I’m always wonderin who works on this project. Are they hobbyist willing to run games on their machines, or full time developers from Valve or some other gaming companies?
Either way, the quality of work of this project is really amazing.
There is not just valve. There is also CrossOver. I am not sure how big that market is, but there seems to be non-gaming related usage of Wine. Maybe also some software for older versions of Windows.
On top of that it seems that this is really fun in the way that OS development is (compared to application development), with more emphasis on certain parts (eg. not writing device drivers themselves).
And then of course, as you mention, people who want to play games, where I always find it amazing what people are capable of. From building computers on top of minecraft, over server emulators, mods, companion tools, the time and knowledge invested into cracks, etc.
I think getting things to run is probably how it starts (the itch one wants to scratch) and then, it turns into something exciting, like with so many things in IT.
Funny, I actually just yesterday used Wine for a non-gaming purpose.
Our team is using it to build an InnoSetup installer that imports a WSL image we create. It’s debatable if we need that, but management thinks we do, and Wine let us do it inside our regular CI.
Rest in peace, Ken Thomases :-(