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Re: Latest UTB Newsletter

On Fri, 14 Mar 2003, David Krider wrote:

>I don't see this as being so exaggerated. The trick is the price-point. 
>At $300, the average person who wants to game is going to buy a console. 
>That's a lost sale. However, whatever about the person who has a nice 
>computer already sitting on his desk, and his *kid* comes along, and 
>wants to play games on it?... See, it's really hard to buy a crappy 
>computer from the likes of Dell or Gateway these days. Most of them will 
>play a lot of computer games really well.

Yes, but generally speaking, a company produces a product that is
made specifically for target markets which are paying money for
those products.  The features and efforts put into those products 
are those that the target market of customers are paying for.  If 
people are not paying for things that make gaming a reality in 
Linux, then gaming simply wont be a reality in Linux.  Wether or 
not the kid comes along and would like to play a game, the 
reality is, if there is no money to be made by developing the 
things that gaming requires, then nobody is going to do it.

>Here's a chance for a vendor to package up a distro for $50 - $100 that 
>already has all the games *configured*. Then, a simple button pick could 
>launch a "purchase this game now" thing to allow them to feed it a 
>credit card number, load it off one of the 30 distro disks, and start 
>playing. The config could already be done. Sure, there would be a 
>limited set of hardware that was supported. But the trick on PC's is the 
>configuration. Even if you're running Windows, it can be difficult to 
>get all the drivers aligned and working right. (And *then* you can have 
>the stupid box just STOP WORKING like my Win2K did with Half-Life just 
>last week! One day, I can play; the next, it dumps every time I try.)

Do you really think that is a feasible business model?  I don't.

>Shoot, look at Microsoft with their media center PC OS. This is exactly 
>analogous. Setting up a PC to play any and all types of media files is a 

No, it isn't analogous.  Microsoft OWNS the desktop.

>Maybe I should try it. Maybe I should wrap up RedHat Linux, call it 
>"Pink Tutu," and create a configuration for every game that will run on 
>Linux for it. Then I'll need to setup a backend web site where I can 
>clear the game purchases, and go into a sales relationship with the 
>vendors to get preferental pricing. Then I need a download site with 
>enormous bandwidth (for iso's and updates), and advertising, and boxed 
>copies for those famous Wal-Mart shelves. And support. No, wait. I won't 
>need support because I won't allow people to run as root, and nothing 
>will ever break on its own. Yeah, that's the ticket! (I'm just 
>*kidding*, aiight?)

By all means, if you think that you can create a business out of 
this idea, you're certainly encouraged to do so.  I don't 
personally think it would be a profitable business venture myself 
in 2003, but you can certainly try to do so.

In order for your idea above to be successful, people will have 
to pay you money.  Are there people out there who would be 
willing to pay X amount of dollars to you for an OS product that 
allows them to purchase and/or download one of the currently 
available game titles and play it?  You'd have to provide video 
driver support probably also, etc. so that the games work well.

I don't see video game market being something really profitable 
in Linux for at least 1.5+ years personally, and I don't think 
people will start purchasing Linux OSs in order to play video 
games.  Of course when I say that, I don't mean "nobody", but 
rather I mean "sufficient market forces to be profitable".

Gaming in Linux exists now.  It is for the most part, Linux
hobbiests, enthusiasts, techies, etc. (myself included) whom are
generating the initial interest.  Many game companies are taking
notice, and some titles are indeed coming to Linux.  This will
increase as time goes on, but it is still in its infancy, and
there are several things that need to happen before it is truely
viable on a "large" scale.  For one, lots of home computers will
have to be running Linux on the *home* desktop.  That means Linux
on the home desktop has to be widescale viable from a profitable
business model perspective of OSS OS vendors.

Remember - Microsoft OWNS the desktop.  They'll continue to do so 
for a while I believe for various reasons.  But that will change 
in the end.  ;o)

Linux will take over the world someday, as Linus set out to do, 
but it'll take a while yet.  ;o)

In short: The best thing that people wanting video games for 
Linux can do, is when you purchase a computer, tell the computer 
store or sales person that you are purchasing it specifically for 
playing video games in Linux because it rocks.  Ask them about 
video game titles for Linux.  Do this in every store.  The more 
people that do that, feeds the food chain.  That info goes back 
to suppliers, and ends up back to hardware companies and video 
game companies.

When you purchase a video card, tell the supplier you are 
purchasing it for video games in Linux.  Hell, when you purchase 
*anything*, tell the store you're using it for Linux.  Even if 
you're lying! ;o)  Tell them everything you're purchasing is for 
Linux.  The more they hear this, the more push there is through 
the chain of command back to IHVs, and the more support for Linux 
will materialize.

Just some suggestions.  ;o)

Mike A. Harris     ftp://people.redhat.com/mharris
OS Systems Engineer - XFree86 maintainer - Red Hat

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