Every year we now have a traditions to gather predictions, to see if any of us in the Linux community have any idea where things may be going. We recently published the ones for the year 2023. Last year, we had numerous contributors and we compiled the Top 5 predictions based on the most common ones. In 2021, this approach worked great and most of the predictions were accurate. What about 2022? Did we do as well?
The Compiled Predictions for 2022
This is what we had compiled across 15 contributors last year:
- A big AAA publisher officially supports Linux/Steam Deck for at least one title, with a native client
- Linux Gaming goes to 2% share (Steam Hardware Survey)
- The Steam Deck sells around 1 million units in 2022
- Valve will announce a new HMD device based on Linux
- Anti-Cheat will only be a problem for a minority of new games
Let’s look in details how each of them fared.
1. A Big AAA Publisher Support for the Steam Deck, with a native version
This prediction does not deserve a full point, but in spirit it has somewhat happened. There were several large publishers supporting front and center the Steam Deck for a big release, such as Square Enix with its release of Final Fantasy VII Intergrade on Steam, with a “verified” status available Day 1.
But native version? No, not at all. Nobody is even talking about it. This was too far fetched. Let’s say this deserves a half point.
2. 2% share threshold crossed on the Steam Hardware Survey
Nope, did not happen. We were too optimistic, while the Linux market share did peak at around 1.4% half way through the year, there’s still a large gap to fill before we reach 2%. No matter how many Steam Decks get sold, at the end of the day if the growth of the Steam Deck install base (and Linux combined) does not exceed the growth of Steam as a platform, it will be hard to pick up share.
3. Steam Deck: 1 million units Sold?
This one is unknown. Valve did not release any numbers, and while the round number of “1 million units shipped” has been going around there is virtually nothing concrete to substantiate it. As to why Valve may not release any figures, we have discussed that in a separate article, check it out.
This one is therefore unknown at this stage.
4. A New HMD Device from Valve
Still no news around that project (codename “Deckard” is what people used to refer to it). There could be several reasons for that:
- The VR market is stagnant at best right now, so there’s no point rushing to it - even more so in the middle of a recession.
- Steam VR support on Linux is still flaky. There’s a lot of issues that have been open for a fairly long time on the git issues tracker, so it’s not clear how fast they are working on improving it.
- The sweet spot for hardware specs and pricing may still not be there yet. I would assume that Valve would like to see games like Half Life Alyx run very well on this kind of hardware - this may be out of reach for now, specs and price wise if they want to hit a larger market out there.
There are recent activities in the VR space, such as the PSVR2 from Sony, but according to recent reports it is not selling very well (less than 300 000 units shipped 2 months after the launch) while 2 millions were apparently expected to sell within the year (with most of the sales happening at launch). Just another data point to show that the VR market is not as hot as most companies would like.
In any case, I would personally be surprised to see Valve announce something in that field in this year.
5. Anti-Cheat will only be a problem for a minority of new games
This one is a fairly clear cut.
- Elden Ring, released in 2022, uses EAC and is Steam Deck Verified.
- Multiversus, released in 2022, uses EAC and is playable on the Steam Deck.
- JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R, uses EAC and is also playable on the Steam Deck
- Chilvary 2 is marked as Unsupported, but seems to work well with Ge-Proton or Experimental with EAC (https://www.protondb.com/app/1824220)
- Predecessor is marked as playable on the Steam Deck with EAC
On the negative end, we have Lost Ark, that does not support Linux for its EAC implementation - and is fairly popular as an online title.
But all in all, it’s fair to say that the majority of new games using EAC seem to support the Steam Deck and Linux when it comes to their implementation. The key problem is with older titles that are not going to get that support, such as PubG for example. One recent exception seems to be Hell Let Loose, with an upcoming EAC support for Linux on the way for 2023.
This time the predictions were… not as good as in 2021. Partially because one of the five is mostly unknown (the sales of the Steam Deck), and then 2 others proved to be completely wrong. The EAC support bit was correct, it’s not as big of a problem as it was before. Publisher support for the Steam Deck is growing, but not in the shape of native titles. Large publishers are going for Proton, and that’s probably what Valve wants them to do anyway at this stage.
Final score is… 1.5 out of 5. We can do better!
Next step: the combined predictions for 2023 to be published soon, following the ones from our guests and team members.