Ryan Paul for Ars:
Games like Braid, Oil Rush, and World of Goo have reportedly seen strong sales on Ubuntu and rank among the most popular paid applications in the Ubuntu Software Center. That success is helping to attract bigger publishers, such as EA, which recently added several of its HTML-based games to the Ubuntu Software Center lineup.
Linux gaming could soon get another major boost in the form of Steam support. Valve [confirmed] to Linux hardware news site Phoronix in April that the Steam client and Source Engine are on the way. The latest news suggests that Steam could possibly even arrive this year.
It makes perfect sense that Valve would show interest in porting to distributions such as Ubuntu: given the more-restrictive direction Microsoft is heading in with Windows, Valve (who have major interests in an unfettered, un-restricted PC gaming market) will have more interest in platforms that are “traditional” PC operating systems. When Windows 8 arrives, that will apply almost solely to Mac OS X and to Linuxes.
On the other hand, companies such as EA can (and do) make a killing from selling primarily to the console and app store markets. The situation on Linux with regards to market share, API and hardware support is improving, but there’s no need to get too excited yet: EA still clearly don’t see enough of a market to bother with anything more than HTML games, which should basically run as-is on Ubuntu with nominally zero effort.