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Linux Gaming Will Increase '30-fold' with Steam Machines

By - Source: PC Games N | B 55 comments

Back in the late '90s when GPUs were first emerging, OpenGL was the go-to API when developing a game for the PC. But as the years rolled by, Microsoft DirectX became the dominant API. Thus when you talked about a PC game, it was typically for Windows. But all that's changing thanks to Valve Software, which has been supporting Linux gaming for the past several years. Even OpenGL is getting renewed attention from developers.

Last week during E3 2014, Alienware's product manager Marc Diana said that the launch of the Steam Machines next year will likely increase Linux gaming 20 to 30 fold "overnight." These gaming rigs will ship with SteamOS, which is based on Linux, along with Valve's in-house developed controller.

"There’s more games that are Linux powered today than have ever been available in the market, and that continues to grow," Diana said. "It's projected that whenever SteamOS comes out, there's going to be 700 plus titles on SteamOS that are OpenGL games."

Wow.

He also pointed to Crytek's CryEngine, which will convert DirectX to OpenGL without any manual input from the developer. "[Crytek] is a great example of a company that has looked at OpenGL and said 'You know what, this is the future of game development, we're going to invest in it, and we're going to make it extremely easy to publish on multiplatform.'"

Diana acknowledged that customers who buy into the SteamOS platform will be making an investment in Linux and OpenGL gaming. "They're going to increase user adoption rate 20 fold," Diana said. "Imagine how many people are gaming today on Linux, and how many people will be gaming once Steam Machine launches. It's going to be 20, 30 fold. Overnight."

Just recently, Valve's Eric Hope said that the release window for Steam Machines will be in 2015 due to the feedback the studio has received regarding the prototype controller. Because the team is busy making those improvements, Valve doesn't see a solid release date until next year. And because the controller is part of the Steam Machine bundle, companies like Alienware are shipping their solutions early, without the controller, SteamOS and the Steam Machine seal of approval.

Linux gaming won't really "explode" until 2015 if gamers actually buy into the whole Steam Machine console pitch. The idea behind Steam Machines is very ambitious, but can hardware partners -- including Valve -- push these $499+ "consoles" to gamers who typically invest in Xbox and PlayStation? That remains to be seen.

"I mean Valve, you never want to underestimate their initiatives, and what they are going to do with Steam Machine's OS is going to be unparalleled in PC gaming," Diana said.

Do you plan to purchase a Steam Machine? Are you waiting to build your own? You can find more information about that by heading here.

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Top Comments
  • 26 Hide
    vmem , June 18, 2014 1:23 PM
    30 fold from a nearly 0% market share is still low.

    and no, I'm not trying to put down the idea of steam machines, I think it's awesome, but so far what have we seen? delayed OS launch, OS installation problems, OS optimization problems (almost all AAA titles have similar or lower FPS compared to Win8), and repeated controller delays. heck even Alienware's newest 'steam machine' will run Win8.1 out of the box. and NO, i'm not interested in buying a $500+ device just to play linux only titles.

    at the end of the day, I expect steam machines to take off SLOWLY, with people who already own gaming PCs experimenting dual-booting Steam OS, and their market-share will grow ONLY if they perform well.
Other Comments
  • -2 Hide
    coolitic , June 18, 2014 1:21 PM
    30 fold is a stretch, 20 fold is a bit more reasonable.
  • 26 Hide
    vmem , June 18, 2014 1:23 PM
    30 fold from a nearly 0% market share is still low.

    and no, I'm not trying to put down the idea of steam machines, I think it's awesome, but so far what have we seen? delayed OS launch, OS installation problems, OS optimization problems (almost all AAA titles have similar or lower FPS compared to Win8), and repeated controller delays. heck even Alienware's newest 'steam machine' will run Win8.1 out of the box. and NO, i'm not interested in buying a $500+ device just to play linux only titles.

    at the end of the day, I expect steam machines to take off SLOWLY, with people who already own gaming PCs experimenting dual-booting Steam OS, and their market-share will grow ONLY if they perform well.
  • Display all 55 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    computerguy72 , June 18, 2014 1:33 PM
    I don't get why anyone would want a steam machine. For just about the same money you can get a windows machine and run literally everything. When there is no technical advantage (and mostly drawbacks) why do it?
  • 1 Hide
    dstarr3 , June 18, 2014 1:37 PM
    Thumbs up if you owned a Viper V770 back in the day. *represent*
  • -2 Hide
    jardows , June 18, 2014 1:46 PM
    I am curious as to how long Valve could keep the Linux community on one platform for games? Linux-based projects have a tendency to fork on a regular basis, forming rival camps for this api, that desktop environment, etc. The game we develop today will work on Qubuntu Nutmeg that uses Farland for its GUI, but not Blue Hat Mustard edition using z-org.
  • 1 Hide
    Filiprino , June 18, 2014 2:05 PM
    Linux and GNU is technically superior to Windows.
  • 8 Hide
    SirTrollsALot , June 18, 2014 2:16 PM
    As long as the (Mobo, Graphics, Keyboards, Mice, ect ect) vendors make driver/app support and other software companys make Linux apps like Team Speak or Vent for starters I would be into the Steam OS. But Id rather build my own system and dual boot so I can still use my investment in current Windows games i have already bought. Also in the future I want to be able to make my own system and not be stuck to SteamOS specific systems...
  • 0 Hide
    syrious1 , June 18, 2014 2:36 PM
    Pretty much the only reason to get a steam machine is to stream games from your laptop/desktop to the TV. I'm not so sure that qualifies as an increase in Linux machines. People will want to be able to actually use the computer(dualboot) to browse, do photoshop, edit video etc. You can't do these things with a steam machine. So there's that.
  • 2 Hide
    Zaranthos , June 18, 2014 2:53 PM
    I hate Windows 8.x and any competition to the growing Microsoft nightmare is a good thing. If Blizzard put their games on Linux I'd probably drop Windows or at the very least give Linux a much more serious look.
  • 2 Hide
    firefoxx04 , June 18, 2014 3:58 PM
    I will start using regular linux again once the GPU drivers are IDENTICAL to the windows drivers.

    Im sick of not being able to manage multiple displays the way do on windows. AMD's driver support in linux has been horrendous for me.. but im just one person.

  • 4 Hide
    Luis XFX , June 18, 2014 4:06 PM
    I own a bunch of games on steam that I play on Windows. I've noticed those which are also available on Linux are in my library when I use Steam Linux. If they do this for most of my games I wouldn't mind switching to a steam machine.
  • 0 Hide
    jasonelmore , June 18, 2014 4:18 PM
    i dont see steam machines selling that many units unless a big box retailer aggressively prices them
  • 2 Hide
    ethanolson , June 18, 2014 4:23 PM
    This will push Linux gaming up to nearly 1.8% of market share.
  • 0 Hide
    nukemaster , June 18, 2014 4:41 PM
    Choice is good for us.

    As long as they do not start to slowly de-optimized the windows software. Looking at you iTunes(sad that my brother had to switch to of all things Windows Media Player because of how bad iTunes was running).
  • 0 Hide
    gsxrme , June 18, 2014 5:48 PM
    Um will nvidia or amd right drivers in a timely manner for this OS?
  • 1 Hide
    gm0n3y , June 18, 2014 6:08 PM
    Anything that brings more games to Linux is good. I'm willing to accept a small performance hit if it means that I don't need Windows.
  • -3 Hide
    somebodyspecial , June 18, 2014 6:29 PM
    I don't understand complaints about delays. Would you rather have them put out a beta like current games are being foisted on us and patched to death (BF4, Watchdogs, etc etc)? I'd rather have you make the OS and controller WORK properly before handing it to me which was the ENTIRE point of the beta machines they put out for testing. Get FEEDBACK, FIX whatever, then roll out the product as polished as can be. It will push linux gaming up a bunch though and also OpenGL at the same time. I said this ages ago when they mentioned these, and now it looks like we're about 6-12 months away. The real interesting day will be when Valve announces it worked with Nvidia to port steamOS to ARM for Denver etc. NO WINTEL at all in the box then which is their goal (google/apple's goal also, apple's been trying to get rid of Intel for ages and use their own chips). The entire gang is working together to kill Wintel. I don't think it will happen overnight, but they sure will make a HUGE dent in the reasons you need wintel today. Adobe apps already run on macs, which is a form of linux/opengl anyway, and so does a TON of other stuff only had on windows otherwise. Apple/valve/google/nvidia/qcom/samsung all have reasons to push OpenGL to kill Wintel and together they certainly have the cash to pay for porting to ANY software maker if they can't do it themselves.

    I wouldn't be surprised if apple is already trying to do this behind closed doors. How can you move your mac from INTEL if you don't get all those great apps mac's share with WINTEL moved to ARM? Adobe etc has to run on ARM for that to work right? This is the whole reason they are making their own cpus and probably a gpu in the works or they'll just buy IMG.L for theirs which they've been using for years in phones etc. Mac's only needed about 10% and then you saw the massive wave of games ported to OpenGL/MAC (gog's porting right and left, along with others too). Steam sells tons of MAC stuff too. Get ready for tons of ports to ARM/OpenGL to finally finish the game. Apps of course will need to be done for Apple to truly dump Intel and it's no secret this is their goal. Anything that makes WINTEL weaker (less reason to need them) makes MACs, ARM, Steambox's, Android, Linux etc all stronger. I've been saying it for ages now, and here we go :)  I can't wait for a full fledged ARM box with 50-100w cpu and Nvidia Pascal card inside. For the cheap people it will be a 50-100w APU type (todays' K1 or something like it amped up to 4ghz with a few more SMX's on it for gpu power like AMD/Intel APU style), to avoid the discrete charge just like we have now on Wintel.

    This isn't rocket science and easily done, it's just a matter of how long it takes, so just take your time and get it right. The PC world will look quite different in 5-10yrs. Everyone is coming for Wintel's 155B in sales/31B profits, not to mention all you can make on the boxes their stuff is in if YOU are selling a vertically integrated box where most of what is inside is YOURS. At worst they'll be able to drop the cost on any box without the wintel fees inside. This should allow developing nations to join in on boxes far closer to say a USA box thus upgrading the world so to speak for these countries.

    All great stuff, bring it on. I can't wait for all that comes with it, such as games/apps possibly playing nicely between say, your tablet, PC (whatever it is made up of, ARM etc), phone, tv etc. Getting developing nations in on the more powerful boxes will enlarge AMD/NV etc's TAM, which will make them more money so we keep getting MORE R&D for some great stuff ahead. The ARM side could easily sell a $200 chip or less that performs like i7 without the extra $150 and still make a LOT of money (could likely do it for $150 easily). The ARM side also has a free OS, so again another $100 off. Same perf, $250 less to get the rest of the world able to buy more powerful boxes, joining the developed world on the treadmill of upgrades (hardware and software). I'm only talking the top end here, but you still save at worst a windows fee and whatever you save at whatever level of Intel cpu you would have ordinarily paid for in these countries (or not since most can't afford i7-4770 etc). A side effect is more jobs, higher wages, and a better economy everywhere just because MORE are actually participating. All good and less power stuck in two monopolies called WINTEL.

    I'm not saying Wintel will die, rather they will just become less monopolistic and have to listen to customer's wants/needs again or become obsolete. MS being forced off DirectX in favor of OpenGL would be great too. Small devs could make a lot more money if they could easily get their game to run everyone very quickly and have a HUGE TAM to sell to. No more need for EA etc.
  • -1 Hide
    Alec Mowat , June 18, 2014 8:40 PM
    Quote:
    30 fold from a nearly 0% market share is still low.

    and no, I'm not trying to put down the idea of steam machines, I think it's awesome, but so far what have we seen? delayed OS launch, OS installation problems, OS optimization problems (almost all AAA titles have similar or lower FPS compared to Win8), and repeated controller delays. heck even Alienware's newest 'steam machine' will run Win8.1 out of the box. and NO, i'm not interested in buying a $500+ device just to play linux only titles.

    at the end of the day, I expect steam machines to take off SLOWLY, with people who already own gaming PCs experimenting dual-booting Steam OS, and their market-share will grow ONLY if they perform well.

    Quote:
    30 fold from a nearly 0% market share is still low.

    and no, I'm not trying to put down the idea of steam machines, I think it's awesome, but so far what have we seen? delayed OS launch, OS installation problems, OS optimization problems (almost all AAA titles have similar or lower FPS compared to Win8), and repeated controller delays. heck even Alienware's newest 'steam machine' will run Win8.1 out of the box. and NO, i'm not interested in buying a $500+ device just to play linux only titles.

    at the end of the day, I expect steam machines to take off SLOWLY, with people who already own gaming PCs experimenting dual-booting Steam OS, and their market-share will grow ONLY if they perform well.



    Kinda silly.
    Linux gaming is very much alive, let me know how many android games are out there?

    When people think "Linux", they always think desktop Linux. But there are tons of Linux-based systems, it's very popular.

    Bugs and delays are common in Linux, it's just part of the experience. It takes a bit more energy to make it function, which is fine if you are familiar with the system.

    The thing is, Linux is free. Microsoft and DirectX most certainly have some licensing fees associated. Open GL is free. Developing for a free is a good investment. If the world wants to do away with copyright (thanks, Tesla), we might find ourselves a lot more productive.
  • 2 Hide
    blppt , June 18, 2014 8:44 PM
    Quote:
    I will start using regular linux again once the GPU drivers are IDENTICAL to the windows drivers.



    Historically the nvidia binary package drivers have been very, very close to, or even exceeding the performance of their windows drivers. But then you have the Linux fanatics complaining that its closed-source nature "taints the kernel". Guess what---Nvidia is never going to open-source the hard work of their massive driver teams and give up their main strength in the industry (their driver development), so either the Linux fanboys will have to use the admittedly poor performing open-source version, or suck it up and use the binaries, because that is never going to change.
  • 3 Hide
    southernshark , June 18, 2014 8:56 PM
    I'd buy a STEAM machine... or well maybe not... let me re-phrase I'd buy a linux dedicated machine and I'd download steam games and play them. I'm not sure that's the same thing.
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