I am seeing a lot of trends that indicate Linux gaming will be getting big in the future. In this article, I will walk through some of these trends.
The rise of inexpensive game bundles designed to work on Linux (like the Humble Bundle) is huge. They are making Linux a first class platform. In addition, the anti-DRM movement plays right into Linux's open nature. Lastly, it is interesting to see that Linux users consistently pay more for their bundles on an aggregate basis when compared to Windows or Mac users.
Seeing the success of Apple's closed Appstore, Microsoft has developed their own for Windows 8. If they have success, you can imagine Windows becoming even more closed over time. This leaves Linux (maybe Android) as the open platform for people to run to. Now, I still do not think Linux is ready for prime time on the desktop, but I bet a lot of gamers are tech savvy enough to use it.
Being able to publish Unity games to Linux is fantastic. In a recent Subvert Games blog post, they show their game "Blackreef Pirates" running under Ubuntu Linux on the Unity 4 beta. A few years ago, I tried running Linux on my laptop, but one of the main reasons that I stopped is that I could not play current games. I see this excuse changing in the near future.
In another significant announcement, Valve will be supporting Linux on their platform. This is probably mostly in response to Microsoft's moves with Windows 8. It has been fascinating to see the chess moves Valve has been making. Look at the following:
It has been hypothesized that Valve is creating its own console called the "Steambox". At the time, Valve denied these rumors. It seems Valve is more interested in partnering with hardware vendors as opposed to building something themselves, but they basically said they will do what they have to do. With the success of the Ouya Kickstarter, I foresee in the near future some company (maybe even Valve) developing a simple to use Linux console that allows you to run Steam on your big screen TV. Time will tell.
Nowadays, everyone talks about mobile. However, do not ignore the trends for gaming on PCs and consoles. To me, the future seems bright for games on Linux. Are you ready?