fraction of the cost of even just the license for Microsoft's Windows Media Center. I can buy a Raspberry Pi for $35 on Amazon, install RaspBMC (a custom XBMC console) for free, and I have an Internet-connected multimedia server for any TV in my house. There are NO Windows operating systems that would run on the Raspberry Pi hardware.
If you think that Microsoft is ahead in any market, you're a fool. I am a Microsoft system administrator, I've been working with Active Directory, Exchange, and server operating systems for 15 years, and I personally run an Ubuntu server-based home network and find it much more flexible.
As a gamer, I am excited for what Valve is doing. I have a Windows 7 gaming machine solely for video gaming. If we can get major developers to code for Linux and port to Windows, you'll see Windows market share plummet. Most hardcore gamers I know would prefer to use Linux over Microsoft any day.
Amen! I’ve been suckered several times over with the latest promise that Linux truly is ready for the desktop. Not until they can standardize on ONE version and have all apps run on that version without needing me to hunt for the right libraries and then compile—it will never be truly ready.
Hey, it's better than Windows with it crashing every 47 minutes, giving out passwords to the NSA, and spreading virii to every machine in the building.
>> The whole dependency issue has died—several years ago, in fact. If you don’t know that, then you shouldn’t be making judgments on it. <<
LOL! What you mean is that you downloaded a software product once on the latest update of such-and-such flavor of Linux, and it self-extracted. WHat portion of software on linux manages its own dependencies?
Not sure what version of windows you’re using but I haven’t had a crash in years.
No, I don't.
WHat portion of software on linux manages its own dependencies?
All of it.
"yum install libreoffice" will not only download and install the applications but every single dependency required.
You can specifiy multiple applications, and it will automatically determine, download, and install all the dependencies for all applications you specified.
One command. That's all.
Exactly. The same goes for your interpretation of your Linux “experience.”
No it hasn’t this is just flat out wrong. While it has gotten better it’s not fixed. In fact, every time I go to try Linux (unless the software is pre-installed in the image I choose) it’s usually a headache.
I remember one time I wanted to sniff wireless to play with cracking my wireless key. First there were no pre-built images with the software that worked with my laptop for what I needed to achieve. So I try the rpm stuff where it self-installs. Oh wait they don’t have it for my build of Linux yet. Ok, so let me compile and install...dang here we go searching for libraries.
Until that is completely fixed to where I want to install the latest and greatest application on my machine and it just works then Linux won’t win the desktop.
Try wireshark. That's the standard wireless sniffing application, and it's available for every distro out there.
It's probably better than the one you were trying to find.
Ok let me go back in my time machine and make wireshark work for me. Besides it was really a driver level issue anyway (the biggest challenge was getting the wireless card to go into promiscuous mode).
“The copy protection schemes being used today are completely at odds with open source software in production consumer electronics. It makes it very difficult for Linux to be a pure entertainment device.”
Yep, those (Linux based) Android devices sure have a hard time displaying content. Or not.
Hint: you can run closed-source software on Linux. Hardware may also be used to enforce things more stringently than software.
“Unix needs a GOOD GUI, with good default settings (most Linux apps have, if anything, too much configurability!) before it can be the average persons desktop computer.”
I think “gaming on Linux” and “desktop computer” are two different topics.
I think Valve is planning a “Linux console” with more horsepower than the PS4 or Xbox One, that would essentially boot into Steam as the UI.
On the other hand, you could always buy or build a Linux box (desktop/laptop/tablet(?)), and run Steam like any other application. Linux Mint has a very livable GUI these days...though commercial software support for Linux has lacked so far.
Linux will go nowhere until installing software and hardware is universally as easy as Windows or Mac.
I’m a computer geek and getting something to “just work” on Linux is often troublesome.
>>>> What portion of software on linux manages its own dependencies?
>> All of it.
Bu!!$h!+. *IF* the software provider has built the yum package to include all dependencies, but how many do that? About 1 in 100.
All of the Red Hat / Suse versions do.
The Debian-based distros use apt-get. Same thing, different program.
A lot of the smaller distros use their own version.
>> but how many do that? About 1 in 100. <<
> All of the Red Hat / Suse versions do.
No, All Red Hat versions have a yum command. That is quite a different thing than being able to yum all software.
That would be cool. Have to see if I can set up a Linux box at home and find this Mint GUI.
MINT sounds good, Ubuntu is very stable and I hear that OpenOs 4 is very friendly for those with Windows withdrawal
Then please show me the solution for playing (on Linux) a Blu-ray from the original disc without ripping it, along with supporting BD-J and HDMV.
To handle the various DRM strategies that are out there on a commercial electronics device you’re looking at serious complexity: HDCP, DTCP-IP, AES128, AACS, per device encryption keys, etc.
Hint: I know what I’m talking about.
TF2’s been touching off errors on map change for me for a year or more. Nothing else is being troublesome, just that game.
TF2 just doesn’t work on some computers, usually over a graphics problems