Bold Predictions for Linux Gaming in 2022

It’s time for the Linux Gaming predictions for 2022! Last year in early 2021 we collected predictions from numerous actors of the Linux Gaming Sphere, and it was a lot of fun. And very useful too: our combined predictions ended up being more right than not (as documented) and we hope to be able to repeat this feat again this year.

So we were able to gather quite a few guests this year again (in no particular order):

  • Chris Were (based in the UK)
  • Nick from the Linux Experiment (based in France)
  • Michael Labowicz (based in the US)
  • HexDSL (based in the UK)
  • HardPenguin (based in Poland)
  • JugandoenLinux (based in Spain)
  • Corben (based in Germany)
  • Luke Short (based in the US)
  • James Ramey (based in the US)
  • NuSuey (based in the Czech Republic)
  • Ethan Lee (based in the US), joining us for a more philosophical take.

At the end we will also provide you with our own predictions.

Methodology

Everyone was asked to prepare their predictions independently from each other. None of us were aware of the nature of other’s predictions to avoid any external or peer influence. Everyone was asked to provide 5 predictions, and as much as possible keep them specific and measurable to avoid any ambiguity in interpretation. Also, for those who participated in 2021, we asked them to rate their own prior predictions in light of what happened last year.

The predictions for 2022 were collected in the course of January 2022, some earlier than others but roughly within a 2 weeks window.

We will first start with the guest predictions, in no particular order.

Guest Predictions

Chris Were

Chris Were and his predictions for Linux Gaming in 2022

My name’s Chris Were and I’m a Fediverse influencer — I also sometimes make videos for a dying platform called Youtube.

Three of my 2021 predictions came true: the Stadia will survive the year, game streaming will increase in popularity, fewer titles will be released as Linux ports. Two of my predictions which did not come true: more titles will begin officially supporting Proton instead of bringing out Linux ports, Itch.io will get a boost in popularity. I still feel like Itch.io is yet to have its day, but it does seem like a natural home for those frustrated at DRM and microtransaction laden games.

My 2022 predictions:

  1. Google Stadia will survive. It may or may not be incorporated into Google Play, but it will be here by the end of the year and will have picked up a number of titles. Google will lean in towards casual gamers, mobile gamers and users of Chromebooks.
  2. We will not see a Stadia exclusive in 2022. Exclusive titles might bring people over to your console of choice, but Stadia isn’t really a console, and Google aren’t lacking for an existing user base. Google will aim to convert users of existing Google products rather than from existing gaming platforms.
  3. The popularity of Linux gaming, outside of the Steam Deck, will remain largely the same — give or take a percentage point on the Steam survey. The popular channel Linux Tech Tips — in my opinion — illustrated a number hurdles for people to make it over to Linux of their own volition. GNU/Linux has been perceived as a “hacker” operating system and I don’t entirely think that’s inaccurate. Whilst many non-tech users are on Linux based operating systems, the vast majority are knowledgeable about tech in some meaningful capacity.
  4. An open source game will go viral within the Linux gaming community. This will include some chat about it on the larger non-corporate Linux podcasts, as well as a number of larger youtubers. Whilst not achieving anything close to mainstream status, people will look to smaller and friendly gaming outfits as more and more studios get bought up by large companies cough Microsoft cough. This might seem like a long shot, but the success of games like Wordle (not-FOSS) demonstrated that there is a specific desire for a lower level style of game. Ones which don’t come bundled with ads and notifications; such as you see on mobile, or microtransactions; as you would see with many AAA titles. Wordle players have even contributed five letter words to be used on the game, it seems like there’s a thirst for what FOSS games bring, but it hasn’t yet crystallised into a concise public consciousness.
  5. The Boiling Steam Twitter account (@BoilingSteam) will get banned by mistake, or for an unknown reason.

Nick from The Linux Experiment

Nick is a product owner and project manager turned YouTuber. He talks about the Linux desktop, privacy, Linux gaming, and all related topics on his youtube channel, The Linux Experiment: youtube.com/thelinuxexperiment.

Nick from the Linux Experiment and his predictions for Linux Gaming in 2022
Nick reviewing a Starlabs laptop
  1. More than 90% of games on ProtonDB will have a platinum or Gold rating. I think that most games that release in 2022 and beyond will implement Proton anti cheat support, and that will definitely increase the number of playable games on Linux. Anti cheat is basically the last holdout for Proton compatibility, and as it gets easier and easier to add Linux support to these, this barrier should be lifted in 2022.
  2. Valve won’t sell more than 300 000 Steam Decks in 2022. The pre-order numbers that leaked when the reservations opened seemed to indicate around 100 000 Decks being pre-ordered, but some of these will definitely not end up being purchased by people who preordered. They’ll be put back into circulation, with as many units as Valve can make, but I doubt it will be many, with the global pandemic not showing signs of abating, and the delays for delivery of already ordered Decks being already pretty long.
  3. SteamOS 3 won’t be available for general download until the last quarter of the year. Valve repeatedly said that they wanted to focus on the Deck first, and on releasing SteamOS 3 afterwards, and I think it means that the OS is currently very optimized for the Deck’s hardware, but probably stripped down of most of what would make it a “useful” system for other people, like an installer, extra drivers for extra hardware and systems the Deck doesn’t have, like a cellular connection.
  4. Linux marketshare on Steam will reach 2% before the end the year. This marketshare is, of course, not fully representative of Linux gaming market share, and it has reached a plateau at around 1% in 2021, but I’m expecting the Steam Deck to generate enough interest to push that market share to 2%. It’s still really small, but it’s double what Linux currently has, so it would be quite an achievement!
  5. The number of native Linux ports will be reduced by 15%. With the rise of Proton, and its anti cheat support, I can’t see many companies paying Feral to port their games natively, or porting them themselves, instead of relying on volunteers’ and Valve’s work to have something that runs and plays well enough. This tendency might reverse once Linux gaming gets more market share, but for 2022, I think we’ll see fewer native ports, at least in the AA / AAA space.

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Michael Labowicz

Michael is a Product Manager of Linux-based software & devices (@mlabowicz on Twitter). He frequently discusses Linux related topics, and he has got a good feeling about the following:

  1. Steam deck will launch in 2022, and it will gain a following among early adopters and Linux geeks, but mass market adoption will be limited due the the limited amount of games and the many other options out there. Also, it’s likely that there will be a quality issue or two identified since Valve is fairly new to the hardware game. This may further impact adoption. As a result, the deck will likely sell < 1 million units in its first year.
  2. Epic will provide some way to support playing its games (e.g. Fortnite) on the Steam Deck. This may involve releasing a Linux version of their client, or some way to run it in Wine/Proton
  3. VR on Linux will still be a non factor, although Linux/Android will probably end up being the market leading OS for stand-alone headsets.
  4. Official steam support will finally roll out for ChromeOS in 2022. Adoption will be very limited, and the main use case will be playing casual games.
  5. (Wishful thinking) Sony will embrace Linux as a platform for its games, in part to offset Microsoft’s increasing dominance in the gaming industry. God of War, Last of Us, Uncharted and other key Sony franchises will be fully supported on Steam w/ Proton and/or Native ports.

HexDSL

I asked Hex to describe himself and he said: just tell them I am “a nerdy internet man who writes a lot”. So there you go, that’s what he is. He published a book recently, about vampires, by the way. On top of being an aspiring fiction writer, he has loads of interesting videos on his Youtube channel, and writes often about a bunch of technical topics, mostly Linux related but not only. You can find access and links to all of his content on HexDSL.co.uk.

HexDSL and his predictions for Linux Gaming in 2022
Sorry Hex, my screen capture skills are below average

When asked to give my five predictions for the coming year I was at first reticent, I didn’t have any apart from the “obvious”. Then I went on a little mental ramble, I realized I did in fact have quite a lot to say…

  1. The Steam Deck will get at least one more pushback, but I would think for the second batch not the first. I would guess they will get the first ones out there then based on feedback make some minor OS tweaks before the second wave. Official prediction: one more pushback before the proper launch.
  2. X-Cloud, the Microsoft Xbox game cloud streaming service, will, I think “officially” support the Steam deck within three months of its launch. I doubt it will be an application but official support via the Deck’s built-in web browser.
  3. Steam will actually, for real announce a cloud gaming platform, I would guess in partnership with Nvidia, under the “GeForce Now” flag. I know there was some “Steam Cloud” talk a year ago (or longer, I don’t remember), but I think we will see a full announcement very soon. Super soon. So soon I think it may even arrive in April.
  4. Windows movement: Microsoft compatibility layer/subsystem for windows. I think we will see Microsoft start laying the next part of the groundwork for a Linux based version of Windows. To do this they need to start Beta testing some kind of Microsoft-super-Wine. I’m guessing they will call it the Linux Subsystem for Windows. Or some play on the current WSL branding. I think they may be arrogant enough to just call it “Microsoft-Linux”, that wouldn’t shock me at all.
  5. Anti-cheat: I think we will see the anti-cheat compatibility in Proton go from “opt in” or “developer implemented” to “Valve implemented” or simply required. Meaning any game on Steam will have its anti-cheat managed or green light by Valve. I would think they will accomplish this by flexing their market share and refusing to allow new games on Steam with anti-cheat features that don’t work on the Steam-Deck. This prediction relies on Valve actually doing something; the beast takes a long time to wake, so I put it last.

HardPenguin

Hardpenguin and his predictions for Linux Gaming in 2022
HardPenguin using a phone while waiting for the Steam Deck

HardPenguin is an indie developer at Frogsong Studios, who was formerly responsible for Linux games at GOG.com until 2019. You can follow him on Twitter: @hardpenguin13. Here are his predictions for 2021 and how he evaluates them.

  1. Stalemate: No new support or product will be announced by a major company

With great pleasure I admit I was wrong – I am very excited about the Steam Deck announcement from Valve. Anti-cheat systems working inside Proton? Huge studios presenting their games on a Linux gaming device? Only a couple years ago this was said to be indisputably impossible – and yet here we are.

Status: DENIED.

  1. One major distribution (not already using Wayland) goes Wayland by default

Ubuntu and Fedora officially embraced Wayland, so this definitely checks the mark. Overall, 2021 was a year of great progress in Wayland, and even wretched NVIDIA improved their support.

Status: CONFIRMED

  1. Steam Play gains one breakthrough that expands its compatibility noticeably

Both BattleEye and EAC are finally working on Proton? Valve pulled quite a rabbit out of their hat. And now all that is left is to convince the developers that enabling support for their games is worth it.

Status: CONFIRMED

  1. One more critically acclaimed and/or commercially successful game developed on Linux

After Valheim met with overwhelming acclaim, one would expect the Linux game development world to see more such success stories. Alas! It looks like we will still have to wait a little more for that.

Status: DENIED

  1. Cloud Gaming: Even more gaming services will be officially available on Linux by the end of the year

The confirmation to this one was found in Xbox Cloud Gaming public release. Now even Linux web browsers can play with it! I am happy that Stadia has some big competition now.

Status: CONFIRMED

And his predictions for 2022:

  1. The biggest games with anti-cheat will still not support Linux

I will start yet again with a pessimistic take, if only in hope to be wrong. Despite what Valve did to make EAC and BattlEye support in Proton easy, major publishers will still deny adding that support to their games. No Fortnite, no PUBG: Battlegrounds, no Apex Legends, no Rainbow Six: Siege, no Destiny 2.

  1. Steam Deck will attract the attention of new, big parties

Big companies that did not participate in the previous Linux gaming pushes will this time get pulled into Linux-compatible development. And by this term I mean either native releases, or, more likely, Proton-tested releases. Who will that be? I will throw three large names to the pool in an intentionally specific order: Microsoft, Ubisoft, EA.

  1. Porting companies will offer Proton “porting” service

The porting landscape is ever changing – in 2013 it was Linux, in 2016 Switch, in 2018 Stadia, and then we had PS5 and Xbox Series X|S. It makes sense for companies specializing in porting games to new platforms, like Aspyr Media, QLOC, or Panic Button to offer such service.

  1. Native Linux gaming will continue to decline

The situation with Proton and Steam Deck announcements left those who worked hard on native games quite disillusioned. And rightly so! Unfortunately, I predict native games to be only less and less relevant over time. The amount of native releases in 2022 will be overall smaller than in 2021. We will not see many high profile native releases either.

  1. More mainstream Linux-based gaming devices on the market

The Steam Deck rush will sprout in another popular and very good device targeting Linux gaming. We already have great laptop vendors like System76, or Tuxedo. Emulation devices are available on the market. But let us think bigger! Will it be another handheld? Gaming laptop from a brand such as Alienware or Asus ROG? Maybe a cloud gaming service from yet another major company? Time will tell.

JugandoenLinux

JugandoenLinux is the reference for Linux Gaming in the Spanish Language. Now let’s leave the floor and hear what they have to say:

These were our predictions for 2021, so lets see if we managed to guess at least one (Smiling face with open mouth and cold sweat):

  1. Valve releases cloud gaming service along with Steam OS 2.0:

Well, we can say for sure that nobody saw it comming. We were a 1.0 version away from the new SteamOS, and if a cloud gaming service is made to be able to play anywere… Well, Steam Deck concept is close to that idea, so, what the heck, we nailed it with this one Winking face with tongue.

  1. Steam for Chrome OS boosts Linux adoption

Is Chrome OS still a thing? It seems to be growing, but slower than expected, at least, slower than we expected, so no, our prediction was utterly wrong here.

  1. Godot increases significantly its user base and there are more comercial games using it

We don’t have any real metric to support our guess here, but with the latest maintenance release there has been a lot of noise about Godot in our radar, and the incoming 4.0 version is creating a lot of expectation, so the first half of the sentence could be true somehow, but unfortunately, besides a couple of games made with Godot has been released, like Primal Light, we can’t say Godot has been very successful if talking about comercial games.

  1. Wayland takes off without performance problems, an so will Xwayland. Nvidia officially adopt Wayland with their new drivers

Yes and yes, 100% in both statements. On the time of the writing the latest phoronix benchmarks show a very good performance when wayland was being used. And the Hell is still freezing with the anouncement (and commitment) that NVIDIA made about supporting EGL streams, and in general, wayland in their drivers.

  1. SteamVR for Linux takes off with the new Monado API

Well, no.

Jokes aside, there have been a couple of predictions were we were close to it, but a couple of them have been just the opposite.

And our predictions for 2022:

  1. Steam deck sales less than 1 million units in 2022… but it’s not necesarily a failure. Winking face
  2. Proton gets traction and more big companies start to support it. Ubisoft supports Linux officially, but through proton.
  3. The number of native ports to Linux increases a 1% in 2022
  4. Valve releases a game that uses the capabilites of the steam deck, and its a Linux exclusive game. (Not a Steam Deck exclusive game)
  5. GOG closes business, Humble Bundle removes its support to Linux and Epic gives some steps towards supporting buying and playing from Linux, but not using its store (official support via Lutris, Heroic and such)

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Corben

This is Corben, aka Corben78 speaking. I’m a software engineer from Germany, studied computer science and started to work full time in the IT 2007, working with embedded C programming for ARM devices and now full stack web development with MVC frameworks like Laravel.

Corben and his predictions for Linux Gaming in 2022
Corben before a recent “no shaving” challenge

I have always been interested in technical fields, as well as astronomy and science-fiction. My gaming journey started with the OG Atari VCS, Nintendo Entertainment System and an Intel 8088 PC. From DOS to Windows and MacOS, I switched to using Linux full time in 2018 when Proton made it uneccessary for me to dual boot for gaming.

As I like to share my experiences, I became an enthusiastic hobby streamer, showing how well gaming on Linux works on twitch, but also on youtube and instagram.

Predictions for 2022, short version:

  1. Steam Deck will sell 1 million units
  2. Linux will reach more than 2% on Steam Hardware survey
  3. Valve announces a new standalone VR HMD (that can also connect to a PC)
  4. At least 80% of new titles will support anti-cheat on Linux
  5. A new site like ProtonDB but for games outside Steam will be established

The longer version:

In the Linux gaming space 2022 will be all about the Steam Deck. Well, obviously. Valve is one of the market leaders, so there is a big interest of all members of the gaming industry in what Valve does. We’ve seen this already, where Epic, Ubisoft etc have shown interest in the Deck.

  1. Though there are already similar devices on the market, like the Ayaneo, the Steam Deck will remain to be more interesting yet through the price point alone. That’s why Valve will sell a lot of units if they can deliver. Depending on supply chain issues, I’d even guess they would be able to sell more than one million devices by the end of this year.
  2. The more Decks are out there, the more people will have a Linux powered Steam gaming device. This will show an increase of Linux usage in the Steam Hardware survey… obviously. Well, given Valve will count the Decks towards that number, or if they will create its own category for the Deck and the hardware survey will only count “normal” PC desktop clients. But even without the Deck being counted, I’d expect that number to rise further, continuing the current upward trend. Again, all because of the Linux powered Steam gaming device.
  3. We’ve heard rumors already about something called Deckard, Valve has stated that all what they learnt from the Deck will have an impact on their future VR plans. The index is soon 3 years old, so it’s just a matter of time until Valve announces a new HMD. Maybe standalone, probably Linux powered.
  4. Just recently Valve and Epic have made it much easier for enabling EAC on Linux/Wine/Proton, so I expect that for new titles this will be considered out of the box. BattlEye is already easy to support for developers. So probably 8 out of 10 new titles with multiplayer and anti cheat will “just work” on Linux as well. Hopefully the Deck will also motivate devs and publishers to enable EAC on current titles, but this has been proven tricky. On the one hand because of the previous way to enable EAC, on the other had they fear many support requests, though Valve stated any problems coming from Proton is up to them to fix and users should reach out to Valve instead of the game’s devs.
  5. Though Valve is one of the biggest digital games distribution service, if not even the biggest, there are other stores out there as well. Looking at the top 20 games streamed on twitch, only half of them are on Steam. But many of them work on Linux as well. Even other games not in the twitch top 20 and that are not on Steam do often work pretty well on Linux. Single- and multiplayer. But currently there is no consolidated page where people can have a look how to get a game running or report how well a game does run. There is information distributed on winehq, Lutris and other pages, but it’s tricky to find. So the demand will rise to have a single page where this information can be found. And with raising demand, somebody will create a solution.

Regarding my predictions for 2021:

  1. Valve will make Mixed Reality tools for VR available

Well, this didn’t happen. Though there is a living and vibrant VR community, VR didn’t grow that much in 2021. Facebook is trying to take over the VR market and PC VR has a tough standing. The Quest 2 standalone headset is very popular, it can be hooked onto a PC, so maybe Valve’s next HMD will bring back some competition. Nevertheless, for mixed reality some games have added an ingame 3rd person came to fake mixed reality, and LIV has looked into Linux support. But due to the copy mechanism they use which isn’t supported in wine, it’s not working and would require a rewrite. Also worth mentioning, the flatscreen to VR community is pretty active bringing some games into the VR space.

  1. 70% of Windows Games will work with Gold or Platinum rating out of the box

According to Proton DB we’re not there yet, but the situation did improve! Also the reports have to be read with a grain of salt. CEG protected games are now working. Valve is re-encoding videos using media foundation codecs, so there is now a bunch of games working out of the box that either needed wine to run the Windows steam client or a Proton fork like from Glorious Eggroll to show videos. With the Valve maintained Deck verified list this can only get better, as devs and publisher want to have that verified badge.

  1. There will be new native, open source Linux launchers/projects that can download and start games from multiple stores

It’s still mostly only Lutris and legendary respectively heroic. Those got nice updates though. Maybe stores like Uplay, Origin and BattleNet aren’t popular enough among Linux gamers, and many games from Uplay and Origin are available through Steam. And there is Minigalaxy for downloading GOG Games, but it’s optional as games from GOG can be downloaded without any launcher.

  1. Linux gamers will finally get more respect in the social sphere

From my perspective I hear a lot less “just use Windows” comments, in fact more people were inclined to try Linux now. On the one hand my goal is to show that Linux is a great gaming platform, but on the other hand Linux as a gaming OS got a lot of traction with the Deck. Big youtube channels like Epos Vox and Linus Tech Tips gave Linux for gaming quite some screen time. So the perception for gaming on Linux did change in the last year. At least from my point of view.

  1. Epic will officially start to support Linux

Nope. Didn’t happen either… yet 😀
Let’s see what the Deck’s impact has on Epic, and if they want their games and their store on the Deck as well. I still wouldn’t rule it out.

Luke Short

Hello there! My name is Luke Short. By day, I work with cloud products at VMware.

Luke Short and his predictions for Linux Gaming in 2022

By night, I write technical Chrome OS articles for Android Police. I’m a huge supporter of the open source and Linux gaming communities. One of my latest passion projects is winesapOS where I provided a portable Arch Linux operating system designed for gaming on a flash drive. No installation required! You can follow me on Twitter @LukeShortCloud or on my blog https://lukeshort.cloud.

  1. Lots of gaming Chromebooks coming in 2022 with dGPUs from both AMD and Intel. As a ballpark guess, I will say at least 10 gaming Chromebooks will arrive. Google and Chrome OS will continue to lead the way with better GPU passthrough support in Linux (both via VirtIO-GPU and direct VFIO passthrough).
  2. Steam user share from Linux users will start to surpass macOS. This may not happen immediately in 2022 but it’ll start to rise rapidly. I see 2023 as when the takeover will happen. At that time, the Steam Deck and gaming Chromebooks will be more readily available. When it surpasses macOS, it will only be by a couple of percentage but with steady long-term growth.
  3. Arch Linux will gain popularity as the number one most used Linux distribution. With Steam OS 3.0 setting the stage as using Arch Linux as the base distribution, more distribution forks and users will follow. The top 3 operating systems developers will want to target are: Windows, Arch Linux, and macOS.
  4. KDE will gain popularity as the number one most used desktop environment. Points 3 and 4 are related. Steam OS with KDE is setting an industry standard for game and software developers to target. Something that I, as a developer myself, am fully on-board with.
  5. Adobe Creative Cloud coming to Linux before the end of 2022. This one is admittedly a stretch but related to point 2. If Linux can become more viable than macOS than Adobe could finally justify porting their legendary suite of software to Linux. I personally know many media professionals who use Linux and would gladly pay Adobe for their high-quality software

James Ramey

James is well known if you are familiar with our articles and interviews conducted with him in the past. He is the President of Codeweavers (the company behind most of the WINE/Proton efforts).

James Ramey and his predictions for Linux Gaming in 2022
James Ramey, President of Codeweavers

Let’s start with his own evaluation of his predictions done in 2021:

  1. I predict that Linux gaming will experience its greatest growth for market share in 2021 (relative to the past 20 years). I believe that this growth will come at the direct expense of macOS. And while Linux gaming market share will not surpass macOS gaming market share in 2021, I predict that by the end of this year we will be able to extrapolate a time in the future when it likely will.

The explosion of Linux gaming (in Proton) has been unprecedented. While Linux adaptation appears to be on the rise, it would also appear that Apple is loosing (some, but not much market share).

  1. I expect that more Linux distros dedicated (or centered on gaming) will come to market in 2021.

I’m not sure if we saw ‘MORE’ Linux distros dedicated to gaming, but I am seeing more existing Linux distros focus on game support. Solus, SteamOS, LakkaOS, and Manjaro all appear to be more gaming focused.

  1. I expect that a handful (5) of AAA titles will have native Linux versions upon release in 2021.

There have been a number of native Linux titles that came out with a native Linux version. I’m not sure I’d call all of them ‘AAA’, but it would appear that while ported games are the lion’s share there has also been a concerted effort by games developers to make Linux compatible versions of their games.

  1. I expect that it will be Linux gaming on Chromebooks (in the Linux partition) will replace Stadia in 2021.

I’m taking two points here. First Stadia 2021 is all but done. Second, you can now play many game titles in the Linux partition AND Google and Valve have announced that Steam will be available to Chromebooks.

  1. I expect that years from now people will look back at 2021 as the ‘Year of Linux Gaming’ in that much of where we will be 20 years from now can be traced back to this year.

You can’t really judge this prediction for another 10 years, but I think the launch of the SteamDeck will make 2021 very memorable for years to come.

As for 2022, I think you have to look at the current trends to make future predictions.

  1. Expect to see at least two or three new Linux gaming computers with similar specs as the SteamDeck. Expect at least one of these computers will have a similar form factor. Once the SteamDeck launches, I expect several competitors to follow suite very quickly.
  2. Expect more consolidation in the gaming software space. Microsoft purchasing Activision was one of what I predict will be at least two or three mergers / acquisitions in software gaming in 2022. This type of consolidation, I think, isn’t great for gaming as smaller independent studios tend to produce innovative games.
  3. I expect in 2022 that we will see a greater surge of native AAA games for Linux. If 2021 was the year that AAA titles like ARK, Valheim, Dying Light and The Witcher all found their way to Linux, I expect 2022 to be an even larger number of even newer games – some even in pre-production – for Linux.
  4. I expect we will see at least one AAA title with a Windows and Linux version but no (native) version for macOS. I think 2022 is the year that software developers start to transition from building out native macOS games to building out native Linux games.
  5. Finally, I expect that we will see a major innovation in Linux gaming in 2022. Either a specific GPU or accessory, similar to the Oculus Rift, or new form factor will emerge for Linux in 2022. This prediction is based on the fact that innovating in Windows and/or macOS is becoming more challenging. The prediction is that the innovation will be Linux specific, to start, and further move the needle for Linux adaptation.

NuSuey

NuSuey is a very active Streamer and Youtuber who features games working on Linux. He is also the creator of tuxdb and the proud owner of https://gamingonsteamdeck.com/ (pointing to his youtube channel for now, but will probably evolve to something else).

Nusuey and his predictions for Linux Gaming in 2022

Well to summarize my previous prediction from last year:

  1. Steam Machine/s 2.0 (now with Proton!) -> TRUE
  2. EAC gets support in Proton -> TRUE
  3. More VR headset supported in Linux -> NO
  4. A massively popular game will be performing better in Linux therefore making waves of people giving Linux a try, just to get that extra fps -> NO
  5. Bunch of AAA games that were released on Stadia will get a Linux version on Steam too -> NO

2 out of 5, I think I did well enough!

My predictions for 2022:

  1. Steam Deck will be a success with a million of sold units by the end of 2022
  2. Valve will announce a new VR device (codename Deckard) – new VR device by the end of the year, of course, linux supported as Valve Index was
  3. SteamOS becomes the most popular Linux gaming distribution of 2022
  4. Thanks to Steam Deck success + thanks to the developers porting games to Stadia already, more AAA developers will start releasing games on Linux in 2022
  5. 2022 will see a lot more distros moving/defaulting to Wayland

Ethan Lee

Author of numerous ports to Linux and author of the cross-platform framework FNA. He’s not going for the same kind of predictions, just like last year. Judge for yourself!

I only offer three predictions this year:

  1. A man will point a gun at someone’s head. The second man chuckles, saying that he will survive because he can look at the schematics of the gun. Nobody attends the funeral.
  2. An elephant will step on a mouse, and bystanders drop everything to sympathize with the elephant and blame the mouse for its situation, in a unified effort to remain neutral in the matter. The untouched remains of the mouse slowly fuse to the pavement.
  3. No incentives will be offered to do the right thing, and cash incentives will be offered to explicitly do the wrong thing. Everyone is shocked at the outcome.

Boiling Steam

And here we reach the predictions from our own team!

Podiki

In that distant past of 2021, I had predicted:

  1. We’ll see Proton listed as a platform (or folded into Steam Play) with easy default enabling by developers, defaults to using Proton for Windows games on Linux, and developers can directly target/test on Proton (not user visible but announced by Valve). I could see a lot of this happening through allowing user reporting of success and needed tweaks in the Steam interface, just like we have controller config sharing. Proton everywhere. So my prediction is that we see Proton come into its own as an integral part of browsing, buying on, and developing for Steam.

Not yet! But this is starting to happen for the Deck with the whole verified system.

  1. Key Linux VR bugs for the Valve Index will be addressed in 2021. Big ones are: Bluetooth power management for base stations, firmware updating for base stations, front cameras passthrough, audio mirroring, and the “direct display” bug. These all need to be fixed to really have the Index as fully supported on Linux. I think they are all quite fixable (and some are worked around by the community already). Relatedly, folding in Proton more prominently with VR games is needed as otherwise there is barely any content as listed.

Sadly wrong. The closest I saw was only just now for the SteamVR dashboard being fixed but that was reported in September. Many other rough spots remain.

  1. A single launcher/store will appear on the market. We have several great launchers and community tools, but I think there is an opening for a larger group or company to enter the scene. They could unify the buying and launching experience across the many stores and tools, like a combo Lutris/Steam/GOG/etc.

Not here either, though Lutris continues to integrate downloading games from different stores.

  1. A successful big Kickstarter for a Linux based “console” or Steam machine-like device.

Not a Kickstarter, but combined with the next one…

  1. New Steam Controller, with swappable controls (as per patent that have been reported) and keeping at least some touchpads, and gyro controls.

…the Steam Deck certainly is an evolution of previous hardware from Valve like the Steam Controller. But alas, no standalone controller so far.

All in all a pretty great crystal ball I have huh? So with that in mind, here are my 2022 predictions:

  1. The Steam Deck will be a hit, meaning overall good to stellar reviews, and bought up as fast as they can make them. I mean it won’t be like “flip a coin” if the review is good or bad (on major outlets), and for actual sales I think it will stay sold out/a long wait throughout the entire year.
  2. Linux uptake on Steam will steadily increase, but not by much (above 1%, not to 2%), with no jumps from the Deck (other than itself). So Linux numbers will grow but stay < 2% with the Deck reported separately (in other words, won’t see a big jump in non-Deck linux users, just the same trend from the past year).
  3. Valve won’t announce streaming but will announce a new VR headset, with Linux listed as supported (for what that’s worth with the Index still having issues). As for the headset specifics…yeah let’s go wireless, how about dual use (standalone capabilities, but meant more for driven by computer).
  4. A triple A game will launch with official Proton/Linux support.
  5. Anti-cheat will no longer be the reason any major game won’t work on Linux: anti-cheat current versions will be supported on Linux and/or proton for the major vendors, so if a big new game doesn’t work it won’t be because of standard anti cheat (in other words, either they rolled their own or some other compatibility problem).

Patola

His predictions for 2022 are as follows:

  1. The Steam Deck will be a success, bit its limited quantities will not be enough and its price will rise.
  2. PC VR will get back in traction and until the end of 2022 Valve will at least announce one new headset, with wireless capabilities and processing parts of the graphic stack in the device.
  3. GPU prices won’t subside until the end of the year, maybe not even then
  4. Canonical will give up on the snap format and adopt flatpak instead. Not directly related to gaming, but they will do so partly because it would help them with games.
  5. And a silly prediction: one of these four big studios — Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Activision or Bethesda will build something Linux native, for the sake of the Steam Deck.

Cow_killer

Here’s his predictions for 2022:

  1. The Steam Deck will be met with mixed reception; some like it, some won’t because of expectation
  2. The semiconductor shortage will last well throughout the year
  3. Most AAA titles with anti-cheat (particularly those with EAC) may actually see the light of day with Proton support since Valve’s EAC announcement
  4. Linux gaming market share will probably be at 2% peak at best
  5. Proton devs will finally get Halo Infinite to run

My predictions from last year:

  1. Dirt 5 will be playable on Proton.
  2. Proton will be the future of Linux gaming, as native ports will continue to decrease compared to 2019.
  3. EAC will no longer be an obstacle to run games on Linux.
  4. Epic won’t have as much of a stronghold on game exclusives.
  5. SteamOS 3.0 or the next-gen Steam controller will arrive.

Number one came true. Number two? Kind of. Three? Epic made their announcement in September but developers had a tough time supporting it. So technically true, but not really. Four came false. Five (at least the SteamOS part) came true.

Eki

And here are my predictions for 2022:

  1. The Steam Deck’s demand will exceed its supply in 2022 and there will be still be a significant delay (2 months or more) between order and shipment even at the end of 2022.
  2. We will see a marked increase of native titles after the launch of the Steam Deck (at least 3% increase in ratio, year on year).
  3. We will see the Steam client fully work on ARM devices for the first time thanks to projects like Box68/64
  4. The Steam Deck release will be met with numerous hit pieces from the gaming press and youtube influencers
  5. While a lot of outlets will recommend installing Windows on the Steam Deck, a majority (>50%) of Steam Deck users will be fine with the default SteamOS experience and keep it.

As a reference, my predictions for 2021 were:

  1. EAC will be supported in 2021 for the first time through Proton and while it may not work for all use cases some games will run with it.

OK, this one is a clear cut. It has happened with the official support of Valve for EAC, and while very few games actually support it right now, it’s happening.

  1. Valve will announce a new hardware project that will make use of all the work they did on Vulkan and Proton.

We did not know exactly what shape it would take, but this become the Steam Deck. Validated.

  1. Linux Gaming Market Share on Steam will still remain safely around 1% in the course of 2021.

We finished the year at less than 1.1% after hovering slightly below and over 1% a few months before. This one was accurate as well.

  1. Nvidia will announce their official support for Wayland as X11 turns into maintenance mode.

Nvidia has started to officially support Wayland for the first time in 2021, and it is now possible to run desktops and games using Wayland on Nvidia, while GBM support is still in the works.

  1. Powerful ARM laptops will be available for the first time with Linux as a primary system to rival the x86 offering (akin to Apple M1 hardware).

This one did not happen. I was kind of expecting Pine64 to release a more powerful laptop based on ARM, or other vendors, but it did not occur.

Next?

If you made it to the end, well done! You have now a lot of different scenarios to think about. Just like last year, we will also compile all predictions here to extract the most common ones, and see whether or not what our guts told us ends up being more or less right again this year.

Now, it’s also up to you! Want to record your predictions? Leave them in the comments below and let’s check back later in the year who managed to grasp where the chaotic future may lead us to.


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NilUX

There will still be 45 mins of setup and solution hunting required for setting up your game to run on linux at first and a 50/50 chance that it will work every time you want to have some time off and play the damn thing without having to go through multiple forum posts and threads till you find a solution and it removes your entire desktop while trying to reinstall steam. The true linux gaming experience.

RealCelticGamer

I predict Valve won’t fix everything still broken in Steam but may actually implement HiDPI support.

ASW

One of my predictions that I don’t see mentioned in the article is HDR support being implemented. 🙂