When you think about gaming today, chances are an Xbox One, PlayStation 4, or a beefy gaming laptop powered by Windows 10 comes to mind. But did you ever stop and think why Mac and Linux aren’t on that list? Do you know why Windows is the platform for gaming today and the choice for development for many game designers? Let’s look at a few reasons why this is the case today.
It’s Simple Numbers
First, you can’t deny the fact that Windows is the dominate operating system on the marketplace. Sure, Apple may be the biggest tech company, but their Mac line of laptops and desktops only enjoys a small percentage of market share, despite growth in recent years. Because of this, developers with limited budgets must design their games to get the most exposure. This results in the games coming to consoles and Windows PCs, but often leaves Linux and Mac out in the cold. If the game is a success, you may see a port come to the other platforms six months or a year down the road, but that doesn’t always happen.
Consoles First, Then Ports
In today’s modern gaming world, game makers often make their games for the consoles first, and then port the game to other platforms. Now, there isn’t much difference between a modern Xbox One and a modern PC running Windows 10 these days. That means that it’s easier for the developers to create the game for Xbox One and then port the game to a PC. This ease of development is one of the reasons the PC has enjoyed some of the best titles in gaming today.
Like so many things in life today, it often just comes down to money. A good game designer with unlimited resources would likely release their game for every platform they could imagine. Unfortunately, designers often are working on strict budgets. It’s their job to create the best game possible while staying in that budget. That means that sacrifices have to be made. Now this ties into the numbers I talked about above. Because they need to the most exposure to make the most money and they are operating on a limited budget, developers will go with Windows to get the best bang for the buck, so to speak. That is not to mention that there are more budget gaming laptops running Windows than any other operating system, making their market a lot larger from the get-go.
The platforms of Linux and macOS are quite a bit different from Windows. This means added development to get the game ported to those systems while ensuring that gameplay works properly and as gamers would expect on their systems. We have all heard stories about bad ports of games onto the PC, the Mac and even the consoles. But because of this added development, many gamers just don’t want to invest the time or the money into moving the game onto a platform that will require a little extra work.
The PC has long dominated the world of gaming, and while things have been a bit better for Mac and Linux in recent years, I would be that Windows will still dominate the marketplace of gaming for many years to come.