Can You Play Games on Linux?

Jonathan Kao

Steam For Linux

Yes, you can play games on Linux – especially with how Steam has supported the OS. Linux is a well-known open-source operating system that is favored by developers and tech enthusiasts worldwide due to its stability and security. However, many wonder if it can be used for gaming as well. Fortunately, with various Linux distros available, each with its unique features, gaming on Linux has grown in popularity and support over the years.

It is easy to get started with gaming on Linux, thanks to the open-source community’s significant strides in developing tools and compatibility layers such as Wine, Proton, and Lutris. These tools expand the range of games that can be played on Linux. Moreover, digital distribution platforms like Steam have embraced Linux, offering native support for hundreds of games. Whether through dedicated Linux versions or compatibility technologies that enable Windows games to run on Linux, the options for gaming are more varied than ever.

Gaming on Linux: A Growing Reality

Linux has steadily become a viable option for gamers. While Windows still dominates the gaming market, the Linux gaming landscape has changed dramatically in recent years. Let’s look at what makes gaming on Linux a reality and what you need to know.

What’s Changed?

Several key factors have made gaming on Linux far more accessible:

  • Steam Proton: Steam’s compatibility layer, Proton, allows Windows-only games to run seamlessly on Linux. This technology has opened up a massive library of titles for Linux users.
  • Improved Graphics Drivers: Open-source graphics drivers for both AMD and Nvidia cards have become more robust, offering better performance and compatibility with modern games.
  • Growing Community Support: The Linux gaming community is dedicated and active, providing forums and resources to help fellow gamers.

Popular Linux Games

Today, many popular games have native Linux support, including:

Game TitlePublisherGenre
Dota 2ValveMOBA
Counter-Strike: Global OffensiveValveFPS
Team Fortress 2ValveFPS
Rocket LeaguePsyonixSports/Action
ValheimIron Gate StudioSurvival/Adventure
Steam Client On Linux

Tools for Gaming on Linux

Several tools make gaming on Linux even smoother:

  • Lutris: Play and configure games from various sources, including Windows games, emulators, and classic titles.
  • Wine: A compatibility layer that allows some Windows applications to run on Linux.
  • ProtonDB: A community-driven website for sharing information about running Windows games with Proton.

Is Linux Right for You as a Gamer?

Linux gaming still needs some technical know-how, but it provides:

  • Greater Control: A highly customizable operating system.
  • Affordability: Linux is free and open-source.
  • Growing Compatibility: More games and tools support Linux gaming every day.

If you’re a tech-savvy gamer looking for greater customization and want to support open-source software, Linux could be a fantastic option!

Key Takeaways

  • Linux supports gaming with various native and compatible games.
  • Compatibility layers and tools enhance the availability of games on Linux distros.
  • Platforms like Steam play a crucial role in bringing more games to Linux users.

Getting Started with Gaming on Linux

Gaming on Linux has become more accessible over the years with improved support from software and tools designed for a better gaming experience. This section will guide you through choosing the right Linux distribution, setting up your system, and installing essential gaming software.

Choosing a Linux Distribution for Gaming

The right Linux distribution can make a big difference. Ubuntu and Linux Mint are well-supported choices that offer stability and ease of use. They have large communities and extensive software repositories, making it easier to find help and download games.

Setting Up Your System

After choosing your distribution, ensure your system is up to date. Use your distribution’s package manager to update the system and install graphics drivers. For example, on Ubuntu, you would open a terminal and run sudo apt update and sudo apt upgrade. Proper driver support is critical for game performance.

Installing Gaming Software and Platforms

To play games on Linux, you’ll need to install gaming platforms. Steam, by Valve, is the most popular and offers a feature called Steam Play that lets you play Windows-only games on Linux using Proton. You can install Steam directly from your distribution’s package manager.

Lutris is an open-source gaming platform that helps you manage games from Steam,, and other sources in one place. It uses Wine, a compatibility layer to run Windows applications on Linux. You can install Lutris using commands found on the Lutris website.

PlayOnLinux is another helpful tool that simplifies using Wine. For games not on any platform, offers a catalogue of Linux-compatible games.

Use Wine for games that are not supported by Steam Play or Lutris. Install it from the WineHQ repositories for the latest version. For commercial support, CrossOver is a paid option that provides a polished version of Wine.

To install Steam, open a terminal and type sudo apt install steam. If some games do not support Linux, check the compatibility layers like Proton or use Wine to see if you can run them on your Linux system. Always check game support on platforms like ProtonDB, which documents how well games run on Linux through Proton.