Has Linux gaming platforms

The week: The Linux games are coming

A Windows partition stubbornly persists on the computers of many Linux gaming enthusiasts. Sure, many games also run with Wine or Crossover, but in the middle of a battle very few gamers understand low frame rates and annoying bugs. Those who want to relax with a game often don't feel like solving various problems or accepting restrictions beforehand - especially not if the game was bought at a high price.

Unless Valve promises too much, Steam and L4D2 will run just as well on Linux as they do on Windows; and more game titles are to follow. That would invalidate an old argument against Linux: that there are no attractive games for the free operating system.

Valve is the market leader in online games and game downloads, and it must have calculated this move well. Apparently, it has come to the conclusion that Linux - and Ubuntu in particular - is gradually becoming a profitable gaming platform. Valve is not alone in his opinion.

Game publisher Electronic Arts (EA) has already put out feelers in this direction. In a cooperation with Canonical EA offers two games for free via the Ubuntu Software Center (Command & Conquer Tiberium Alliances and Lord of Ultima). Both are free games for the web browser that can be played without installation. When "buying" through the software center, however, they provide information about the level of interest in Linux games. The game platform Desura has been offering a Linux client since the end of 2011, which can be used to purchase and play free as well as commercial games.

The Humble Bundles have shown the way: Since 2010, the game packages, which are put together at irregular intervals, have been enjoying increasing popularity at a purchase price of your own choosing. The last Humble Bundle is said to have been sold almost 600,000 times and grossed around 5.1 million US dollars. Linux users make up only 9.4 percent of the buyers (for all Humble bundles taken together); But they are willing to dig much deeper into their pockets than Windows or Mac users, and they account for a good 16 percent of the income. The prejudice that Linux users are not ready to pay for software should be eliminated.

If you want, you will also receive a Steam key for the Humble bundle games and can then download and play the purchased games via Valve's gaming platform. With a little luck, this will soon also apply to Linux users. Ubuntu users can now install the games from the Humble Indie Bundle V via the Ubuntu Software Center. Incidentally, the indie games are among the top ten purchased applications.

So that we don't get ourselves wrong: The gaming-loving Linux user has not had to be completely bored up to now either. For example, the player section in the Ubuntu Software Center lists over 600 entries, ranging from small Tetris, Sudoku and card games to arcade classics and the commercial strategy game Oil Rush. The Linux ports of some older Windows games from Loki Entertainment Software (Loki Games for short) are still available, including Rune, Tribes 2, Heavy Metal F.A.K.K. 2, Soldier of Fortune, Unreal Tournament, SimCity 3000 Unlimited or Heroes of Might and Magic III - even if the company had to file for bankruptcy ten years ago.

Linux Game Publishing (LGP), which was founded after Loki Games ended, has also published some commercial games for Linux with games such as Creatures, Software Tycoon, Postal 2: Share the Pain, Cold War and Sacred. The last one from 2009 was a while ago; In a blog post in February 2012, however, the new CEO Clive Crous announced further publications. Incidentally, Crous also emphasizes the importance of digital distribution channels such as Steam or Desura and wants to expand the digital distribution of LGP games. And thanks to the game engines released by id Software over the years, Linux users can also play in first person shooters such as Alien Arena, Nexuiz or Xonotic.

State-of-the-art graphics or a new co-op mode such as Left 4 Dead 2 are not available here. With the support of a market leader like Valve and the cooperation of game providers with Canonical, something could actually change.

Valve at least seems to be serious about its Linux commitment and has increased its Linux team with well-known developers. Chief developer Sam Lantinga, co-founder of Loki Games, was recently hired to join the new Linux team. Also there is Forest Hale, the developer of the open source game engine Darkplaces, on which the open source shooters Nexuiz and Xonotic are based, for example. He was also responsible for the Quake Live ports to Mac OS X and Linux. Another member of the Valve Linux team is said to be David White, the founder of the open source strategy game Battle for Wesnoth.

If games can be bought, downloaded and installed as easily as apps on a smartphone, the willingness to buy should continue to increase. Both the Ubuntu Software Center and the Steam platform meet this requirement - now just a few more game developers have to jump on the Linux bandwagon.

The developers of Croteam are already stirring up the rumor mill with the publication of a screenshot on their Facebook page: The picture shows the game Serious Sam 3, which runs on an Ubuntu desktop. The Windows and Mac versions of Serious Sam 3 are already being sold on Steam. (lmd)