Linux only needs one major game to become an integral part of the gaming ecosystem, says DICE creative director Lars Gustavsson.
Until recently, PC gaming meant windows, but Valve’s Steam digital distribution system opened doors first for Mac, then for Linux gamers, and has advertised its intent to make the latter the standard for PC games.
Aside from a few independent developers and the Humble Bundle Valve has been fighting this battle largely on its own, but now Gustavsson tells Polygon that his studio – one of EA’s most important assets – is eager to explore the frontier of open source operating systems.
"We strongly want to get into Linux for a reason," Gustavsson said.
"It took Halo for the first Xbox to kick off and go crazy – usually, it takes one killer app or game and then people are more than willing – it is not hard to get your hands on Linux, for example, it only takes one game that motivates you to go there."
While Linux has a reputation for being relatively unfriendly to users, modern distributions like Ubuntu are just as easy to use as a modern Windows system and only take about twenty minutes to intall.
"I think, even then, customers are getting more and more convenient, so you really need to convince them how can they marry it into their daily lives and make an integral part of their lives," said Gustavsson.
Linux is already a very popular solution for businesses and servers, and Gustavsson says that DICE uses the operating system for their serves because it is a "superior operating system to do so."
While Red Hat and Fedora dominate the business and developer scene in Linux Ubuntu has risen to prominence for consumers, but none of these solutions feature the same level of plug-and play hardware support of a DirectX Windows machine.
Even now, game developers shy away from Linux because it doesn’t offer the same toolsets programmers are accustomed to through Visual Studio, but that may well be changing as a result of Valve’s investment.
To Gustavsson, the added competition can only mean a better consumer experience, and a new drive to innovation.
“The only thing I know is that from five or ten years from now gaming and especially how you consume it won’t look like it does today,” he said.
“I do think with streaming services and new input devices and so on, it wouldn’t surprise me if there is less need of hardware and more on demand gaming experience."