Gaming On Linux

The selection of modern game titles that run natively on Linux tends to be limited because software companies develop for the platform with the largest user base (Windows) and they tend to get tunnel vision when they do so.

This desire to target a larger general audience (instead of the smaller more appropriate audience) is what led to Atari/Activision deciding to thumb their nose at the very geek community that had made their Neverwinter Nights game such a huge success (Gee, who would have thought that geeks would like a comprehensive and highly modifiable Dungeons & Dragons game?!). So when they were developing NWN 2, some genius over there in a suit decided that they would use the non-standard, proprietary Microsoft crap that locked them in to releasing their game on Microsoft platforms only, thus shutting out a large chunk of their original community with a lot of bad feelings as a result.

The decision to do this was based on their desire to put out an XBox version and they painted themselves in a corner to do it. From the number of “potential” users standpoint, I’m sure it impressed their board and shareholders very much. But from a “practical” users standpoint they were inexplicably shunning their target market; all the geeks who in large part only run Linux. So it’s no surprise that there was much jubilation when they were able to overcome the technical hurdles to publish an XBox version NWN2 an the PC version never exceeded the original in popularity.

You’d think that by now more of the game developers would have a better clue and wouldn’t lock themselves in like that, but sadly, they continue to do so.

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~ by ghendar on February 8, 2009.