Alienware exec believes Steam Machines will give Linux gaming a 30 fold boost

A product manager for Alienware has expressed optimism for the overall gaming scenario on the Linux ecosystem post-launch of Steam Machines in the next year.

During the E3 2014 gaming conference last week, Alienware's Marc Diana said that more developers are using OpenGL and creating games with Linux in mind than before, with the impending launch of Steam Machines.

Diana expects 700-plus titles to be launched alongside Steam Machines which will be running the Linux-based SteamOS. OpenGL based games are generally easier to port to other platforms with minimum effort, which is a factor that would be beneficial for Linux gamers. Diana also expressed that, with the availability of a wide variety of games and sales of Steam Machines, Linux gaming would increase 30 fold, "overnight". Though it's worth mentioning that, currently, Linux-powered machines only account for 1% of Steam users.

Steam Machines which were expected to be launched by as many as 14 manufacturers during this year, are currently being tested and are expected to be widely available by next year, as Valve recently delayed the program.

Although the success of Steam Machines cannot be predicted so early, some manufacturers such as Alienware itself, are playing it safe by dual booting these computers with Windows 8.1. Alienware is actually launching its future Steam Machine this year with Windows 8.1 installed instead of waiting for the official release of SteamOS.

Source: PC Gamer | Image via Origin PC

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During the E3 2014 gaming conference last week, Alienware's Marc Diana said that more developers are using OpenGL and creating games with Linux in mind than before, with the impending launch of Steam Machines.

Such great news. I couldn't be happier :D

OpenGL works on every platform. Why would someone go a platform specific route (DX) in the age of platform agnosticism. It's financial suicide. You want to be able to target as many people and platforms as possible, and that means OpenGL.

So this is essentially a scheme to sucker people in to buying gimped computers which play only a few games and nothing else. ######.

_Alexander said,
So this is essentially a scheme to sucker people in to buying gimped computers which play only a few games and nothing else. ######.

You mean like.. er.. a newly released console (XB1, PS4) perhaps? It will grow in time as it becomes a primary target platform for AAA titles.

if this box also integrates WinE that specifically geared for games compatibility purposes, --if Steam could do that--, it will boost the size of their possible game libraries by massive amounts.

This will place Steam Machine above Ps4 or Xbox1 on Gaming-machine-master-race stratum.

The important part is that new games, especially AAA titles are coming to GNU/Linux at the same time as Windows / OS X / Xbox. Older titles can be streamed or backported if in high demand.

Cyborg_X said,
30*0=0

Is the console market size zero? I wasn't aware of that. Steam Machines are going to cannibalise that market big time.

Actually, the approach is good: it's considering the games as apps and the OS as insignificant, like a console; that way if i want to play any supported game i don't have to start my Windows machine that also has productivity software and such, as i can play on my Steam Machine, like a console but with the power of a true gaming rig, better graphics then a PS4/Xbox1 and (i wish) more cheaper.

I do see a big market for this, as i have several friends that want to play games in full glory but are disappointed with the consoles, the expensive Windows gaming rig and the lack of AAA games in Linux. The big question is: when will the AAA games gonna launch on a Steam Machine? Because those are the ones that sell the hardware.

Here's hoping this might also kick traditional OEM's into offering more preinstalled Linux PC's. And not some custom crap this time. A decent well supported distro.

I'd love to see Linux as an OS option on every OEM website. And not relegated to some hard to find url a la Dell.

I could see it happening, but not in the haphazard way that Valve is doing it. I believe the PS3/PS4 is based on FreeBSD so there are companies out there that can/will target *nix.

simplezz said,

1995 called and they want their comment back.

It'll keep being funny until it's true. Still waiting for that one distro that covers all bases for the complete novice to the 1337 H4x00RR.

Not 30%, 30 times. That's such an arbitrarily large number it's hard to figure where it's coming from considering the long history of Linux on the desktop going nowhere.

MrHumpty said,
30 boost to a 1.10% share on steam. Sure, big deal.

Let me recalculate that for You. 30 fold from 1.10%=33.3% ... do You still think it isn't a big deal?

Not 30%, 30 times. That's such an arbitrarily large number it's hard to figure where it's coming from considering the long history of Linux on the desktop going nowhere.

Steam machines aren't meant to replace your desktop, though

Yogurth said,

Let me recalculate that for You. 30 fold from 1.10%=33.3% ... do You still think it isn't a big deal?

It's a wild claim, kind of like how Windows Phone was supposed to be at 30% market share by 2015 or whatever IDC said. To the point, nobody can accurately predict what will happen.

Yogurth said,

Let me recalculate that for You. 30 fold from 1.10%=33.3% ... do You still think it isn't a big deal?

33.3%... that's precisely the number that makes his 30 fold claim downright ridiculous.

Nothing they do will make Linux even remotely as popular as OS X... which is struggling at 8%.

OS X isn't "struggling" ... Apple utterly dominates the market segment in which it competes, to the extent that it's difficult for manufacturers like Asus to make premium machines because Apple has such a stranglehold on so many segments of the supply chain.

If Apple wanted "marketshare" for the sake of marketshare, which would be quite stupid and antithetical to their business model, they could just do what everyone else does and make a cheap plasticky piece of crap, slap a $399 price tag on it, and call it a day.

Microsoft does the same thing with the Surface Pro line and I keep seeing people whine about how "expensive" they are. They're not expensive, they're just not cheap, in any sense of the word. But you can bet Microsoft isn't trying to dominate the market with the Surface Pro -- if they were they'd make it a cheap, plasticky piece of crap, sell a bajillion of them, and then crow about how much "marketshare" they have all the way to the poor house.

Rob Dowdy said,
OS X isn't "struggling" ... Apple utterly dominates the market segment in which it competes, to the extent that it's difficult for manufacturers like Asus to make premium machines because Apple has such a stranglehold on so many segments of the supply chain.

If Apple wanted "marketshare" for the sake of marketshare, which would be quite stupid and antithetical to their business model, they could just do what everyone else does and make a cheap plasticky piece of crap, slap a $399 price tag on it, and call it a day.

Microsoft does the same thing with the Surface Pro line and I keep seeing people whine about how "expensive" they are. They're not expensive, they're just not cheap, in any sense of the word. But you can bet Microsoft isn't trying to dominate the market with the Surface Pro -- if they were they'd make it a cheap, plasticky piece of crap, sell a bajillion of them, and then crow about how much "marketshare" they have all the way to the poor house.

TIL: Apple is quite happy with 8% marketshare worldwide. It's actually lower last I checked Windows is 1.5 Billion installs and OSX is 80 Million. Their business model is to make money, increasing marketshare is just that. Do they to make $300 machines? No, could they make 500-700 machines? Yes. The problem is, even they have realized that their saving grace is going to be iOS and not OSX. I wonder what that will translate into over the next 5 years.

I guess I should add, to everybody in this thread that I meant... It's so egregiously insane to believe that is going to happen that who cares what this guy says.

Enron said,
It's a wild claim, kind of like how Windows Phone was supposed to be at 30% market share by 2015 or whatever IDC said. To the point, nobody can accurately predict what will happen.
Honestly, Enron, I don't see that as being crazy. I think it's a lofty goal. But, the marketshare it's been able to garner already with such entrenched players as well as Microsoft's obvious drive to move it forward make it a great contender to hit those numbers. I don't think it will happen... but the likelihood that Linux will hit 30% marketshare is insanely lower that that of Windows Phone hitting 30% marketshare. Frankly, I expect 20% is a more realistic number for WP. I'd never say anything more than 5-10% for Linux in the next decade.

MrHumpty said,
30 boost to a 1.10% share on steam. Sure, big deal.

Take a look at the entire console market. Even if SM's take just 10-15% of that, it will be a major win for Valve and GNU/Linux.

simplezz said,

Take a look at the entire console market. Even if SM's take just 10-15% of that, it will be a major win for Valve and GNU/Linux.

I will get a Stream Machine too but not because of an OS. I already have Slackware Linux and Windows 8.1.

It comes down to two things. Drivers and games.

If there are decent drivers available for graphics and audio then we are more likely to see more games available for Linux/SteamOS.

While I love open source software and have been a Linux user since 1999 I don't really see the benefit for Linux as a gaming OS though. I mean it is cool and everything to have competition to Windows but would I switch over just because it is free? Nope.

bithush said,
It comes down to two things. Drivers and games.
If there are decent drivers available for graphics and audio then we are more likely to see more games available for Linux/SteamOS.

These days it's a non-issue. The FOSS drivers are pretty good on the AMD side as well.

bithush said,

While I love open source software and have been a Linux user since 1999 I don't really see the benefit for Linux as a gaming OS though. I mean it is cool and everything to have competition to Windows but would I switch over just because it is free? Nope.

The benefit is that it brings people, and thus attention to the OS. That means better support all round. Even for us veterans ;)

It has the potential to be a game changer in the console space. The OS will be free, unlike Windows. That means lower prices for consumers.

simplezz said,
These days it's a non-issue. The FOSS drivers are pretty good on the AMD side as well.

I wish. Several of my systems here run AMD GPU's and the FOSS drivers have less than stellar gaming performance by far. The proprietary ones are better, but still not perfect by any stretch.

Max Norris said,

I wish. Several of my systems here run AMD GPU's and the FOSS drivers have less than stellar gaming performance by far.

It depends which GPU you have. Some like the 5k series run really well, almost on par with the proprietary. Use which ever works best.

Max Norris said,

The proprietary ones are better, but still not perfect by any stretch.

No worse than the Windows drivers from my experience. I've had a few buggy and non-performant ATI/Amd gpu drivers there as well. In general that's the case because the hardware itself is proprietary. It would be nice to have a completely open hardware and software gpu ecosystem.

Max Norris said,

I wish. Several of my systems here run AMD GPU's and the FOSS drivers have less than stellar gaming performance by far. The proprietary ones are better, but still not perfect by any stretch.

Shoot I am wishing and waiting when AMD will support their drivers on Windows. Signed AMD phenom II and ati 7850 users

simplezz said,

These days it's a non-issue. The FOSS drivers are pretty good on the AMD side as well.


The benefit is that it brings people, and thus attention to the OS. That means better support all round. Even for us veterans ;)

It has the potential to be a game changer in the console space. The OS will be free, unlike Windows. That means lower prices for consumers.

Windows doesn't compete in the console space, these are contested (for the most part) by Xbox and PS, both of which don't run Windows. Steam has zero chance in this space, as it requires cheap hardware and very big pockets.

As to Windows not being free, that has been the case for as long as the OS exists. In the last twenty years it hasn't lead to people choosing GNU/Linux.

And why would they ? The OEM version of Windows is 20-30 bucks and we already have seen OEM's selling devices with either Linux or Windows for the exact same price, so as usual the OEM pockets the difference.

Steam OS and the steam box is dead in the water. The setup valve has chosen leads to a whole range of hardware configurations at prices that not even approach the PS or Xbox. Coupled with the availability of games (especially in the triple A category) and it is hard to see how they would entice prospective console users to choose a steambox. Meanwhile Sony and Microsoft have very deep pockets so they could easily ensure exclusives to further marginalize the steambox.

Valve tries to create a hybrid approach that forgets to offer the benefit of consoles and the benefits of PC gaming.

sinetheo said,
Shoot I am wishing and waiting when AMD will support their drivers on Windows. Signed AMD phenom II and ati 7850 users

Erm, my one system is using an 7870 along with a socket AM3 CPU and it has signed drivers, works wonderfully with 7 and 8.1U1... wouldn't let you install them if they weren't. What's the issue?

Max Norris said,

Erm, my one system is using an 7870 along with a socket AM3 CPU and it has signed drivers, works wonderfully with 7 and 8.1U1... wouldn't let you install them if they weren't. What's the issue?

I wouldn't say wonderfully. I've experienced a few graphical glitches and performance problems since I bought my R9 270. I haven't had the same problems with the Linux proprietary drivers, although I switched to the FOSS version a while ago anyway.

The point being, buggy driver issues can arise on any platform. Again, if we had open hardware and software working in tandem, I think those issues would occur less often and get fixed quicker.

Well, ignoring an exec who wants to hype up their product before it's sold.. assuming they can find buyers who can't tell the difference between 12000 and 1000 titles, forgets that there's other vendors of games too and doesn't look at other consoles, I'm sure it'll sell just fine.

Max Norris said,
assuming they can find buyers who can't tell the difference between 12000 and 1000 titles

I don't think ordinary users go around counting. All they want is the big name titles that everyone's playing. Neither XB1 nor PS4 had many titles when they launched. That's the market these devices are competing in.

The nice side effect is that anything that targets SteamOS, will automatically be compatible with all GNU/Linux distros. Let's hope traditional OEM's sit up and take notice and start offering Linux as an OS option on all PC's.

Just so you know, Linux has far more than 1k titles.

simplezz said,
I don't think ordinary users go around counting. All they want is the big name titles that everyone's playing.

Well that's kind of a double negative there.. they don't care how many there are, yet they want all the titles?

simplezz said,
The nice side effect is that anything that targets SteamOS, will automatically be compatible with all GNU/Linux distros. Let's hope traditional OEM's sit up and take notice and start offering Linux as an OS option on all PC's.

And therein lies the rub. Just looking at Steam's numbers, and pretending that other vendors don't exist, Windows currently makes up 95.5% of their customers. Going to be a hard sell trying to get developers to plunk down the major money it costs to develop games for such a small market share and/or a device that's got a huge question mark out of the gate. Oh, and by the way, traditional OEM's have offered Linux on PC's in the past, nothing new there.

simplezz said,
Just so you know, Linux has far more than 1k titles.

As it stands right now:
Windows - 12531 - http://store.steampowered.com/...p;sort_order=ASC&page=1
Linux - 1454 - http://store.steampowered.com/...p;sort_order=ASC&page=1

Speaks for itself. I was merely rounding numbers.