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Carmack: Supporting Linux isn't worth the hassle at the moment

Carmack: Supporting Linux isn't worth the hassle at the moment

February 6, 2013 | By Mike Rose

February 6, 2013 | By Mike Rose
More: Console/PC, Programming, Business/Marketing

"I don't think that a good business case can be made for officially supporting Linux for mainstream games today"
- id Software co-founder John Carmack admits that he doesn't think Linux has a very bright future in video games -- at least not right now.

PC games giant Valve has been showing huge support for Linux games recently, adding Linux titles to its online catalogue, and stating that its upcoming living room PC will run Linux.

However, Carmack this week questioned whether it's actually worth bothering with Linux, when gamers can often use open source software Wine to run Windows games on the operating system.

"I wish Linux well, but the reality is that it barely makes it into my top ten priorities," he said.

He added that those businesses looking to offer Linux porting opportunities to big publishers will most likely get turned away.

"You probably can't even get an email returned if you are offering less than six figures to a top ten publisher," he noted. This may sound ridiculous - 'Who would turn away $20,000?' - but the reality is that many of the same legal, financial, executive, and support resources need to be brought to bear on every single deal, regardless of size, and taking time away from something that is in the tens of millions of dollars range is often not justifiable."

However, the industry veteran believes that there is a way that, sometime in the future, Linux could become a viable option for big publishers.

"Ideally, following a set of best practice guidelines could allow developers to get Linux versions with little more effort than supporting, say, Windows XP," he said. "Properly evangelized, with Steam as a monetized distribution platform, this is a plausible path forward."

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