There is no doubt that Linux porters such as Feral Interactive and Aspyr Media have done a lot to make Linux a viable PC gaming platform. PC gamers who want more freedom on how they use their PC’s are now able to play many high quality PC games such as Borderlands 2, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, DiRT Rally, XCOM 2, and Civilization VI on Linux. However, there is a problem with that approach. Linux porters have limited resources and they cannot port to Linux every game from big publishers such as Square Enix, 2K, and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. The solution is Steam Play 2.0.
Shown above are some of the many PC games without Linux version that can now be installed and run directly from the Steam Linux client. Playing Windows games on Linux is not really a new idea and it had been in existence for more than 10 years already. The reason it is not a popular practice among PC gamers is the technology used to require too much effort to get each Windows game running on Linux. Steam Play 2.0 changed it all and Linux is now a more viable operating system for gaming PC’s. What Valve did to the Steam Linux client is they updated it to include a modified version of Wine and Vulkan is used to translate DirectX 11 / 12 to improve game compatibility. Watch the video below of NieR: Automata being run and played on Linux like it is a native Linux game.
Valve is not slowing down with the development of Steam Play 2.0. When it was released last August 22, 2018, there were only 27 games that Valve has confirmed to be compatible with the new version of Steam Play. Almost 3 months have passed and there are now 107 games that are compatible. Here are some of the notable PC games that can now be played on Linux directly from the Steam Linux client:
- Beat Saber
- Castle Crashers
- Dark Souls III
- Doom (2016)
- Doom VFR
- Dungeon of the Endless
- Fallout Shelter
- Geometry Dash
- Into The Breach
- LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars
- NieR: Automata
- S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl
- South Park: The Stick of Truth
- Tekken 7
- The Last Remnant
- The Room
- The Witness
- Tropico 4
- Wolfenstein: The Old Blood
But wait, there’s more!!!
Games not in Valve’s list can also be played on Linux. The Witcher 3, Darksiders II Deathinitive Edition, and MOTHERGUNSHIP are some of the many games that run nicely on Ubuntu MATE. Check our list here and our YouTube playlist for games we have confirmed to be playable on Linux through Steam Play 2.0. The Linux gaming community also has a compilation of reports at ProtonDB and you can check other games’ compatibility with Steam Play 2.0.
Newbie Friendly Guide to Using Linux for Gaming
The amount of work Valve has done to make Linux a great platform for PC gaming is really impressive. Proton, the technology behind Steam Play 2.0, is free and open source. I hope digital distribution platforms such as Origin and GOG Galaxy would integrate Proton so that PC gamers can also enjoy games outside Steam.
With the current rate of progress of Linux as a gaming platform, 2019 will likely be The Year of Linux Gaming.