Focus Story

Freedom in PC Gaming

In 2013, Microsoft received heavy criticism from the gaming community when it announced that Xbox One would require to be always connected to the internet. Previous generation gaming consoles never had that anti-piracy measure and gamers have freedom if they want to play online or offline. The idea was really resisted by the gaming community and some went as far as making jokes about Don Mattrick’s response to the criticism.

Microsoft cancelled their “always online” anti-piracy measure for Xbox One but not because they listened to the gaming community. It is because Sony announced that PlayStation 4 does not require an internet connection. PlayStation is a direct competitor to Xbox and Microsoft knows that they cannot just ignore Sony’s decision.

So, what has that got to do with PC gaming? If you prefer an ergonomic office chair as you your battle station, if you are playing the latest games that require DirectX 12 or if you have recently bought a gaming laptop, the OS (operating system) you are using is Windows 10. Microsoft released Windows 10 in July 2015 and initially offered it for free in the hopes of getting it on as many computers as possible. They even went as far as tricking users of previous versions of Windows into upgrading their OS to Windows 10 without their knowledge and approval.

Windows 10 is great for gaming but the problem with it is the user have no freedom on system control. Everyone has probably experienced at least once an automatic system update when restarting the PC. A popular YouTube channel, JayzTwoCents, experienced it during one of his overclocking sessions. Even one of our writers here also experienced it.

The problem? Many PC gamers are being led to believe that Windows 10 is the only viable OS for playing games on the PC so they just choose to deal with the nuisances of Windows 10. The situation gets worse when popular online publications and YouTube channels only speak partial truths.

So, what is the solution?

Use Linux for gaming.

Ok, I know what many of you are probably thinking right now.

“Linux is hard to use. I don’t want to learn to use the command line interface.”
“But I was told that gaming performance sucks on Linux.”
“You’re fcvking out of your mind. Linux has few games.”
“My favorite game is only available on Windows.”

Let me explain. Some of the usual arguments against Linux gaming are true up to a certain extent only and some of them are even outdated already. Majority of the PC gamers have just been brainwashed to think Linux has no place in gaming. I know because I also used to believe that Windows is the only for OS for gaming (dating way back to the time I’m playing Max Payne in 2001). I never expected that one day I would use Linux for gaming without dual-booting with Windows.

Linux is hard to use

True if you will use Linux distros such as Arch and Gentoo. Read our newbie friendly guide to using Linux for gaming and you will see that Ubuntu MATE is easy to use.

Gaming performance sucks on Linux

Linux performance used to be only 60 – 70% of the Windows performance in games released in 2015 or earlier. Newer games that are using Vulkan show better competition between Linux and Windows. F1 2017, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia all use Vulkan and their Linux performance is about 85 – 95% of the Windows performance. Not bad considering Vulkan was just released in February 2016.

Linux has few games

Few or many is relative. It’s all about the game genres. There are game genres where Linux excels and there are some wherein Linux still lacks. It is being addressed and we just have to keep supporting the game devs such as Feral Interactive, Aspyr Media, Paradox Interactive, Croteam, and many others that have consistently supported Linux gaming.

My favorite game is only available on Windows

For some that really cannot leave very popular Windows-only games such as PUBG, Overwatch, and Battlefield 1, there’s still a way. Stop buying games that are Windows-only, setup a dual-boot of Linux + Windows, and keep on playing your favorite games on Windows then start building your game library with games that have Linux support. If everyone would continue to have the mentality “I would only use Linux once Game X or Game Y is available on Linux“, then Linux game devs such as Feral Interactive might suffer the same fate of Loki Interactive.

Related readings:
How Steam Determines a Game’s OS Sale
Linux Game Play Videos Play List

I’m not saying Windows should go away but we need a formidable competitor for it. Linux fits the purpose but we just need to support it. We all know that monopoly is bad for consumers and there are lots of real world examples to prove it.

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