Linux gaming business opportunities?

As an occasional reader of The Linux Game Tome I just stumbled upon a very interesting article about Linux and indie games:

Indie game developer Koonsolo just revealed some surprising sales statistics on the Linux version of their game. 7 months ago they released their game ‘Mystic Mine‘, and in that time the Linux version sold more copies than the version for Windows. Yet they get plenty more website visits from Windows users. Koen Witters, the founder of the company, explains: ‘For every 232 Linux visitors we get on our website, one of them buys our game. If you compare that to the windows users, we need 526 of them to get a single sale.’ So it seems Linux users are more eager to buy downloadable games than Windows or even Mac OS X users. This data definitely asks the question if Linux is a more viable platform for game developers than anyone currently assumes. The full statistical analysis can be found at http://www.koonsolo.com/news/?p=33.

Definitely something that should make game publishers think twice, and which reminds me there were similar results found about online purchasing frequency and amounts between Firefox and IE users. Really makes you wonder why Chinese websites (and online banking!!!) support for Firefox is still so poor!

Meeting with Mozilla Europe

As mentioned previously I had the opportunity to meet and discuss with Tristan Nitot, Mozilla Europe President, while in Paris. We exchanged views and tactics about web standards promotion and Firefox adoption in different markets.

Tristan like some of us at the Beijing LUG is a man who does what he believes in, no matter what it takes, and started Mozilla Europe as a volunteer. He invested his time (and therefore money) where his heart was when AOL got rid of Netscape and fired everybody. Since we don’t hear much about what’s happening in China with Mozilla Online, I asked him what he thought helped Mozilla in Europe and if there was a “magic recipe” for success…

When starting the Mozilla Europe Association, Tristan and other members of the Firefox community tested the most visited 1000 sites in each European country, analyzed what was not working well under Firefox and emailed the fixes to each webmaster. Definitely a long and tedious process, but worth doing if you care about the web. The second step, Tristan said, and probably a very important one too, was market share. With currently 28% market share in Europe any webmaster with a bit of brain will care for standards.

Another significant detail I liked about Mozilla Europe, is that they share their office with Mandriva (a Linux distribution) and are definitely close to all things community and Linux – a bit too much sometimes admitted Tristan.

Now where does this put us, poor “Chinese mortals”? Mozilla China is in the same building as the Microsoft MSN team, Netease, Google and Sun, has very low market share and often manages to cancel (at the last minute) when invited (and confirmed) at open source conferences or community driven events. Mozilla is after market shares even in China and therefore I really wonder what is their current strategy.

To conclude it was really refreshing to be able to discuss about real problems and find out what worked in Europe. I sincerely wish Mozilla China can learn from this openness and apply some of it in our middle kingdom.