We continue with the individual Linux gaming predictions that we shared back in January 2022. This time, it’s the turn of one of our guests, Sirmikester, to review his own predictions below.
Sirmikester’s Predictions for Linux Gaming in 2022
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Let’s see how it went:
Steam Deck Adoption & Hardware Issues
According to one source, Steam Deck sold over 1 million units in 2022 (other sources have that number lower, but still in the hundreds of thousands). Given that the Switch sells 6-7 million a year and the PS5 sells about 11-12 million a year, I would have to say that the deck is on the very low end of mass market adoption as there are definitely non-Linux gamers buying the hardware given the relative sales and the general interest in the platform. To my knowledge there were no major hardware issues that impacted adoption (however there were several bugs reported on reddit). While my prediction of less than 1 million in sales may be true, I will give myself a fail on this one due to the mass market adoption and the lack of major hardware issues.
Epic support for Steam Deck
Epic has not officially supported Steam Deck in 2022, although there are ways to get the games working using the Heroic launcher. If Steam Deck adoption continues to do well, I do think Epic may support some of their more popular games via Steam/Proton. Maybe the recently leaked Unreal Tournament 3X is a first start? For now, I will have to admit that I was wrong on this one.
VR on Linux Non-Adoption
VR is generally having a down year with Meta taking a lot of flak for its massive investments in the metaverse, and generally lackluster adoption/products. In terms of usage on Steam, VR usage has hovered around 2% of total users (although the absolute total seems to be steadily climbing). In the November 2022 Steam Hardware & Software survey, no VR metric is shown when filtering on Linux platform only, which leads me to believe that the actual number of Linux VR users is negligible. I will give myself credit for this one!
ChromeOS Steam Support
Steam on ChromeOS is officially in Beta, which means that it should be usable for most. That said, I am only going to give myself only partial credit since it’s not official support yet. As for the hardware, Google looks like it’s ramping up its efforts to promote gaming-capable Chromebooks, but many of the available options appear to have relatively basic GPUs, which will likely limit Steam games to casual affairs, just as I predicted. Let’s bump this one up to 75% credit!
Sony support for Linux/Steam Deck
Sony surprised me (and many others) this year by releasing many of their one time Playstation Exclusive games on Steam. Furthermore, many of the games worked well out of the box on Proton, which makes me think they added Proton as a test target for their dev teams. I am still waiting on the Last of Us series (Part 1 coming on March 23!), but key franchises like God of War, Horizon Zero Dawn and Uncharted are already available. I will give myself credit for this one!
Looks like I got 2.75/5, which isn’t half bad considering all of the variables in play. Good news is that the Steam Deck is off to a great start, which should pay dividends for Linux gaming as more devs get on board with the platform. Hopefully Epic will eventually come around and support the platform in 2023.
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