Mitch Meyran has started an interesting discussion over at Free Software Magazine about the lack of big budget games for the GNU/Linux platform. Mitch asks some good questions: How hard could it be for a company to develop their games in OpenGL (of which DirectX 9 is a clone), something several actually already do, compile a binary and an installer for Linux, and sell it - or even wrap it along with their Win32 PE binaries? Indeed, why not? As it stands, I strongly concur with Mitch that the lack of A-list titles is one reason many folks haven't already switched to to the free OS. And, yes, we all know about Wine and the like, but are these options really practical for the typical PC gamer? While you're browsing at FSF, be sure to check out my article Games in Captivity.
If the Mac platform hasn't and still doesn't get lots of games, why would we expect Linux to? It's still a "hardcore" platform. Until it's grandma and grandpa friendly as it were and there was lots of commercially available software out there, it's going to stay a niche platform (and we'd need some type of breakthrough in digital content delivery and a public paradigm shift in order for that scenario to be any different in the future either). Is that so bad? I think not. In any case, it's a simple matter of moving all but the state-of-the-art games to some type of Web standard platform, so this way any OS can access it. All an OS is is a platform to get stuff done anyway. It doesn't necessarily matter how stuff is delivered to that particular platform. Games in specific will not make Linux any better.
The x86 mac platform will probably feature less and less games. With the possibility to boot the intel machines to WindowsXP these users will probably just play WindowsXP based games.
If companies produce games for OSX, which is very much like Linux (a Unix actually), then they can easily produce the same game for linux and vice versa.
It looks like it's going to be just consoles and windows(XP) when it comes to gaming in the future. :(
One could also look for ways of creating a standardized gaming platform for computers by way of creating a virtual machine capable of running gamecode accross different OS-platforms. Like emulators are in a way right now.
-= Mark Vergeer - Armchair Arcade editor =-