Valve has announced that the Linux version of its Steam client can now play Windows PC games complete with native Steamworks and OpenVR support. This is a result of the company's efforts to improve quality and performance of Windows compatibility solutions for Steam games by supporting Linux compatibility layers like Wine and eventually integrating these tools directly into Steam so games would run as if they were made for Linux to begin with. The end result is a modified, open source distribution of Wine known as Proton for the Linux version of Steam.
Steam for Linux features
- Windows games with no Linux version currently available can now be installed and run directly from the Linux Steam client, complete with native Steamworks and OpenVR support.
- DirectX 11 and 12 implementations are now based on Vulkan, resulting in improved game compatibility and reduced performance impact.
- Fullscreen support has been improved: fullscreen games will be seamlessly stretched to the desired display without interfering with the native monitor resolution or requiring the use of a virtual desktop.
- Improved game controller support: games will automatically recognise all controllers supported by Steam. Expect more out-of-the-box controller compatibility than even the original version of the game.
- Performance for multi-threaded games has been greatly improved compared to vanilla Wine.
In addition to this, the company outlined an initial list of Windows PC games that are officially supported with more on the way.
Steam for Linux Windows PC games list
- Beat Saber
- Bejeweled 2 Deluxe
- Doki Doki Literature Club
- Doom II: Hell on Earth
- Doom VFR
- Fallout Shelter
- Final Fantasy VI
- Geometry Dash
- Google Earth VR
- Into The Breach
- Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012
- Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013
- Mount and Blade
- Mount and Blade: With Fire Sword
- Nier: Automata
- Payday: The Heist
- Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl
- Star Wars: Battlefront 2
- Tekken 7
- The Last Remnant
- Tropico 4
- Ultimate Doom
- Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War - Dark Crusade
- Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War - Soulstorm
"We will be enabling more titles in the near future as testing results and development efforts progress; in the meantime, enthusiast users are also able to try playing non-whitelisted games using an override switch in the Steam client. Going forward, users can vote for their favorite games to be considered for Steam Play using platform wishlisting. Steam Play whitelisted games will not be offered for purchase or marked as supported on Linux on the Store during the initial Beta period," Valve's Pierre-Loup said in a post on the Steam for Linux Official Group. The post also warns that games with "complex DRM" will be "difficult or impossible to support", making us wonder how many recent PC titles would eventually join this list considering their dependency on consumer unfriendly DRM like Denuvo.
Given Valve's track record of starting and abandoning projects, we're skeptical of how far this initiative will actually go. However, with Steam losing out on high-profile PC games like Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and Fallout 76, any feature that could keep it from haemorrhaging users is welcome. Plus, if you've been looking for a reason to ditch Windows but stayed on Microsoft's OS due to gaming, this could be a reason to take the plunge.
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