Someone emailed me in private and said that "you don't want to mention open source gaming. It's a sad joke." and other stuff like that. I'd like to mention some reasons for why I think this is largely the case.
Reason: Proprietary Games are OK. -----------------------------------
If you read Joel on Software's http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/FiveWorlds.html , you'll see that commercial games play by different rules than what Joel calls "shrinkwrap" software, which is software (whether open-source or proprietary) that is distributed or used in the wild by many different people. A game must be perfectly right the first time, most games are failures, and generally games require much more effort than just coding the engine.
Richard M. Stallman was quoted as saying that "game engines should be free, but approves of the notion that graphics, music, and stories could all be separate and treated differently (i.e., "Non-Free.")":
Since a typical game nowadays costs a lot of money to develop, and requires the collaboration of many people, it seems unlikely that we will see many open-source games that are up-to-par with commercial offerings. When we work on FOSS alternatives to commercial apps: Firefox, Thunderbird, OpenOffice.org, Inkscape, GIMP, Audacity, etc. we can expect the first versions to have some bugs and that some features will be missing even in the contemporary versions, because either they don't matter much to people or because we will eventually catch up with them. But we cannot afford to do it in most games.
My hope is that eventually either game engines would indeed be open-source or at least close (because the amount of work done on the engine is minuscule in comparison to the rest of the game) so they can be ported to Linux, or that at least game companies will start supporting Linux better once it gains marketshare, or that wine, cedega, etc. will allow better support.
Reportedly, Blizzard has been using GNU/Linux internally to develop their games (World of Warcraft, etc.) and test them, but has not released an official version for Linux yet, or supports it.
Reason: Graphic Artists are unwilling to contribute -----------------------------------------------------
For some reason or another it seems that talented graphic artists do not volunteer to contribute to open-source/open-content, whether games or other software. You can see some discussion of it here:
And scrottie later continued it in this blog comment to a post "where a graphic designer expresses moral outrage at being asked by Google to contribute design work to Chrome in exchange for thanks, not money"
While there are probably fewer professional graphic artists than professional programmers (since many classes of programs require very little graphics design), I still think that a much smaller percentage of them contribute to open-source than programmers.
I don't know which percentage of programmers contribute to FOSS on their free time, and there was something that people asked after the 2001-2002 recession, when many programmers became unemployed, why we don't see a flood of Israeli programmers to FOSS projects, where they can gain some esteem, experience, knowledge, and also have something to do in their free time. Nevertheless, there are still enough programmers to make a difference and to even pose a significant competition to commercial offering.
I don't know the reason why graphics artists are so reluctant to contribute. But I think we can just assume that there are probably not enough to donate to even one large scale open-source game, not to mention that there are many fractured efforts for creating such games which fight for attention of a limited mind-share.
Reason: Web-based games are posing a significant competition: ---------------------------------------------------------------
So playing these great web games, I've been feeling that it's a new renaissance for such relatively low-budget, not too high-quality but otherwise great playability games. Most of the people who make these games probably don't get rich, because the web has a very low revenue model, but I think the fun is the important factor here.
In short, I don't see the situation with open-source games improving in the future, because there are good reasons for it not to. However, what can improve is the availability of non-free games on Linux and other free OSes and compatibility with Windows-based games. Some hard-core Windows gamers may also opt to dual-boot, use WINE, or use other solutions if only to gain the other technical and ideological advantages of Linux.