Porting Old Titles to Linux Isn't The Answer

Porting Old Titles to Linux Isn't The Answer

Linux Users Rejoice!

So, apparently Feral Interactive has announced they are porting the 2013 title "Tomb Raider" to Linux and SteamOS. They're calling this a "AAA Title" as if it really matters, 3 years after the game was released.

Let's be honest, anyone who really wanted to buy and play this game already have. This is like saying "Oh, you want a smartphone? Let me sell you a PalmOS device! Wait, what do you mean you don't want my fancy PalmOS driven phone?"

How is this supposed to help me? Am I supposed to get excited about this?

What's Worse...

The worst part is that when it doesn't sell more than a few hundred copies or so, the publisher will use this as justification that there's no market for software on Linux. It never fails, the powers that be at Square Enix will say "Well, we almost covered the costs to port the game, but not quite so we're not doing it again."

Games are Time Sensitive

Game releases are time sensitive. Why else do you think publisher brag about first week sales of new release games? Consumers excited in playing your game are going to buy it right away, or in the first few months as their friends tell them how great it is. If I'm going to buy a game from 3 years ago, I expect it to be at the bargain price of $5, tossed in the digital equivalent of Wal-Mart's old DVD bin that you spend 20 minutes digging up to your elbows looking for a single movie you might have not seen already.

And according to InfoWorld, Linux gaming is on the rise. I'm not the only consumer who wants to ultimately do away with Windows at home. I've already expunged it from my work desktop and laptop years ago, but keep a dual-boot Windows install specifically for gaming.

I Want More Games on Linux

Don't get me wrong - I think Linux is poised to be an awesome gaming platform. I have a lot of titles for Linux and I want to see more. I've even bought a couple of games for Linux knowing I'd never play them just because it was for Linux. But this isn't the way to do it. Another failure arises when a publisher tries to dual-release but ends up putting out an untested piece of crap on Linux, such as Dying Light was at first. The Linux version performed horribly at first, and by the time they got things fixed I'd already finished the game in Windows and had no desire to play it again.

Games using the Unreal engine should be easily available on both Linux and Windows at release, and with similar performance. I've played Unreal Tournament on Linux, while my friends were in the same game running on Windows, and it's amazing. I actually had better graphics performance in Linux than Windows. Other engines also support cross platform, but very few developers take advantage of it.

Even Valve went wrong when they launched Steam Machines running Linux (SteamOS). They announced it and got everyone excited about it, but then took forever to actually release a product. Unfortunately by then most of us had given up and moved on to other Windows only games that were released.

In a perfect world, AAA titles like The Division would release simultaneously for both Windows and Linux (and the consoles as well.) Then again, as long as developers and publishers know that in order to play the game we're generally willing to dual-boot into Windows I don't see it changing anytime soon.

Posted by Tony on Apr 25, 2016 | Desktop Linux, Gaming