However, there was already concern in the industry over Microsoft’s move. The Xbox One and the Surface were already secretly in the works and some of the rumors about them and what they would mean to the industry forced a few hands. One of the people that spoke out very early against the way Microsoft was moving was Gabe Newell. Newell felt that Microsoft was going to hurt the gaming industry with their close eco system and attempts to push more and more people to only use Microsoft services like Xbox Live. Newell decided to begin work on an alternative for gamers, the SteamOS. This OS would be Linux based and would provide a low cost (in some cases free) option for gamers to use in place of Microsoft’s Windows 8.
As with many projects that push into Linux country the consumer market has been slow to react in any real positive manner. Downloads of the OS images has been pretty good, but nothing that is earth shattering or would be any indication that SteamOS (and the SteamBox) will be a success in the market. One of the biggest reasons for this is that the OS has limited hardware support (little to no driver support for Intel or AMD GPUs) and the game selection is also very small. Gamers are less likely to switch to a system that has a limited game portfolio which will hurt SteamOS unless this turns around.
However, all of that might change in the near future. We are hearing that there will possibly be multiple companies announcing Linux support and/or development at GDC (Game Developer’s Conference). Crytek has announced that they will be showing off CryEngine running with full, native Linux support. What we do not know is if this means unilateral support for Linux of if CryTek is only looking to move forward with Linux Support for CryEngine 3 which is geared toward independent developers.
In reality it does not matter which of the two is what is happening. The move by CryTek to support Linux and by extension SteamOS is one that will help to motivate other companies. Additionally, if rumors of other Linux announcements are true then this movement could already be happening. It is something very interesting considering how long Linux has been trying to compete with Windows. We have always maintained that Linux would not truly be able to compete with Windows until the gaming community got behind it… Now that looks like it is going to happen.
Tell us what you think in our Forum