View Full Version : Linux gaming on a linux-centric console (or the 'niX-Box)??

Steve H
April 30th, 2007, 04:36 PM
I have been browsing the various threads in the cafe today (always working hard and getting paid for it!!), and I have noticed a few threads mentioning how gaming is the key to getting market share for OS's or how Linux isn't making ground on M$ because of gaming. Well, this got me a-pondering, and lead me to ask this:

Would a 'niX-Box console help to get Linux in the mainstream?

In, my opinion it would drive some of the games manufacturers to port games to Linux distros. It would not have any hardware problems as all the hardware would have been chosen for optimum compatibilty. Also because Linux has an inherently smaller memory footprint etc, it should (hopefully) work faster than a competing version on other consoles (given the same-ish hardware specs)

I know lots of people have put Linux on X-box's, but in my opinion that defeats the point. It still was developed for, and by, M$, in order to push DirectX on the gaming community, so the hardware is geared to that end. I'm talking about doing the same thing but with the linux kernel in mind.

What do you guys (or gals) think? And would it help put Linux in the mainstream? Would it push the Development of Linux Gaming?

April 30th, 2007, 06:10 PM
i think yes and no, not very many computer games are console games, and visa versa, though i could be a step up, this new console would have soe pretty steep compitition.

April 30th, 2007, 07:29 PM
It won't work. The business model for consoles & their games is not that simple.

There has been a thread about this before were the details were discussed pretty well.

April 30th, 2007, 08:20 PM
Yeah, the Console itself makes a loss generally because of the rush to release next gen hardware at a "reasonable" price. Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo usually make their money back on games sales (say Game Dev's get 25-30 per game and whichever company takes the rest) and that's probably a nice estimate for the Game Dev's.

April 30th, 2007, 08:39 PM
wouldn't work. Personally I don't think games will ever be big on Linux. It just isn't (IMO) going to happen. Even with Dell selling Ubuntu pre-loaded PCs (they ARE doing that aren't they?) I don't think the market share will ever be large enough to get any sort of commercial gaming support. It would be nice but I don't think it will happen.

Aside from popular belief games are not really the tipping point for the adoption of Linux OSes. Many business rely on Windows for their businesses and have a lot of Windows-only software that they depend on. Games would be nice, but in reality only a very smal percent of the population are dedicated PC gamers, and many of them already dual-boot for that. Also, Linux is still somewhat a mysterious name to most and it immediately thought to be the "geek OS" or "only for nerds." Also, while some might not care about it as much as others, there are certain legal aspects of using Linux like not knowing which codecs are legal in what countries, etc. Also, there are just some applicatios that don't work in Linux that people really like to use.

April 30th, 2007, 11:06 PM
I beg to differ that gaming is not important for Linux, though I agree that a niX-Box would never work.

IMO Linux is ready for the office worker and has been for the last couple of years, the reason why it has not moved into the offices is because there is no or barely any knowledge of it. Home usage is where people "learn" how stuff is done, and seeing as most people who work in offices, not to mention the guy/girl resposible for purchasing new computers, often have kids and kids want to game they run MS.

When the decision then is made to purchase new computers and/or new software the decision to go with MS instead of Linux is simple for the small to medium sized company since they know that their workers will more or less be familliar with the workings of the system.

So in order to penetrate the market that Linux really deserves to be dominating, it has to penetrate the market that is already almost monopolized by MS, the gaming market. Without this market the families are going to be hard to win over, and without a strong footing in the families the small to medium sized buisnesses are still going to favour MS, simply because training can be cut down and a serious down time when switching systems can be avoided.

Steve H
May 1st, 2007, 09:00 AM
That is kind of what I'm getting at, timpino. I think putting a "friendly face" on Linux is half the battle. Linux by rights should dominate the PC software market, but due to FUD it is has been given a bad rep as geeky or complicated. I reckon this could be combated in some way by producing either more Linux games, or at least a Linux powered gaming console. I does seem that alot of decisions in the computing world are based on "perceived impressions" and not hands on experience. If that cycle of "Linux is for geeks" could be broken then the world could be powered by a more OSS based system, not too mention more gaming for the Linux crowd.

It won't work. The business model for consoles & their games is not that simple.

There has been a thread about this before were the details were discussed pretty well.

Thanks for your brievity mips, but where is this thread....I searched and couldn't find it.

It seems that some of the Linux community seem hell bent on saying things won't/don't or shouldn't work, and then complain about not having the market.

Lets not forget the console industry is still relatively young, and only dominated by 3 major companies, what is there stopping something else breaking in to the market??

May 1st, 2007, 10:18 AM
Thanks for your brievity mips, but where is this thread....I searched and couldn't find it.

It's here somewhere, in the Community Cafe I think. As you know it is a biatch to search for stuff in the community forums.

I will give it a whirl and try and find it.

May 1st, 2007, 11:11 AM
Microsoft thinks gaming is important.
Thats why they made DirectX, even back when Windows didn't have a proper standard for scanners. They concentrated more on gaming than an API for scanners.
The attempt to lock gamers into Vista with DirectX 10 is also an example.

The console industry is at least 30 years old, so I wouldn't consider it exactly young.
But it has always been a very dynamic industry, the margin for error is small, because it's an expensive industry to enter.

A more interesting question IMO, would be if it's possible to make an impact in the console market with Linux, and what would it take.
Maybe the OLPC could serve as a model for what's possible.

Lenovo could make a modified OLPC, with better specs, and launch it as a gaming console.
But they would need some gaming companies to launch games at the release date, to make it have any chance at all.

On the Importance of gaming:

Sorry to generalize like this.
But all those that say games doesn't matter, don't know the consumer industry.

There has never been a really successful personal computer without good games.
The market is changing, so maybe this situation will also change.
The Internet and multimedia may have moved games as a priority down a notch.

Below is an estimate for a generalized priority list, of what a computer should be able to do.
If any of these fails to work, the system will by most users be considered incomplete or defunct.
Individuals may have different priorities, but this is an average.

Percieved list:

1: Internet: Home banking ( java ), you-tube TV/Radio ( flash and Media codecs ), e-mail, shopping, ordinary browsing.
2: Home Office: printers, scanners, word processing, spreadsheets, databases, calendars, taxes,
3: Hobby activities, could be whatever and the importance vary hugely.
4: M&M Music & Movies: codecs, drivers, surround sound, media players, TV connections, remote controls.
5: Gaming: 3D sound, fast graphics, game controls.

The interesting thing is, that consumer behavior is inconsistent between what the consumer think he/she need/want, and the actual use of the computer.
Most buyers of a new PC do NOT consider gaming very important.
But in actual use it is.

Marketing psychology explains this as an ordinary behavioral pattern.
The user/customer will attempt to rationalize in a way that validates it the most.

Steve H
May 2nd, 2007, 08:20 AM
Thanks for that, BuffaloX, I think thats one of the most intelligent answers I've seen in here.....

I'm glad someone else can see the gaming industry for the driving force its seems to be in both software and hardware arenas. I have long thought that although the predominate software sales in the world seem to be "Business Productivity" it is the gaming software that drives acceptance and cutting edge coding. I mean just look at the difference between a 1st generation PS2 game and the games that were coming out at the end of it's days (now!!). There is a world of a difference, as each software house tries to build (or out compete) on the accomplishments of it's predecessors. pushing the bondaries of what came be done with a set hardware formula.

The model that M$ used to push the X-box on everyone is not the only one that works, just look at the Wii. Nintendo are not having to operate at a loss on every model because they are not playing the "same game" (pardon the pun). They have opted for a different model based on different gaming philosophies and strategies. Maybe this is the way a Linux based box could go. Don't try and play with the bigger boys, make your own market!!

I'm sure this could help the Linux acceptance cause.....surely!! Or maybe I'm being too simplistic and optimistic!!


May 2nd, 2007, 07:43 PM
Thanks for that, BuffaloX, I think thats one of the most intelligent answers I've seen in here.....

Wow thanx. :)

Another thing that I was wondering about. AFAIK when games are sold for consoles, I think they have to pay some sort of license.
I would think most gaming companies would be interested in avoiding that, and it should be a very good reason to support Linux as a gaming platform.