Blizzard Entertainment, the company responsible for the immensely popular franchises World of Warcraft, Starcraft and Diablo, have announced that they are making a Linux port for one of their games, but it is not known which game it is at the moment.
Blizzard, along with many other game developers large and small, have expressed a desire to publish for the Linux OS, following Valve’s suit after CEO Gabe Newell said that Windows 8 would be a “catastrophe” for gamers last year. Rob Pardo, Executive Vice President for Game Design at Blizzard, shared Newell’s sentiments—”It’s not awesome for Blizzard either,” he said in a tweet last July.
Although World of Warcraft has had a Linux client, it was largely underused, with a forum post in 2011 stating that “One of the big problems with Linux, and this is from other game developers too, is the problem of targeting a specific version of the platform. Since everyone is free to create their own distros, they can become somewhat unstandardized. That makes ‘targeting Linux’ difficult. Add on that there are far fewer linux users than windows/mac users, and that you can play WoW on linux using Wine…and there isn’t a lot of reason to target even a specific distro.”
Despite the problems with gaming on Linux, game developers want to fix those problems and find Linux attractive for its open-source nature. In an interview with Jay Wilson, director of Diablo III, he said, “A lot of our server stuff actually uses Linux, so I don’t think that it would be outrageous, but I think that we’d have to see that there’d be a demand for it. And then we’d have to see that that demand would be worth the time we take away from the other things that we could do.” Blizzard plans to make a public announcement in the next few months regarding which game will have a Linux port.