In need of software reform
There needs to be a reform in how software purchases are counted. I originally wrote a paper called "The Open Letter to the Gaming Industry" where I outlined many points of interest that need to be reformed in order for the gaming industry to allow for greater competition. I did not, however, publish this paper because I never finished it. But, there is one major point that I continually address that needs to be changed.
When a consumer goes to their local software vendor (Best Buy, CompUSA, EB Games, GameStop, etc.) and purchase a game, that purchase gets marked as a purchase for the dominate platform which that game gets played on. For example, If I purchase Final Fantasy 12 for the PS2, that purchase gets marked as a PS2-based sale. If I purchase Halo 3, that gets marked as an XBOX360-based sale. Where things get confusing is when you make the move to the PC gaming section. If I purchase Unreal Tournament 2004 on DVD, that is marked as a Windows-based sale. Even though UT2K4 comes with a GNU/Linux installer and even though I plan on installing and playing it on a GNU/Linux based machine, it is still marked as a Windows-based sale. There is a reason for this.
In todays world of marketing and market research, a company needs to find the best means to find out their market dominance. If a company makes available a piece of software that allows for third party applications to run on top of that, by monitoring the sales of those third party applications will give the company an idea on just how well their product is selling. Now, if said company were to influence the distributors into counting all third party application sales to be counted in favor of them, they are catering the market research in their favor, making the numbers appear to be higher than what they really are. Said company can then use those numbers to influence the game publishers to only publish games for their platform because of their dominance.
Let's look at, what I think is, the best example of this. In 2005, Mindware Studios developed the game Cold War with the intent on making it completely cross-platform. Even though they succeeded in making it run not only on Windows but on MacOSX and GNU/Linux, their publisher, Dreamcatcher Games, felt that the market for MacOSX and GNU/Linux is not worth it for them to publish the game for those platforms. Why did they think that? Because they were reading the press releases that were funded by Microsoft saying that all game purchases from retail outlets are applications and games meant to run on only the Windows platform. So what did Mindware do about this? They contacted Linux Game Publishing to publish the GNU/Linux version and Runesoft to publish the MacOSX version. Unfortunately, by purchasing the Windows version, there is no GNU/Linux installer built in (unlike with UT2K4 which has a Windows and GNU/Linux installer on the same disc), you can purchase the game with one from online retailers like Tux Games. Furthermore, by purchasing the games from outlets like Tux Games, this gets accurately marked as a Linux-based sale since Tux Games deals with nothing but GNU/Linux application distribution.
Unless you purchase a copy of GNU/Linux from a retailer, they all believe that you are purchasing software to be run on Microsoft Windows (unless they are from the MacOSX shrine aisle). This is the biggest area in need of reform that I am aware of and something needs to change.
Side Note: I know some people will say "Well, if you purchase a PS2 game, its obviously for a PS2." Not true. Especially in todays world of emulation. I can play XBOX 1 games on my desktop, or PS2 games on my desktop (rather, I have the ability to, I don't actually because I choose not to. But, if I wanted to, I could.)