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Epic Games is killing Linux support for games and software it acquired (twitter.com)
194 points by Jerry2 3 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 109 comments

While I don't normally make too big of an issue when games lack Linux support, Epic games seems openly hostile to the platform as seen by removing support where it already exists.

I have invested the time in setting up a Windows VM w/ PCI passthrough in order to play some games with friends. So I am not a hardline free software user or unwilling to use Windows for playing games.

But when a distributor and developer is openly hostile to the platform even as it's gaining traction among other developers (Valve, Google, etc), I am certainly willing to not buy their games anymore as a somewhat political stance. There are plenty of games that run on Linux for me to spend my time and money on.

Agreed, I'm voting with my dollars and will no longer purchase Epic products, and will now consider them in the same class as EA.

Would you mind sharing your VM setup with PCI passthrough? I had looked into this previouly, but guides I saw seemed to only let you pass it through depending on settings at boot of the host OS. From what I understand, this means that if I wanted to pass the GPU through to the VM, I would lose it in the host OS until I reboot again. Does your setup let you hotswap it w/o a reboot?

Yes, my current setup does allow hotswapping the GPU from the host and guest. It does require using the integrated or some other GPU to run your X11 server and then using primusrun when you want to use the dedicated GPU on the host. I'm using a rather old GTX 760 so I'm not sure if there are any limitations with newer nvidia cards.

My kernel line is (I disable the spectr/meltdown mitigations so ignore those parts):

  root=/dev/mapper/ssd-arch--root rw intel_iommu=on iommu=pt i915.enable_guc=3 i915.disable_power_well=0 i915.enable_psr=1 i915.enable_fbc=1 i915.enable_rc6=1 pci=nomsi,noaer pti=off spectre_v2=off l1tf=off nospec_store_bypass_disable no_stf_barrier
The XML for the VM I configured in virt-manager can be found here:


I don't think has any significant modifications. Eventually I want to switch over to using the newer q35 architecture. The only issues I've had with the VM are some audio glitches in some games and it has recently had issues with hugepages so I've had to disable that.

This is awesome, thank you so much!

Is this really hostility? Supporting an additional platform is expensive in terms of dev, qa complexity, and support. Maybe this is just a case of looking at the numbers, and the benefit not being worth the cost.

It works both ways, and I do not think buying stuff from Epic Games is worth the cost anymore.

Both ways at very different amount of benefit and loss.

There will be a non-zero number of people who will have purchased those games precisely due to there being a linux client available for them.

Pulling support for a client of a competitive online game like Rocket League is fundamentally closing the game to those players - as they will be unable to compete online with other players (be it on PC or on the other platforms).

I really don't like Epic's change in behaviour here - It's quite disheartening since when they used to release first party Linux builds of their products ('Unreal Tournament 2004', and the recently cancelled upcoming 'Unreal Tournament' had Linux client releases), and they were one of the few big name game dev houses to actively support Linux clients.

UE4 itself can build to Linux, so this move just baffles me. If anything, I thought Epic was going to push harder on Linux.

Valve is pushing linux hard because they have to compete with microsoft, and although steam is much bigger than the windows store, windows store comes with the platform and linux has nothing comparable. Epic store does want to compete with steam, but they also care about the eastern market—hence the tencent investment—where internet cafes are much more popular than PCs; they can make deals with the internet cafe owners to make epic the installed store, and artificially capture market share that way.

I don't see the link between interest in the Eastern market and not supporting Linux.

Windows penetration on those regardless of official licenses installed on machine? A good few years ago, MSFT came out saying they didn't care if over 80% of the machine were running unlicensed version of Windows as long as the market share in East Asia for Windows OS was so dominant that no-one would be familiar with anything else.

Why would that matter, though? Even with better support, people gaming on Linux is still a tiny fraction worldwide, Asia is no different there.

I can only think of 2 possible reasons-- (1) the support costs are too high for the number of players (online competitive game, I'm sure there's quite a bit of dev time involved in securing the clients & preventing cheating that is Linux-specific) (2) Valve is supporting Linux, epic is busy feuding with valve, and this is similar to a petty toddler breaking their toy so they don't have to share.

Could be either, but I don't see how market penetration of windows in Asia could explain it

1% of desktop market is counting pennies for AAA studios.

Not like this was ever any different. And yet, they used to support it then. They have just turned a corner as a company. With all the exclusivity deals, anti-competitive tactics, anti-consumer sentiment and nonsense that the Sweeney clown spews, they are really competing with EA for worst gaming-related company. (Their tech is still good, but so is EA’s; that’s not the problem.)

Exclusive deals are part of the industry since the early 80's.

Other than Unreal (the game), there was hardly any big effort to support GNU/Linux from Epic side.

Unreal Tournaments were supported, including the last one that got cancelled.

Exclusivity has no place on a decentralized market. When Sony and Microsoft do it, it’s still reprehensible, but understandable. This is inexcusable. People defending such deals (including Sony’s or Microsoft’s or Atari’s) are idiots.

Call naming just proves that it isn't worthwhile dealing with such community.

Leaving money on the table is always a sound business decision.

Well when its pennies compared to what you have to invest you are not really leaving anything. Which is bigger, the OS X market or the Linux market. When we say Linux, certain ones or all of them?

I understand where these companies are coming from. I would too love to have more games available to me on OS X but the simple fact is there are not enough customers to spend money to develop directly for it or even contract out to a software house to write a wrapper. Let alone how many complain how much the games or DLC cost are worse on some platforms compared to others.

Now it is more profitable to get cross platform with PC and game consoles.

My comment was aimed at artificially fragmenting the PC community with exclusives, not Linux in particular.

A couple of pennies from a name calling community isn't money on the table.

I am not talking about the Linux community. I don’t belong to that community. Leaving your game out of Steam is not a sound business decision, as publishers are now finding out. Once Epic stops throwing money (not a scalable practice), they will be back on Steam in no time, with tarnished reputation.

Before 2007 mobile gaming might have been pennies for AAA studios. A wise business move isn't about closing doors but peeking through them, the next stage might very well be gaming on the cloud and cloud rarely runs on windows.

This is just my few pennies about that train of thought.

Imo no one will game on the cloud. The latencies involved are too great for fluid gameplay.

Remember Loki Games?

More than 1% if the market will react with hostility due to this. Gamers are a hornet's nest when it comes to anti-consumer practices.

Gamers are quite used to game consoles exclusives.

Epic store is not a console app.

> UE4 itself can build to Linux, so this move just baffles me.

That could be to support Android or game consoles like the Switch.

I doubt it, unreal tournament 99 had a Linux build. Assuming their engine has been iteratively developed, there has likely always been the ability to build for Linux, even before Android existed.

Unreal Engine 4 is a fresh codebase I believe; not a descendant of UE3.

Sony is in the same class for this. They removed the option for "Other OS" on the PS3, and they suffered dearly for it.


That seems more a handslap, not a deterrent.

Technology advancement (e.g., remote changes to blackbox products) makes many abuses easier than they used to be, and market forces don't seem to be working well enough, so I think we need strength of law as a check on abuses.

suffered dearly?

There was a lot of complaining online, but the class action was a minor inconvenience and they now have a pretty solid lead with the ps4.

The very first UT (aka UT99) also had a Linux port. They even had a demo pre-release on Linux.

It makes me feel old to remember buying physical media that will still work today, 30 years later. My fictive grand kids will be able to play those games long after the worms have gnawed my bones.

Whereas my library of virtual assets will probably evaporate into ether before I'm even retired.

> My fictive grand kids will be able to play those games long after the worms have gnawed my bones.

I would love that you be right. And by far, I strongly prefer physical media.

However, physical media is no guarantee either.

- Sometimes, the pain is on purpose: some apps require an online activation, and the corresponding service, 30 years later, is not available anymore.

- Sometimes, it's a lack of foresight from the developers (i.e overzealous Windows version checks, refusing newer versions).

- Sometimes, it's plain dumb stupidity (the installer is a 16-bit windows executable).

If you're not convinced, I suggest you try installing, say, Wipeout XL (for Windows 95) on a recent laptop (spoiler: at this point it's easier to play the PSX version on an emulator).

He who works on drm destroys the legacy of his fellow man.

For certain, I meant to imply "... without depending on online activation". As for copyright protection, most schemes can or have been defeated with emulators. Even pesky Apple Lisa can be run in emulators (no thanks to Apple).

Physical media + online DRM is as bad as online-only.

I agree, and add:

Sometimes bits rot, and the media becomes unreadable. Sometimes you're able to back it up, sometimes not.

Sometimes hardware and software incompatibilities appear. I built a late 90s/2000 era PC for that period of PC gaming (Windows 98, CRT). Other times, you get lucky and it's fixed: Freelancer won't run on Vista, but will on 7.

> at this point it's easier to play the PSX version on an emulator

How hard is it to set up windows 95 in a vm, basically an emulator?

Well, if you want any decent performance, you'll need to pass through a PCI device which is non-trivial even on modern Hosts and Windows Guests.

Depends on what you mean by "decent performance". PCem emulates on hardware level (it uses stock BIOS firmware, for example), and it can run Win95 with about the same perf as a typical machine circa 1996. And it also emulates 3dfx.

I'd expect CPU rendering to work pretty well on a game from 1996. I could be wrong though.

I wrote that and now I just got a "Your UltraViolet Movies and TV Shows Are at Risk" mail. Sigh.

> It makes me feel old to remember buying physical media that will still work today, 30 years later.

If it uses GPU rendering, possessing physical media doesn't mean much. GPU vendors aren't that diligent about making sure old games run properly on their current hardware offerings.

Even for physical media for console games, patches DLC are delivered through the console's online service. Once that ends, as it has for the PSP and original Xbox, you're left with the game as it was originally released with whatever bugs it contains.

> GPU vendors aren't that diligent about making sure old games run properly on their current hardware offerings.

The compatibility situation has improved a lot, thanks to Vista. Windows Vista required D3D9-capable GPU, actually used it to render desktop, and Microsoft’s GUI stack uses the hardware too, e.g. modern WPF is still based on DX9 because compatibility reasons.

While GPU vendors indeed don’t care about gamers running 10 years old games, they can’t ignore business customers running 10 years old LoB software. As a side effect, even very slow (by modern standards) integrated Intel GPUs are usually quite good at running older DX9-based games.

> my library of virtual assets will probably evaporate into ether before I'm even retired.

That’s why I prefer gog over steam, downloading complete offline installers, and keeping them backed up. This way is even more reliable than buying games on physical media. Due to anti-piracy measures, often you can’t easily back up CDs or DVDs.

I already can't play anything on physical media. I don't have an optical drive anymore.

Sad to hear this. I have fond memories of running Unreal Tournament 2004 on Linux back in the day. I was still in high school and had just the one PC, which I used both for gaming and the “fooling around with Linux” that led me to a career in tech. It was a small joy to use a single OS for both activities, especially with my PC’s smallish hard disk. I didn’t have to dual-boot or choose between gaming and learning.

What keeps people from class actioning the shit out of Epic for rendering software that they paid for unplayable?

Usually, clauses in EULA's regarding forced arbitration protect companies from being sued for such nonsense, but seeing as how no such agreement has been made by these users between them and Epic, I don't see how it can be avoided legally. Those agreements were made with Valve.

If I suddenly find that I can no longer play Rocket League on Linux as a result of this, I'll be first in line.

Relevant: https://twitter.com/TeddyEAC/status/1125665801493798912

> To clarify, Easy Anti-Cheat still provides native Linux support and will continue to do so. Earlier comments by a partner reflect ordinary day-to-day prioritization decisions on anti-cheat issues across all platforms and not any change in long-term priority for Linux.

When did the truth became relevant? You can't generate outrage and views with truth.

> EGS will never have a Linux build

This feels like a strange thing since the Epic engine is available on Linux (I used it for dev just a couple of months ago).

I am not disputing the statement, the op makes a good case for atleast Tim being quite anti-Linux. I just feels really weird that the game store wouldn't ever get to a platform the engine is already on. It feels short sighted by Epic. Or I guess it just isn't worth the investment...

EGS itself is an Electron garbage. The whole reason to use Electron garbage is to build cross-platform crapware on the cheap.

In my experience this is just an excuse. The developers still have to produce builds for linux and test them and even though this is very easy, they just don't do it.

Indeed. Using Electron is always a lazy excuse, but developers keep making the excuses, so we should hold them accountable.

Interestingly enough, although steam does support linux and isn't an electron garbage, it's going to become one soon.

It might as well be electron since they probably use a chromium/webkit fork to run the storeview and it's an increbile memory hog already. By going electron route atleast maintainance will be easier for them.

Not exactly. They had an embedded WebKit, but the UI itself wasn’t Electron garbage.

It's embedded CEF, fyi. And I'm fairly certain the new friends UI (which is built using a web stack) isn't Electron, but still just leveraging their existing CEF implementation.

Valve also use HTML/CSS (or some form of it) for their game UIs using Panorama, but this doesn't use any form of web browser from my knowledge.

Ah yes, mixed up my techs. I meant embedded Chromium, not WebKit.

> The whole reason to use Electron garbage is to build cross-platform crapware on the cheap.


I feel like Electron encourages bad practice by allowing the developer to avoid the work of learning to write a native desktop app in favour of offloading the trade-offs of this decision onto their end-users in the form of poorly performing, bloated crap.

Nontechnical speculation: Just a power struggle with Valve.

Mostly technical speculation: The horrible binary compatibility story of Linux userland.

Socio-technical speculation because everything is now multiplayer: Less effective DRM on Linux means more cheaters ruining the game for others, in the worst case losing more players than Linux adds.

Are you saying that CounterStrike on Linux doesn't have same anticheat compared to windows? I doubt that.

>Mostly technical speculation: The horrible binary compatibility story of Linux userland.

This has been effectively solved by three different tools. Take your pick from:

* Appimages

* Snaps

* Flatpaks

Naturally they all have their own upsides and downsides, but if the only thing holding you back from shipping to linux is concerns about fiddling with shared libraries, just pick one at random and move on. I suggest appimages as feeling closest to a fat binary without triggering various licence clauses, deliver it like it's an exe.

Very first AppImage I tried didn't work due to some font library. So nope.

I've built longer lasting pure linux binaries that use SDL with just gcc myself

Hey how steep the learning curve for SDL is for a beginner who doesn't even know C++?

I've had multiple AppImages that didn't even start on some systems. Flatpak and Snap works really well though.

Not to mention Steam ships its own runtime on Linux, and developers can just statically link anything else that they need.

At some point they are going to learn the only lesson in sales that truly matters to long term success: “make the customer like you.” And then we’re all going to laugh at them. Unless Tencents coffers are truly bottomless.

Well, so much for the argument that having a player that can put pressure on Steam will help make things more flexible for developers. Such a shame.

Epic really doesn't want my money at all I guess. Between the constant ads I receive for their launcher and fortnite. At least one of which isn't actually available for my operating system(not sure about fortnite), their lack of support for the operating system I use and their aggressive anti-competitive behaviour, I find them to be a distasteful company and don't feel like supporting them in any way.

SteamOS helped encourage Linux ecosystem and graphics improvements. Proton (Valve's wine solution) has made almost all windows games playable on Steam (some run better than the Linux native versions). Of course DRM issues exist that screw with it though.

I think that Epic Killing Linux native is a shame but I also think that Valve has a long plan to make it a viable platform, and it's only begun, where many assumed they hit and missed.

The fact their VR headset will run on Linux too...

It looks like this won't matter too much to future of Linux gaming is all I'm saying.

If money and users are there, it's a different ballgame.

I'm not sure its entirely fair to say that's their plan has only begun, as SteamOS first released over 5 years ago in 2013. As best I can tell, it was originally a strategic hedge against Microsoft locking down Windows in some way that prioritized the Windows Store for game distribution. That never really took off for Microsoft, and Valve didn't do a ton of work try to try to market SteamOS.

Though certainly they've been doing a lot of work behind the scenes with Proton now. I'm not sure where Proton leads quite yet other than making their existing Linux user base very happy. It's certainly increased the stickiness for me.

It's hard to tell with Valve as projects come and go, but I Believe there is a coming launch planned. It was mentioned recently but I cannot remember the source.

We will see over the next year I guess.

I seem to recall Sony being sued in a class action for yanking linux support from the PS3 after it was released, and losing. I hope the same happens here.

AFAICT those Epic-acquired games will still be available on Steam if you purchased them there – though they might not get updates, fixes, etc.

But Rocket League is primarily multiplayer? How is that gonna work?

Not at all but Epic will surely argue that in principle, the Steam users still have the version they paid for, nothing more or less. Not their fault they made updates to their servers that made it non-functional.

I bought an HP x360z Envy recently and added PlayOnLinux which seems to be similar to going through the whole WINE setup of installer -- easy to do. The Android MOBAs I play with desktop client support work without issue. Getting Radeon driver support for VEGA 8 is an entirely different matter though. I'm running Fedora 30 and before that 29, before it's release, the Cheese camera app would flip through and flicker with the IR camera with no easy way to resolve it and thus, making it unusable. It sucks, because the only thing tying me to my Razer Stealth is gaming and that in turn, to Windows. I can't say Razer is hardware I could recommend though, think of it as the Apple of gaming hardware. Steep price with bloatware and in my case, the ocassional repair that leaves you without a laptop for days (my laptop case warped due to heat generated). Rather than replacing it because of fault, they just swapped the case and sent it back. I can expect this issue to happen in a few months again. Razer support is OK -- I've gone through a few cases where I had to talk to a x-tier technician who resolved a problem with the Razer Core e-GPU. Will gaming on Linux ever work? who knows. I'm excited for Google Stadia and hope it doesn't go the way of OnLive.

note to self, avoid Epic titles

Since UT04, what good titles have they done anyway? They have a good engine, but their games have been terrible for a very long time.

They’re starting to acquire more titles now though, so a good chunk of Epic titles will have some quality to them than the ones they were producing themselves since the UT days.

So they're vacuuming up things that are good...and ruining them...great.

Fortnite is quite popular, I hear.

Just wow. I have been indifferent about Epic Games and their launcher but this sends a clear message: I will stay clear of their store.

Okay, I get it making the rounds on Twitter, but now it's hit Hacker News? Jesus i'm overwhelmed

Epic 'Does the Dirty' Games

All 10 Linux gamers howled in rage at this news...

If there was a market for Linux games Epic wouldn't have pulled Linux support. There is no money in Linux gaming, so many companies have started to pull back on supporting Linux after years of experimenting.

Slightly, but only slightly exaggerated. It's not cost-effective to support a platform with such small user-base, especially when it is a crapshoot of specs on the order of 90s PC gaming.

Probably much simpler just to make a solid Windows build that plays nicely with WINE.

The Steam hardware survey doesn't really support your claims about Linux hardware specs vs Windows: https://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey/Steam-Hardware-Softw...

Let alone MacOS, which is more supported than Linux but has comparatively much poorer hardware stats.

I was referring more to the variations of distributions, and the subsystems and drivers and other gunk that makes a big surface area. I've had enough trouble with pulseaudio and Intel graphics drivers and flaky Synaptics crap just on my own machines.

According to your link, 0.81% of Steam users are running Linux. And they're spread out over a number of distributions, with the largest share at 0.20% for Ubuntu 18.04. Seems to support the claim that it's a very small and fragmented user base.

The post you replied to is about hardware specs, not the size of the user base.

Which is filled with broken driver experiences, and a pleothora of distributions.

I gather from your comment that it's been a while since you refreshed your knowledge of the current state of linux.

Graphics card driver issues largely stopped being a problem about 4 years ago, with both major graphics card manufacturers committing to open source drivers.

Packaging for multiple distributions is a problem that I would call "solved" for the past ~2 years, see my comment here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19844241

Maybe that is why AMD open source drivers still doesn't properly support my travel notebook APU.

So where is the great hardware video decoding and the GL features fxgl was capable of?

Accelerated video support is in the amdgpu driver which supports va-api (and vdpau).

It doesn't support my AMD card, which was doing perfectly fine with fxgl, and DX11 on the Windows side.

I take it your card is pretty old. There's always an option of staying at an older OS (like Ubuntu pre 16.04) to keep fglrx. What is your AMD card, by the way?

Brazos APU.

So the solution is to stay on a legacy kernel, with the security risks it entails, while my Windows 10 can perfectly make use of the DX 11 drivers.

So. Your old (2011), low tier, graphics hardware doesn't work on Linux because AMD scrapped their old terrible driver and abandoned it in their new driver? The company you bought your APU from dropped support for you, what has that to do with Linux? How is that not just another case of another company dropping support for Linux on a product after they already have your money? (Pennies on the dollar, I think you called it.)

AMD's low-middle tier hardware is known to be mediocre, their drivers are known to be poor, and they're also known to drop support for hardware much faster than their competitors.

Yeah, you can run Linux on nearly anything.. but that doesn't mean you should try to sit in front of an old machine running old low quality components from manufacturers that don't support their low margin products.

Yet the Windows driver is still supported, go figure.

Well, actually, about that...

You never did give your graphics card model number, but according to this[1] page the Brazos platform had two codename variants for laptops and notebooks: Ontario and Zacate. Hondo and Desna were exclusively for tablets. There were no variants for desktops.

According to this page[2] that puts your card somewhere in the Radion HD 6xxx or HD7xxx driver set, and the only references to Ontario are the Radeon HD 6290 and the Radeon HD 7340.

If you go to the AMD drivers download page[3] you'll discover that both of these cards have dropped off the bottom of the list of supported cards in their respective driver categories.

Now hey, maybe your card is a slightly newer model and it's still in that download list. I don't know, since I don't know your exact card model. But my 10 seconds of research says that actually it's probably not supported any more. If I'm wrong about that then you're pretty god damn close to the cliff edge at this point.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMD_Accelerated_Processing_Uni... [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radeon_HD_6000_Series [3] https://www.amd.com/en/support

It wouldn't be that hard to put a couple developers of each major distro around a table then have them decide that when the user installs say the gaming_mode package, a well defined and standardized set of kernel+libraries+devices gets installed/created along with a new Grub boot option should that conflict with current versions.

It would work as easy as having a desktop_mode, audio_mode package, .... /s

In case you missed it, that was the point of Steam Machines, and the respective distribution.

A mere 1% of Valve customers.

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