The end of a year is a good time to sit, think and reflect on what a year it has been and what we hope 2023 will bring so here’s some of what I want and what I think could happen.
I actually wrote a wishlist for the Steam Deck back in October, and funnily enough pretty much every single point there is still valid right now. Some points have had minor work but most of it hasn’t been touched. I hope Valve are reading, because all of those points are what I regularly see people moan and gripe about too.
What else though for the wider picture?
– Neon Prime. Come on Valve, we need a new game from you. A proper one, not another (while very cool) Aperture Desk Job. We had the trademark registration for Neon Prime and leaker / data miner Tyler McVicker thinks it’s close to release. What the heck is it? I’m overly keen to find out. With good cross-platform support across Linux desktop, Steam Deck and Windows it could be an easy hit if it’s a good multiplayer game like it’s expected to be.
– For publishers to actually stop forcing Launchers on us. Don’t make me beg. Have you ever met someone who said “heck yeah, the EA App!” or “oh lovely, the 2K launcher” in any kind of serious way? No you haven’t — no one has. They almost always add nothing of value, break things constantly (not just on Linux / Steam Deck) and they’re just a great big nuisance. I would like for them to just go away, forever. Throw them in the bin. Get them in the sea, just far away from me.
– Valve Deckard. We know from a lot of details going out, that Valve seem to be working on a new VR HMD, one that should be both portable and able to connect up to a PC. It will likely run Linux for the portable mode, hence all their work on Linux (not just for Steam Deck). Gimme. Seriously. The Valve Index is great, but it’s also overly bulky and really Valve haven’t actually done all that much with it, especially on the Linux side where they’ve seemingly ignored Index support for some time now and the experience is less than stellar. I have high hopes that the Deckard will be a big improvement in many ways.
– Steam Deck Refresh. Look, the Steam Deck is fantastic overall but it could be better. It’s not time yet for a Steam Deck 2, Valve said it themselves that they want to keep the main internals (CPU/GPU) the same to have a good point for developers and gamers but they want to focus on the screen and battery life. So do it. Towards the end of 2023, I would be surprised if we didn’t have a confirmation that a nice refresh was on the way for this. The battery life being the biggest gripe people seem to talk about would hopefully get wiped off the table. Having it a bit lighter somehow would be another great bit to focus on, to prevent that hand / wrist strain from longer sessions. I hope Valve keep focusing on improving the Steam Deck, and not entertain the ridiculous idea of exclusive games.
– Half-Life 3, Portal 3. I can dream can’t I? Half-Life: Alyx was a true return to form for Valve games, and one of the best gaming experiences I’ve ever had but I want more! I need to find out what happens after [redacted]. Portal 3 would also be another great one, with the first two being some of my favourite puzzles games and even their own writers want to do a third.
– SteamOS 3 public release. Perhaps another big turning point for Linux and Linux Gaming as a whole? I get comments asking me for info on this daily (no I really don’t know). The Steam Deck has turned a great many heads to just how powerful and good Linux can be as a platform, and now it seems many more people want to try it but they’re waiting for SteamOS 3 to be released. While I think people would be better off sticking to a proper desktop Linux distribution (like Ubuntu), SteamOS 3 on desktop could actually be quite interesting to see, and with it then being available to more hardware vendors, we could see a true explosion in gaming devices shipping with Linux. 2022 was the year of Linux Gaming thanks to the Steam Deck, perhaps 2023 will truly be the year of Linux on the desktop?
– More Linux Hardware Releases. The Steam Deck is great but we need more, and not just from Valve. More hardware shipping with Linux on it out of the box and properly supported. I’ve said time and time again, this is what we need to push Linux forward. You can have the best distributions around, the slickest desktop environments, it can truly send Windows packing but it’s largely useless if it’s not out there in the face of the masses on hardware. It needs to be an oven ready deal; people just need to get it and turn it on.
– For Linux to break 3% on the Steam Hardware & Software Survey. I don’t actually think this one is too big of an ask. It’s trending towards 2% by the middle of 2023, thanks to the Steam Deck shipping with SteamOS.
– Anti-cheat woes. We already have Easy Anti-Cheat and BattlEye supporting Linux and Proton (and so Steam Deck too), so it’s largely down to game developers to hook up support and many just haven’t bothered to do so. There’s issues developers and publishers need to think on of course, like opening up a multiplayer game to more platforms that could potentially bring in more cheaters. Both Linux desktop and Steam Deck are a growing market (#1, #2) of players, that I truly hope the Steam Deck’s expansion into Asia becomes a turning point on this so that it can no longer be ignored.
– More open source from NVIDIA. In 2022 we had quite a surprise, with NVIDIA opening up their kernel modules and it would be great to see even more like this. They’ve made a good start and I hope to see them keep pushing. NVIDIA proprietary drivers are a constant nuisance and source of many annoyances for me over the past few years. I would already be on an AMD GPU by now, if OverclockersUK didn’t oversell at the 7900 XTX launch.
– GOG Galaxy and Epic Games Store on Linux — officially. Yeah yeah, Steam is great and all but options are better for consumers as a whole. Wine / Proton development has helped firmly bridge the gap of getting games working on Linux, now we need the other stores to follow along but this is the biggest ask, much more of a dream than any of the previous.
What do you want to see throughout 2023?
Don’t forget to follow along on YouTube!