Linux is, in many ways, one of the most divisive phenomena that exists in the computing world today. Of course, much of the discourse that surrounds these operating systems remains jovial, light-hearted, and borne of that same tech-head rivalry that divides Apple and Android Users, or those who think wearable tech is the future vs those who cannot fathom a difference between, say, the capabilities of the iPhone and the iWatch.
In essence, there are Linux devotees and there are Linux naysayers – and very few people exist in the middle with absolutely nothing to say on the matter.
One area that has long kept Linux’s supporters somewhat quiet, however, is that of gaming. For the supporters, there is one notable solace – the fact that the fault does not lie with Linux as much as it does developers and distributors who seem to overlook the sizable user base crying out for better variety, better gameplay, and better titles.
So, while Linus users are able to take full advantage of Proton, this is only half the story, and the past few years have featured a great, gaping hole where game distribution is sorely lacking.
However, there is plenty to suggest that limitations in gaming will soon be a thing of the past for Linux users, and that 2021 is already preparing to give way to a brand new roster of titles and opportunities. Read more below.
Web-Based Gameplay Continues to Improve
While this one may not be exclusive to Linux users, it is a fact of life that web-based games capable of running exclusively within our existing browsers continue to represent one of the most exciting arms of the global gaming industry.
Despite the fact that they represent the ancestor to modern PC gaming, many of the world’s oldest favourites – from browser-based RPG RuneScape to sites offering the best in online poker, the genres that stood at the birth of the entire industry retain pole position more than twenty years on.
There has, however, been a renewed interest in those titles that did not prove quite so capable of evolving alongside the internet throughout the 2000s and 2010s. For instance, a wide range of browser games pay homage to earlier trends, from the Space Invaders inspired title 10 Bullets to social media giant Twitter’s new gaming feature.
Valve Brings Steam to Linux – and Users?
Valve’s interest in improving gameplay opportunities for Linux users is not entirely new. The emphasis they are placing on game development for Proton has meant that many existing Linux users have been able to enjoy Triple-A titles without needing to run a Windows Emulator to do so.
In their own review of 2020, Steam announced that they were focusing on a new commitment to “putting together new ways for prospective users to get into Linux gaming” – a fact which hints at the possibility for a dramatic U-turn in Linux’s rocky journey through the gaming landscape. Where once it was Linux users’ solemn duty to define Linux gaming, and to extol the benefits of Proton without paying attention to the gaping holes on the side of development, it now looks as though users can anticipate a landscape of tangible growth.
While Steam remains relatively cagey about the precise nature of their plans – projected to be unveiled in the near future, whatever ‘near’ means in this instance – there has already been plenty of speculation over the possible ways in which efforts to enhance take-up among new users could come about.
From creating their own streaming service to rival the likes of Stadia, Luna and xCloud, to releasing their own line of hardware, seemingly every possibility under the sun has been entertained already by Linux users who are, understandably, incredibly eager to find out more about what’s in store for Linux Gaming, Proton, and Linux gamers in the future – and whether or not we will finally be able to form a definitive answer to the question, is Linux good for gaming?
Until then, however, we will have to remain patient, and continue to extol the many benefits of utilising Linux for gaming – while conveniently ignoring those long standing gaps which, with a little hope, will be filled and quickly forgotten about over the coming years.