First let me apologize for inadvertently starting a flame war. Perhaps I should’ve known that would happen, but I’m relatively new to this forum and didn’t think I’d get that strong a reaction.
Some interesting ideas here. Let me see if I can sort through them.
The Nintendo Switch is a really interesting device. The main attractions for me would be Breath of the Wild and Skyrim. (I’m not really a Mario fan, so that stuff isn’t going to draw me in.) BotW looks genuinely interesting, but Skyrim without mods is half the experience. I’ve authored a few mods myself, and going without would seem restrictive. When I have a bit more cash, I may get one anyway.
KB+M on a console is a neat concept, but based on that video looks like it’s rather fiddly. I’d want to try before I buy, and I’m not sure that would be possible.
I’ve managed to get Windows VMs working on Linux with GPU passthrough, but there are always gotchas. Sound isn’t quite right (pops, clicks, distortions) and certain games won’t run. What I have gotten working nearly flawlessly is Windows VMs on VMWare ESXi (free version.) Now I know that’s proprietary software, but does anyone have any info about ESXi phoning home? I could set up a Win8 VM with GPU passthrough, but I think even Win8 has telemetry issues. I suppose I can set up a pfSense VM, but I’m not sure what ports/sites to block, or how to configure pfSense to do that.
I have managed to get Wine sort of working with Skyrim in the past. The problem is that after 10 - 15 minutes of gameplay, textures started vanishing and the meshes started turned purple. I saw that on two or three different systems. I’m not sure if it was something with my systems (Nvidia proprietary driver, maybe?) or if I was doing something wrong. Modding Skyrim on Linux is also a pain.
I’ve dual booted in the past, and while it works with less up front effort than VMs, it’s annoying to reboot everytime I want to switch from daily driver to gaming machine. Plus if I actually want to run some services with Linux, they vanish every time I want to play a game.
Just abandoning AAA games altogether is not an attractive option. I’m not an ideologue; I just want to be able to have some fun and enjoy the eye candy without all my data getting snarfed up.
So based on what I’ve read here, I think I’ll be setting up a Windows VM on ESXi (assuming it doesn’t phone home) and filtering it through pfSense once I do some research on the proper ports and sites/addresses to block. And I can also run Linux in a VM if I want to set up services, or just play with different distros. The main problems I face is that GPU options are limited for my Dell workstation, and it’s using an older, slower Westmere Xeon. I may have to get something like a GTX 1060 to meet its power restrictions.
One final question to @Goblin. While it’s true for now that Win7 will run the vast majority of games, DirectX 12 will eventually supplant DX11. Will you only play DX11 and lower games, or will you start running Win10 to play the latest and greatest?