Let’s leave aside for a moment the eternal debate about whether it is better to play on a game console or on a PC to focus on another debate: are there enough games for Linux? Is Windows still the king in terms of quantity and quality of its own videogames?
Windows has always been the main platform for launching PC games. Linux and macOS have been relegated to a distant second place. To the point that to play most titles you had to resort to emulators and virtual machines, being the experience of lower quality than if the game was native.
The story changed with Steam, Valve’s game store. Although at first it only worked on Windows, it eventually launched a version for macOS and another for Linux. What’s more, its commitment to Linux was expanded with its own Linux distribution, SteamOS.
In addition to this commitment to Linux, there is the Proton project, a tool designed by Valve that aims to bring Steam games to Linux through emulation. And to get an idea of the importance of this project, you only have to consult its database where it lists the games that are already compatible.
At the beginning of the month, the specialized portal Boiling Steam highlighted that Proton had reached the figure of 7,000 Linux games based on the Steam catalog. 7,000 games that were once only available on Windows and that, thanks to Valve, can now be played on Linux.
Obviously, not all games offer the same compatibility. Just like Wine, the Linux software that allows you to launch Windows games and applications and is part of Proton, the games listed in ProtonDB are organized according to compatibility level. From most to least, native, platinum, gold, silver, bronze and broken.
A look at the current list shows that 40% of TOP10 most downloaded games on Steam, are Linux compatible at gold level or higher. If we expand to the TOP100 or TOP1000, Steam game compatibility rises to 77% and 75% respectively.
Among the Linux games ported from Windows with Proton, names like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, Team Fortress 2, Rocket League, ARK: Survival Evolved, Terraria, Civilization VI, Stardew Valley, Euro Truck Simulator 2 or Total War: WARHAMMER II stand out.
Projects such as CrossOver, in the commercial field, or PlayOnLinux, in the disinterested field, have given Wine the necessary push to port dozens of Windows games to Linux. However, it was necessary to go a step further.
Nor should we denigrate the important role of stores such as GOG or intermediary projects such as Lutris, which have also provided native or ported Windows games for Linux.
However, Valve’s Proton is currently the biggest promoter of commercial video games for Linux, giving this operating system a more relevant role for the gamer sector. In addition, by taking an interest in popular titles that we would all want to play on Linux.
A look at ProtonDB shows us the games that have recently been added to Proton or have been improved in their compatibility with Linux. Titles like Cyberpunk 2077, Doom Eternal, Red Dead Redemption II, Grand Theft Auto V or Fallout: New Vegas are examples from yesterday and today that can already be played on Linux with the help of Proton. All in all, there are still games that need to be ported, such as PUBG, Dead by Daylight, Homefront or For Honor, to name a few of the most popular ones.
In short, Valve has managed to ensure that Linux games are not limited to adaptations of traditional arcade games. With powerful hardware and Steam for Linux, you’ll be able to play a wide range of Steam games.
To play Linux games like the ones mentioned in this article and many more, just install Steam for Linux. Then you will need to go to the application’s Settings, and from Steam Play, check the Enable Steam Play option for all other titles.
Before purchasing one of the games, make sure that it is compatible with Proton so as not to make a wasted purchase. It is also a good idea to check the hardware specifications in its official data sheet.