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TechDirt Explains How Microsoft/BSA/IDC Game the Press, GNU/Linux is Getting Games!

Steam on GNU



Summary: While Microsoft is whining that it does not make as much money as it used to (the convenient excuse is counterfeiting), GNU/Linux is actually making further progress on the desktop and Valve starts viewing GNU/Linux as a first-class citizen

EARLIER TODAY we wrote about the latest Microsoft/BSA/IDC propaganda, which is an annual ritual that predictably involves lies flooding the mainstream press. This morning when we wrote about it we hadn't yet spotted the obligatory response from TechDirt, which always throws cold water at this annual propaganda of Microsoft/BSA/IDC (it's always the same players, every year).



Like the swallows returning to Capistrano, every May is marked by the release of intentionally misleading and bogus stats from the Business Software Alliance (or, more accurately, the Bogus Stats Alliance) concerning software "piracy." As with every other year, the stats are compiled by IDC, despite the fact that even IDC has admitted in the past that the BSA is purposely misrepresenting their findings. You would think, at some point, that IDC would stop providing numbers that are blatantly misrepresented... but I guess if the money's green, IDC will give you the numbers you want.

We've been covering these bogus stat reports for many years, providing a detailed look at how misleading the stats are, and pointing out how many in the press simply parrot the numbers without question. Two years ago, a VP at the BSA (who's now working at the Justice Department, of course) was kind enough to call me to try to explain the BSA's numbers (along with a PR person and a representative from IDC). When I challenged them on the whole "one copy equals one sale thing" they insisted that their numbers showed such a claim was accurate.

[...]

They just repeat the numbers -- the same numbers the US government just said were bunk -- as if they were pure fact. Just a sampling: the AFP, the BBC, ComputerWeekly, Computerworld, the UK Press Association, Network World, eWeek and many, many others.

Business Week gets credit for being one of the very, very few sources that at least mentions the GAO's findings, though it does so in one sentence at the very bottom of the article. The National Journal also mentions the GAO report -- though neither seemed to ask (or get any responses from the BSA) to this rather crucial point. ITWire, at the very least, points out that the study is basically made up, noting that:

"estimates of piracy rates are based mostly on inferences and the 'gut feeling' of the BSA's research organisation IDC;
But that's about all I could find. For the most part, the press -- the one's we're told are supposed to be asking all the "tough" questions, simply reposted the BSA's press release as fact.


This morning we gave an example from the gaming industry in order to show holes in this piece of propaganda. A lot of sites mentioned the revenue brought in by giving games away, but fewer sites mentioned the liberation of some of these games:

Humble Indie Games Bundle



[...]

I bought in when they announced they would be Open Sourcing the games – I haven’t gotten around to actually playing any of them yet!

With programs like this, and Valve bringing Steam/TF2/HL2 to Linux, the future is looking bright.


Helios had more to say about it:

Linux Users Speak...., Devs Open Source Their Games...



Now this is simply amazing.

Nils Grotnes emailed me about 20 minutes ago with some pretty cool news.

Aquaria by Bit Blot ,Gish Published by Chronic Logic, Lugaru HD by Wolfire, and Penumbra Overture of course by Frictional Games have pledged to go open source.


On the proprietary side too, there is good news for GNU/Linux (but not so much for Wine as a product which get repackaged and sold). Steam is now officially coming to GNU/Linux.

Valve Corporation has today rolled out their Steam Mac OS X client to the general public and confirmed something we have been reporting for two years: the Steam content delivery platform and Source Engine are coming to Linux. This news is coming days after we discovered proof in Steam's Mac OS X Client of Linux support and subsequently found more Linux references and even the unreleased Steam Linux client. The day has finally come and Linux gamers around the world have a reason to rejoice, as this is the biggest news for the Linux gaming community that sees very few tier-one titles.


This is proprietary (with DRM), but it's probably better than no Steam at all. According to Wikipedia, "There are over 1,100 games available through Steam..."

As The Source put it:

Still, progress is progress and Valve bringing the Steam infrastructure to Linux along with a few “AAA” titles is progress indeed.


We have come across a lot of news about GNU/Linux gaming recently, only good news in large amounts. Most of the news appeared in daily links (we have a "Games" section) and there are also new listings of game engines for Linux. There are no less than 16 and all in all, this an exciting time for desktop GNU/Linux, whose market share quietly grows and compels Valve Corporation to respond accordingly. Valve is a business, so this port isn't just 'fanboyism', goodwill, or charity. It's indicative of growth and demand.

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