Xi3 and Valve at Odds Over Windows Versus Linux for Gaming

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RUSENSITIVESWEETNESS

High school drama club much?

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RUSENSITIVESWEETNESS

I have a feeling Microsoft had a hand in shifting Xi3's target.

Once games leave Windows, Windows is fucked.

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PCLinuxguy

for the most part: many people I know only use windows for games, no other use comes from it. Other than the console market, I could see MS taking a good hit if another platform scooped all the gamers from it.

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legionera

That explains why millions of business use Windows and other even invest in Windows! They were just playing COD all day long!! (sarcasm)

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Cythrawl

Valve is being really quiet about the steambox in general though, so this should be no surprise.

Let be totally honest here Linux is a total clusterfuck when it comes to GFX drivers, sound drivers, etc etc and unless this is all unified its going to be just as bad on the Steambox. This is totally not plug in and use and user friendly by a long shot and will distract customers.

Just trying to get Steam for Linux working on some hardware configs (some of which are either too new hardware wise or too old) can be like strapping broken glass to your feet and walking over hot lava at the same time.. I am not saying its like that for everyone (and it isnt) but to even have that level of uncertainty is going to doom it right from the get go.

I think, personally, that for the Steambox to be successful with Linux is that Valve needs (and may well be doing) its own Linux distro that is made exclusively for the Steambox (and its partners).

Also if they do this, bake down the hardware that is required for a "Steambox" maybe then AMD and Nvidia will have drivers more at the "top of priority" for that same Steambox (and I wouldn't be surprised if those drivers would not work on other distros either).

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H1N1theI

Agreed, mostly.

Linux drivers are... Well... Lacking, but I believe that Valve is actually writing it's own drivers or something.

And it's often not too difficult to modify the base linux kernel (hey, Archlinux did it) to make a new distro.

Hopefully, NVidia and AMD will see that linux is the future, and make drivers for it.

(Although, IMHO, the hurd kernel is even better.)

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LatiosXT

With the PS4 using PC hardware, and I'm sure Sony isn't licensing DirectX for the graphics API, we might have the day again when game companies offer a choice of renderer. Not to mention that I'm led to believe the OS for the PS3 was based off portions of FreeBSD (considering their licensing acknowledges it)

Linux based gaming might be in the future.

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Arbartenn

The idea of the steam box in theory is a good idea, but if it is restricted to only using the steam platform, then it creates a disadvantage for other games released on different platforms such as origin.

Another problem I can see with the piston is the fact that the possibilities for upgrades on things such as the GPU would be limited because of the size. If the console is a steam box then there should be a decent amount of room for PC upgrades because it would be running PC games instead of console games which means the graphic settings are more resource hogging.

In my opinion, I see the steam box doing fairly well in today's market because it is a cheaper option to get started involved in the PC gaming community and play with other friends who play PC games. However, I think the the "PC console" idea will prove to be a great success long term because of it will create a PC gaming standard for graphics and will create a cheaper alternative to a gaming PC without sacrificing the market for big, beefy custom builds.

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Arlips

As much as I hate to admit it, Valve is on the wrong side here with Linux.

Sure, they can port all their games to Linux to try and create incentive for customers/developers to use it, but at the end of the day 95% of developers ignore it and no matter what Valve does that won't change as long as Direct X is Windows only. Linux's market share for gaming is completely under Microsoft's control. Gabe is kidding himself if he thinks devs will all be convinced to choose Open GL over Direct X considering just how far behind the API is to its MS-owned competitor.

Valve's games will be ported to Linux, and a handful of other devs maybe, but that's it. They're not changing the game here and they're just digging themselves a hole by going with Linux if Valve truly intends to do so with their Steam box. With 90%+ of Steam's games unplayable on Linux, they won't be luring Steam Box customers in any time soon no matter how they price the thing.

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Paper Jam

I just want to add to what H1N1thel said by pointing out that someone has to take the first step, or nothing will change. First Valve moves to Linux, maybe next EA ports Origin to Linux, and then somebody else, and then all of a sudden there is a reason to choose Linux over Windows beyond wanting to be different.

And look at it this way, if this doesn't work it is likely that with Windows 9 all games will have to be purchased through the Windows Store. Do you like MS good enough to only want to do business through them?

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H1N1theI

I'll counter you on the GL point. OpenGL is actually *ahead* of DirctX, performance-wise and also in implementation. The problem is, you're comparing GL2.1 to DirectX11/11.1, which is not an accurate comparison. GL4 has all the goodies DX11 offers, and a bit more, tessellation, etc.

That being said, even with the handycap of the user/kernel space switches that GL has to do, it outperforms DX in ever single unbiased implementation.

That being said, if you were a good developer like valve or any other game that allows renderer switching, you abstracted over the API you're using, so it is nearly trivial to implement OpenGL by swapping the calls your abstracting over with the new calls.

90% of games are unplayable because they either use DX (Most major games do, but not too many indies), compiled for windows only (and the devs are too lazy to make a linux compile), or use windows-only frameworks (MS STDlib, .NET, etc.)

The Valve is mediating a great step forward for linux, because it's bringing attention to the platform, OpenGL, and POSIX.

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legionera

A lost cause. If you have 99% of the gamers using Windows, your path to the worldwide markets is broadly open. Why someone would invest in an exotic platform such as Linux? How many gamers are actually using Linux distros for gaming if gaming is mainly on Windows?

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TrollBot5000

+1.

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Fray

Deleted

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Fray

I love how I can buy games from Steam at low prices, and that the games are still there years later if I want to play them. No old CDS or codes needed.

I would be tempted to buy a Steam PC with email, a browser, a word processor and Steam games.

No MS Windows? Good, it serves them right for taking away the widgets from the desktop and making Windows 8 a pointless 'upgrade' for my money.

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AFDozerman

I don't blame Mr. Newell for wanting to go with linux for the steam box. It's hundreds of dollars cheaper and completely open to change. It's the perfect platform for creation and new ideas, an obvious choice for anyone who wants to do something radically different.

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Biceps

Some good comments below. I haven't gamed on Linux, buy would, as per the comment below, be interested to see what kind of differences exist between Linux and Windows (so OpenGL and DX9/10/11) in terms of graphical quality and fps. Might make a good (great, awesome, helpful, worthy) article for an upcoming MaxPC issue!!

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H1N1theI

Really, it's a matter of which API you prefer, and the market base of the game.

DX: Better hardware support (Modern hardware support at the very minimum, DX9), runs faster on windows, has an easy to use render call (a really direct render call, if I remember correctly).

OpenGL: Better implementation, faster (on unbiased tests), technically cleaner to work with, and there's always the OpenSource appeal.

They both have their strengths, but DX's biggest weakness is it's lack of open source. Within a month of DX11's new features, the Kronos group implemented a draft of GL that include the same features. The only reason MS's DirectX is still popular is because they had to *cripple* GL on windows in order to compete.

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LatiosXT

OpenGL isn't open source. It's an open standard. Khronos provides a sample implementation that is open source, but another group's implementation (say NVIDIA's) can be closed source.

An analogy to this is HTML and CSS, they're both open standards, but there are both open source implementations (Gecko, WebKit) and closed source implementations (Trident) to rendering HTML/CSS web pages.

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H1N1theI

Ah, apologies.

Yeah, I suppose, but usually, GL drivers and bindings are transparent and open-source...

Unlike, say, DirectX.

That was more of the message I'm aiming for.

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Philippe Lemay

<< Xi3 believes that the way to take this to market today is to do so with a Windows OS at the core, coupled with the ability to not just get to one platform/store for games, but to get access to all game stores/platforms, >>

But... that's exactly what Windows is trying to prevent. "Just one platform/store" is exactly what Gabe is worried about, he's concerned that Windows 9 will be a completely closed system with all games that might run on it only available through the "Windows App store".

The only reason Windows seems "open" at the moment is because 92% of everyone uses it. That's not really open-ness, that's a monopoly that's being forced on the industry.

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brc1980

The thing no one seems to be talking about is, it doesn't matter what valve really wants to do. Yes they can port there own games and make future games for linux. But until the other studios get on board. Windows will be the place to game on a PC.

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EKRboi

Yup, pretty much my thoughts exactly. Of the 73 games I own on steam only 5-6 of them are available on linux. The other big elephant in the room is the fact that the games that do run in linux do NOT looks as good running on OpenGL as they do with DX9/10/11, no matter what some writer says in some article. I have screenshots somewhere that I took of serious sam 3 in the same place from both linux and windows.. there is a big difference... its in the details. If I wasn't into the details I would be playing on an xbox or a ps3 and wouldn't have spent buckets on my gaming rig. On top of that SLI performance is pretty much horrible. My sli 580's slaughter SE3 in windows, in linux im lucky to get 40fps.

I for one like linux and use it regularly and would love for linux gaming to catch up to windows.. I would do away with windows entirely. But it is years behind I would say.

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Deanjo

" in linux im lucky to get 40fps."

Well something is seriously screwed with your setup then.

Real SS3 figures from Linux

All eyecandy cranked to the max including bloom @ 2560x1440 (vsync disabled)

3824 frames 14.299 seconds 267.43 fps ( 3.74 ms/f) 26.501 fps variability

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MageSTYK

Xi3, sounds like they lost Valve by trying to push Windows OS. I remember reading that Gabe/Valve want to ship the SteamBox'es with Linux.
By doing so the Piston could have been cheaper because no fee was going to Microsoft, Also it makes all the sense in the world to slowly creep away from Windows too.

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WretchedSoul

Most companies today I believe, look to start making money fast. To get the fast dollar and then get ready for the next best thing. Xi3's ideas of using a Windows OS would be the fastest way to get their money back though in the long run could possibly hinder them. While Linux is still needing a little bit of work to transfer the triple A games, which most people want anyway. Thus hindering themselves from making the almost guaranteed fast buck using Linux other than Windows. I also believe the future is in Linux. I'm all in favor of using Linux and will be following this plan as it unfolds.

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Peanut Fox

I don't know if not having a Microsoft license would have helped the price much. That thing is crazy expensive considering the hardware.

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Shadow Death

Sounds to me like he's trying to black mail Gabe Newell, by releasing this info, into using a Windows OS instead of Linux... Good luck with that one Xi3... If you lose Valve as a partner/customer you will definitely lose a ton of money.

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wintercoder

The pouting you hear is Gabe in the corner, slowly building up to one of his infamous temper tantrums.

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