Following the very public and widespread news this week that Gabe Newell thinks Windows 8 is crap -- which is actually a repeat of what I exclusively reported back in April -- there's been a lot of interesting comments and prospects raised about the future of Linux gaming.
Following Newell's negative statements towards Windows 8, there was an interesting tweet by Rob Pardo, the Executive Vice President of Game Design at Blizzard Entertainment. "nice interview with Gabe Newell - "I think Windows 8 is a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space* - not awesome for Blizzard either"
So at least Pardo agrees with Newell over this next Microsoft Windows release due out in October is a catastrophe. However, he hasn't commented on any love for Linux or any Blizzard new game plan.
In years past there's been talk of a native Linux client for Blizzard's World of Warcraft MMORPG that never went released. I do know this has existed internally for years, albeit never publicly released. At least as of last year there still was an internal build of WoW for Linux. It may still be maintained, but no plans have been communicated about publicly releasing the World of Warcraft Linux client.
I also know that at least about two years ago, Blizzard was active within the ATI/AMD Linux driver beta program for Catalyst under NDA.
While Blizzard has privately flirted with Linux, publicly they haven't said much and in the past there's also been reports of Blizzard allegedly banning users who use Wine to play Blizzard titles on Linux -- this year there was controversy surrounding Diablo III gamers being banned for using Wine and then a few years prior there was bans for playing World of Warcraft under Cedega.
Following Ron Pardo's comments about siding with Gabe Newell on not liking Windows 8, I reached out to some of my sources close to Blizzard. Information has been limited, but it doesn't appear they have any formalized Linux plans at this point but are actively monitoring the space.
The good news is that their key titles (Diablo III, StarCraft II, and World of Warcraft) have official native Mac OS X clients using OpenGL, plus there's the unreleased WoW Linux client already, so publicly delivering these titles to Linux gamers hopefully won't be much of a stretch should they choose. From the few bits heard, it already sounded better than EA's current Linux flirting.