PC Gaming News – Steam on linux & DRM free games.

This post is something of an aggregate update to previous articles written on gaming topics, due to recent news on a DRM free experiment and increased hope for linux gaming.

The updates follow:

Having written on March the 16th about how the porting of the Steam service to Apple OSX would improve the prospects of linux gaming:

It’s not going to happen overnight, games developers will need to become comfortable developing cross-platform titles for release on PC and Mac, and they will have to gain confidence in the ability of both OpenGL to keep up with GPU development, and of Unix GPU drivers to attain the same quality as their windows counterparts, but if by the end of 2010 we have at least a couple of AAA titles released as native Linux versions, such as ID’s Rage, then other developers may look to follow their lead in 2011. At that point we really will be talking about the year of desktop Linux as being upon us!

It now appears that Steam is heading to linux directly, which raises the interesting possibility of Valve games such as Half Life 2, Left 4 Dead, and Team Fortress 2 being available to play natively on linux:

Valve Corporation has today rolled out their Steam Mac OS X client to the general public and confirmed something we have been reporting for two years: the Steam content delivery platform and Source Engine are coming to Linux. This news is coming days after we discovered proof in Steam’s Mac OS X Client of Linux support and subsequently found more Linux references and even the unreleased Steam Linux client. The day has finally come and Linux gamers around the world have a reason to rejoice, as this is the biggest news for the Linux gaming community that sees very few tier-one titles.

Similar to Valve’s strategy with Mac OS X, it’s expected that they too will be providing Linux game releases on the same day as Windows / Mac OS X for their new titles and that there will be first-rate support across all platforms. Portal II should mark the first of these efforts.

This is terrific news considering the last major tier-one game release with a native Linux client was Enemy Territory: Quake Wars back in 2007. There was also supposed to be Unreal Tournament 3 for Linux with claims of it still being worked on, but two years later that has yet to see the light of day, except now it could with the release of the Steam middleware.

Having written on March 20th about Ubisoft’s deeply flawed anti-piracy platform for PC games and the possible alternatives that might exist:

So where did Ubisoft go wrong with the introduction of their Online Services Platform (OSP)? After all, can you not install a game using the platform on any PC you choose, just as you can with one obtained from GOG? Further, is it not every bit as convenient as a Bohemia Interactive game such as Armed Assault 2 in that you don’t have to keep fishing out the disk from the grubby pile of game detritus that festers on your desk? Finally, the platform is an online digital distribution, digital rights management, multiplayer and communications platform developed just like Steam, and every body loves Steam do they not?

It now appears that someone has comprehensively demonstrated that DRM free games can prove massively successful and generate so much revenue that those games can even viably be open-sourced:

The Humble Indie Bundle experiment has been a massive success beyond our craziest expectations. So far, in just over 7 days, 123,335 generous contributors have put down an incredible $1,128,086. Of this, contributors chose to allocate 30.94% to charity: $348,974 for the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Child’s Play Charity. I have made a page for the full breakdown including credit card fees in a JSON format here (json).

Now it’s our turn to give back. As of 5/11/10, Aquaria, Gish, Lugaru HD, and Penumbra Overture pledge to go open source. We are preparing the sources right now and will be releasing them ASAP. We spent last night preparing Lugaru and it is available now. The code is still a little rough (no Visual Studio project yet, for instance) but hopefully with the help of the community we can rapidly make it more accessible to everyone.

Note, the games will be “free as in ‘free speech’, not as in ‘free beer'”: see each license for the full, finalized details as they come out very hopefully this week — stay tuned. It is the underlying code that will be made available to everyone.

Good news all round I am sure you will agree. 🙂

4 responses to “PC Gaming News – Steam on linux & DRM free games.

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