This... this may be huge.

A new beta of the Steam client on Linux will allow you to play Windows-only games on Linux. Currently only a few games are in the list of supported titles BUT in true Linux-user fashion, you can enable it for every game and try your luck.

This works using Proton, a fork of Wine, a Windows compatibility layer that many on Linux use to run Windows software and games already. Proton provides the following improvements:

  • 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 recognize 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.

They are taking on the daunting task of going through the entire Steam library and finding which games work well. So far, the supported list is as follows:

  • Beat Saber

  • Bejeweled 2 Deluxe

  • Doki Doki Literature Club!

  • DOOM

  • DOOM II: Hell on Earth


  • Fallout Shelter

  • FATE


  • 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 & Blade

  • Mount & Blade: With Fire & Sword

  • NieR: Automata

  • PAYDAY: The Heist


  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: 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

They've hosted Proton on Github ( so you can download it and make custom versions, and the Steam client will let you use your version instead of the built-in version. I can imagine this leading to Proton configs for specific games that don't necessarily work in the built-in version, thus letting you easily use multiple configs straight from the Steam client.

Proton supports Mac, and I bet enterprising nerds will release some custom Proton configs for running games on Macs, but as of now Valve says they don't have any plans for building this into the Steam client for Mac. Plans may change if demand is there, but their language on it seems pretty firm that they have no plans for it.

This is exciting because one Wine config doesn't necessarily work for multiple games, so getting Wine games running in Linux frequently requires making new Wine configs, with their own directory structure, and therefore with their own Steam install. So to install 20 Steam games with no native Linux version, you may have 10 or more different Steam clients installed and a messy file structure.

Some people will argue that this is a step back, and that developers don't need to target Linux now because Proton will pick up the slack. Others argue that this gets more gamers on Linux, leading to more reason for developers to target Linux. Who knows how the market will react, but I'm excited because this gets Linux closer to Windows in game support, and while over 3000 games on Steam currently support Linux natively, it's been harder to get some of the bigger publishers/developers on board, and even some indies. What do you think? Does this make you more likely to use Linux for gaming?

Original announcement:

jdodson   Admin wrote on 08/21/2018 at 10:37pm

That first list of games is fun. I like they added Doom and Quake though there are lots of ways to run that on Linux.

That said it’s good to start with the easy stuff and move up from there. This is awesome news because to-date Wine has been a chore to configure properly so if Valve can do it, that’s awesome.

I’m wondering how much further Valve is gonna five in Linux support? I really am hoping for a handheld but that’s prob wishful thinking.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 08/21/2018 at 10:41pm

This isn’t just Linux, this is to get games running on a Mac too!

jdodson   Admin wrote on 08/21/2018 at 10:46pm

Spoke a bit too soon. Whereas the underlying software does support the Mac this isn’t supported on Mac in Steam quite yet.

Travis   Admin   Post Author wrote on 08/22/2018 at 01:38am

Yeah I meant to add a bit about that to the post. Updated!

Travis   Admin   Post Author wrote on 08/22/2018 at 01:39am

My only issue now is that my gaming rig doesn't have enough space on it to test this out.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 08/22/2018 at 01:40am

Too bad! I have a desktop that dual boots between the latest Ubuntu and Windows. When this hits mainline Steam I’ll check it out.

Travis   Admin   Post Author wrote on 08/22/2018 at 01:08pm

Maybe I’m just a beta junkie but I’m always running the steam beta. Never had any issues with it for what it’s worth. They do a good job of getting things pretty stable before it even heads to beta.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 08/22/2018 at 01:59pm

Yep. Just have other stuff to do smile

jdodson   Admin wrote on 08/27/2018 at 02:54pm
Travis   Admin   Post Author wrote on 08/27/2018 at 07:27pm

Wow, that’s intense.

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