September 24, 2013

Analysis: Can SteamOS Drag the PC Game Industry Over to Linux?

Right after I wrote up today's news regarding Valve's announcement of a Linux-based SteamOS as central to its living room PC gaming efforts, I tweeted the following instant analysis: "If anyone has the clout to drag the gaming industry towards Linux, it's Valve." After thinking about it for a bit, I think Valve has a better than decent shot of actually pulling the transition off, especially if it wisely utilizes its position as what amounts to the biggest first-party developer in PC gaming.

The history of Windows' current near-hegemony in the PC gaming space is well known. Windows (and MS-DOS before it) had the most users, so developers coded their games primarily (or exclusively) for Windows. This attracted more gaming-focused users to Windows, which gave developers even more reasons to focus on Windows. It's a cycle that led to a widespread lock-in effect for both PC gamers and game developers, and it's been incredibly hard for other operating systems to break over the years.

Read more at ArsTechnica.

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