I was thinking today. PC gaming has been in a huge rut. First I was largely an NES gamer. Then I moved to the 16 bit era with a nice mix of the two systems, even though I owned a genesis. Then a long stretch of PC gaming on my 486 and then my Pentium III. Now most of my Gaming is Gamecube, GBA and DS. PC gaming fell by the wayside. I got a newer faster computer, but the only PC game I really played was Steam. I played a few demos of newer games, but Steam was the end all of PC gaming. This year the only PC games even on the radar are Half-Life 2, Doom3 and the Pirates! game. And I’ve bought none of the three.
So I blame this on the Xbox. The Xbox did what nobody would expect. Instead of taking market share away from Sony or Nintendo, it largely just destroyed PC gaming as soon as XBL came around. I mean, the thing plays counterstrike. People can now get the full PC gaming experience with an XboX, minus keyboard and mouse of course AFAIK. So what happened is PC developers switched to Xbox. They no longer have troubles with patches or having to deal with every different piece of hardware in the universe, and they develop games in much the same way as previous since Xbox is largely a Windows PC with DirectX from a developers view. Microsoft shot themselves in the foot like this though. It is my belief, and experience, that gaming was the only thing keeping many people on Windows. And in fact I thank them for allowing me to fully flee to Linux by all but destroying PC gaming.
Now in the news lately PC game developers are having trouble. Interplay isn’t doing so hot especially. Recently I played the Ur-Quan masters and reveled in my Star Control 2 nostalgia. And just now, an idea came to me. If the game developers really wanted to they could have a huge PC gaming revival on Linux and make piles of easy cash. Think about this. Take an old DOS game, combine it with the open-source DOSBox and you can create easily a stable Linux version of an old DOS game. If the game company did this and released a stable high quality version of old, some no longer available games then they could really rake it in. If you ask me will I pay $10 or $20 for some old dos games which are refreshed and built for Linux the answer will be yes. They could even do it with more recent but small time games. I mean, there are tons of PC games at the store, just 99% of them are complete poop. If some of these poop games that were forgotten, specifically the ones written in OpenGL, were rebuilt for Linux and sold at the right price the developers could make a quick buck. The cost of porting games to the other OS if they aren’t written in DirectX will be incredibly cheap and take a very short time. Also, if the games are sold as downloads then the cost of shipping, packaging, etc. will be reduced. And marketing through blogs and word of mouth in the open source community will reduce those costs as well. Seems like a near 100% profit to me. All the developers have to do is rehash the golden oldies, maybe combine them into compilation CDS, and sell them for the new system. Easy money for them, cool games for us Linux users. Heck, some people might even switch to Linux just to play these games again. In my opinion the old PC game developers, or whoever owns them now, are just stupid for not doing this.
Here are some games that would make a big splash. Myst, all the King’s Quests/Space Quests/Monkey Islands/etc., TIE Fighter, Civilization 2, MOO2, Half-Life 1/Steam (I know it will never happen), Mechwarrior 2 (also never), X-COM series, Apogee game collection, Hero Quests (also a dream), tons and tons of Sierra stuff like 3D pinball, the list goes on. Oh hell, I didn’t even think, make a Mac OSX release too. In fact, that might even be a more profitable proposition.