Linux is slowly becoming a gaming alternative, but it's still a long way from consoles and Windows. How long will it take to see Linux represented at the E3 Expo in full effect, just like all the other platforms?
Making predictions is very hard, especially about the future. This simple statement from physicist Niels Bohr explains very well why it's difficult to anticipate what will happen in the world of technology. Some things evolve faster than we can predict and others seem to stagnate.
When Linux distributions started to pop up all over the place in the last decade, people thought that nothing could stop a free operating system from taking over the world. Strangely enough, 10 years later, Linux is still hovering around 2% of the desktop market share, although it seems that the interest for open source products is on the rise.
It's impossible not to give credit for this Linux resurgence to Valve. This single company has done more for Linux than anyone, but not with its own products. Its Steam for Linux and SteamOS projects have sent ripples throughout the industry and things are starting to move in the right direction for a change.
Companies that build GPUs are working to provide better drivers, Linux distributions are now supporting gaming as a main feature, hardware makers want to make consoles that will run Linux, and these are just a few examples.
The Steam for Linux library has just celebrated passing the 500 games mark and it looks like it's an exponential curve. The Linux games might just very well be three times that number in the next year or so.
This begs the question: is there is a tipping point for Linux and what it will look like? Linux users have been wishing for triple-A games to come to their platform and that is slowly happening, but this platform is not yet recognized as a full member.
E3 2014 is about to end and there is no sign, from any of the major developers or publishers, that they know Linux even exists. None of the big titles announced has Linux support and, with the exception of Civilization V, there is nothing on the horizon.
Will E3 2015 be any different? The tipping point for Linux might not be a single thing, but a conversion of factors over a long period of time. On the other hand, we might see Valve give Linux a final push.
Valve has yet to announce the title that will set the Internet on fire. That game is Half-Life 3 and, if we gather all we know about the company that makes it, we can safely draw the conclusion that it will be launched on Linux.
Maybe Half-Life 3 is the title that will force E3 participants to stay in a dark room and watch the announcement for a game expected to hit the Linux platform, but it's difficult to anticipate.
It's also possible that Linux could run out of steam if Valve fails to deliver a proper Linux operating system in time. What do you think? How long until we see Linux represented alongside all the other platforms at E3?