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Topic - Refurb Windows PC or new + ubuntu?

Our son really wants his own computer - mainly to play minecraft currently I think - but he's starting to need to do school work on one etc. so it's probably about time. We've been looking at just getting the box, as we have an old monitor and other peripherals. At the price range we + grandparents etc. could afford for Xmas (about 150) we could get a refurb PC with windows 7 on it or new pc with no OS on it. A family friend who does computer servicing says he's happy to put ubuntu on to a new one with no OS on it - I've never tried so I don't know if that's past my computer tinkering skills or not.

I quite like the ubuntu idea, just the whole shareware community hippy thing, but are there downsides I'm not aware of? Are any commercially bought games for PCs able to play on ubuntu or might he in another couple of years want to move on from virtual lego brick mining to shooting zombies in the face and not be able to do it on his own computer?
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