Valve's Proton project has brought 6,500 Windows games to Linux so far

nanoguy

Posts: 610   +8
Staff member

By now it's no secret that Valve has been trying to find a solution for Linux fans to be able to enjoy the same games you can play on Windows.

When the company tried to deliver an integrated hardware and software solution in the form of Steam Machines, it forgot to think of why anyone would want to use them. In 2018, after that failed experiment was finally concluded and Steam Machines were purged from the storefront, Valve came up with the most sensible solution -- a set of compatibility tools built into Steam Play called Proton.

The move was hardly revolutionary, as it was essentially a forked (modified) version of Wine with some additional patchwork and libraries - most notably DirectX over Vulkan (DXVK), which is a translation layer for DirectX 9/10/11 games. But if you go by ProtonDB, there are now over 6,500 Windows games that now work on Linux with little to no effort on the gamer's part.

There are hundreds of games that are added every month that get a Platinum rating, which indicates that most people who have run them have encountered few or no game-breaking issues while playing. And chances are that you're not afraid of adding a launcher flag, meaning you can play games like DOOM and DOOM: Eternal just fine using Proton with very little effort.

More than 12,800 games have been tested so far, so many titles do require a bit more effort, but there's a positive trend for games in the Platinum category, which work outside the box. Performance is a bit slower than you'd get on Windows, but it's more than acceptable even for people who are still rocking low end graphics cards. There are even reports that games like HITMAN 2 run faster on Linux through Proton than they do on Windows.

Still, you don't need to use Proton to realize that Microsoft is in some serious trouble here. A big reason why gamers have had to use Windows is because most popular PC titles are designed for that particular OS and Microsoft hasn't shown any interest in making them work on Linux.

Now it's easier than ever to get into Linux gaming, and the tools that make it possible are getting better every day. Valve is even going as far as proposing a number of Linux kernel patches to make it more game-friendly.

The only notable problems are the lack of support for HDR and, more importantly, the anti-cheat software that's required for many multiplayer games. The latter aspect is something that Valve is working on with services like Easy Anti-Cheat, but the company hasn't said when it might be ready.

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DukeJukem

Posts: 164   +120
Until I can play easy anticheat games etc I wont switch. basically any game you play with your friends has some sort of anticheat.
 
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yRaz

Posts: 3,406   +2,979
Until I can play easy anticheat games etc I wont switch. basically any game you play with your friends has some sort of anticheat.
The only game that I have found that doesn't play well with AntiCheat on Linux is PlanetSide 2. But I play EveOnline, ESO, Call of duty and Age Of Empires II: Definitive edition on Linux just fine.

The only game in steams library that I haven't been able to run through proton is Ark: Survival evolved and it's not the fault of the anticheat. In Ark, the game is just so poorly coded in general that it is even MORE unstable in Linux than it is in Windows.

Frankly, as someone who has switched to Linux almost 3 years ago at this point, I'd like you to tell me some of the games you've found that DON'T run on Linux, multiplayer or otherwise.
 

yRaz

Posts: 3,406   +2,979
Wait what, Microsoft is in serious trouble?
Or some sensationalist reporter claims that Microsoft is in trouble, because people also play games on Linux?
'News' reporting quality has really degraded these days...
That was a bit much, and I say that as someone who switched to Linux. However, Microsoft should consider sticking to a design and stop forcing updates on people. In short, I switched to Linux 3 years ago because Windows 10 made me feel like I no longer had control over MY computer. I am most certainly the exception rather than the rule, but that sentiment isn't exactly unfamiliar to Windows 10 users.

That said, the tech savvy and curious might very well try out gaming on Linux, not necessarily stick with it. The Linux gaming community will only continue to grow, just very slowly. The vast majority of people want stuff to "just work" and that will turn off the majority of consumers to making the switch. Compared to Windows 10, getting games to work on linux can be a lot like getting them to work on XP. You have to install some extra stuff, maybe download the Linux equivalent of a DLL file(if you guys remember doing that). Until gaming on Linux can match the ease of use that Windows 10 has Microsoft will never be afraid. That said, With some serious backing, like Valve is proposing, Linux is optimistically two years away being that. Realistically, it's closer to 5 years if at all.

I Will say, if MS keeps angering it's customers by taking away control of their computer, the inconvenience of installing games on Linux doesn't have to be that great for people to start making the switch.
 

kmbear

Posts: 9   +13
"A big reason why gamers have had to use Windows is because most popular PC titles are designed for that particular OS and Microsoft hasn't shown any interest in making them work on Linux."

A big reason why games are designed for Windows is because most people use that particular OS and users haven't shown any interest in making themselves work on Linux.

-Fixed it for you. And I use and like both systems, they each have their advantages.
 

ShagnWagn

Posts: 1,297   +1,081
I still haven't installed Win10 on any of my personally purchased machines. A few months back I went and did a filter on all my games in steam. Only about a third of them were listed as supported on linux. Needless to say I won't be making the switch. If I build a new rig here in the next year or two (which won't be Win10), I hope this is much better. I guess I would have to keep my Win7 rig around to play all my old games.
 

yRaz

Posts: 3,406   +2,979
I still haven't installed Win10 on any of my personally purchased machines. A few months back I went and did a filter on all my games in steam. Only about a third of them were listed as supported on linux. Needless to say I won't be making the switch. If I build a new rig here in the next year or two (which won't be Win10), I hope this is much better. I guess I would have to keep my Win7 rig around to play all my old games.
Don't go by the offical list numbers for Linux support on steam, it doesn't list games supported by proton. Proton crowd sources the settings for games that other people have gotten to work on Linux. Steam, then automatically configures proton on your computer using those people's settings.

The only games I haven't been able to get to run reliably are EA games or anything that uses the cryengine.

If there is anything I absolutely must play and it doesn't run on Linux I just open a VM. I do understand that is a bit above what the majority of users is willing to do, though. That, and most hardware doesn't support the "passthrough" features required to run games properly in a virtual machine.
 

DukeJukem

Posts: 164   +120
The only game that I have found that doesn't play well with AntiCheat on Linux is PlanetSide 2. But I play EveOnline, ESO, Call of duty and Age Of Empires II: Definitive edition on Linux just fine.

The only game in steams library that I haven't been able to run through proton is Ark: Survival evolved and it's not the fault of the anticheat. In Ark, the game is just so poorly coded in general that it is even MORE unstable in Linux than it is in Windows.

Frankly, as someone who has switched to Linux almost 3 years ago at this point, I'd like you to tell me some of the games you've found that DON'T run on Linux, multiplayer or otherwise.
dead by daylight, apex legends, fortnite, deceit, call of duty warzone.
 

psycros

Posts: 3,227   +3,469
"A big reason why gamers have had to use Windows is because most popular PC titles are designed for that particular OS and Microsoft hasn't shown any interest in making them work on Linux."

Maybe because that's the job of the game studios and the Linux community? Any way you slice it Linux is still harder to use than Windows and the native programs are invariably not as stable as their Windows counterparts.
 
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yRaz

Posts: 3,406   +2,979
dead by daylight, apex legends, fortnite, deceit, call of duty warzone.
All of those games use Easy Anti Cheat, or EAC. It isn't that EAC doesn't run on Linux, it's that developers have to specifically request EAC allow their games to run on Linux. The annoying thing about EAC is that games already effectively use it on Linux. The only holding Linux gaming back with EAC is epic, the owner of EAC. The odd this about the situation with EAC is that Epic allowed Borderlands 3 to run on Linux(even though it's not offically supported) but they often deny other peoples requests. So, actually, Apex legends and Fornite do run on Linux, it's just that Epic won't make the modifications to their anti cheat system to allow it.

Although non of that matters to people in your position. So in this instance, it's not that the games wont run on Linux, it's that Epic hand picks what games it wants Linux and EAC work together on.

"A big reason why gamers have had to use Windows is because most popular PC titles are designed for that particular OS and Microsoft hasn't shown any interest in making them work on Linux."

Maybe because that's the job of the game studios and the Linux community? Any way you slice it Linux is still harder to use than Windows and the native programs are invariably not as stable as their Windows counterparts.
I'd recommend you give Linux Mint a try if you feel it is still harder to use than Windows. The Ubuntu crowd is really annoying because they feel that linux needs to have a unique interface and it is almost intentionally harder than windows to use. Other distros, like Mint, have a GUI called "cinnamon" which operates and feels almost exactly like windows. Funnily enough, A lot of the people in the Linux community bash on Mint because they say it's "too easy" and you "might as well just use windows." I have the opposite sentiment, make it as easy and familiar to use to a non-techie and you grow the user base.

The linux community has this internal hidden conflict right now where it's getting easier to use by the day, but long time linux users don't want non-tech savvy people to join their community. They want to grow the platform, but if you aren't a system admin or a programmer they don't want you using THEIR operating system. Linux elitism is actually the most annoying thing I deal with as a linux user. What happens is that the big developments mainly happen on Ubuntu or Debian and then trickle out to the other Distros.

Anyway, I've started going off on a tangent. I would highly recommend putting Linux Mint on a jump drive and playing with it for a few days. If you decide to do so and have any problems, just shoot me a message and I'd be happy to help with any problems you might have.
 
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axiomatic13

Posts: 269   +210
I think it's great that Steam assisted in getting these to work. But at the end of the day, I'm still going to play on Windows. I have to use Linux so much for work, I kind of don't want to use Linux when I'm relaxin'!
 

DukeJukem

Posts: 164   +120
All of those games use Easy Anti Cheat, or EAC. It isn't that EAC doesn't run on Linux, it's that developers have to specifically request EAC allow their games to run on Linux. The annoying thing about EAC is that games already effectively use it on Linux. The only holding Linux gaming back with EAC is epic, the owner of EAC. The odd this about the situation with EAC is that Epic allowed Borderlands 3 to run on Linux(even though it's not offically supported) but they often deny other peoples requests. So, actually, Apex legends and Fornite do run on Linux, it's just that Epic won't make the modifications to their anti cheat system to allow it.

Although non of that matters to people in your position. So in this instance, it's not that the games wont run on Linux, it's that Epic hand picks what games it wants Linux and EAC work together on.


I'd recommend you give Linux Mint a try if you feel it is still harder to use than Windows. The Ubuntu crowd is really annoying because they feel that linux needs to have a unique interface and it is almost intentionally harder than windows to use. Other distros, like Mint, have a GUI called "cinnamon" which operates and feels almost exactly like windows. Funnily enough, A lot of the people in the Linux community bash on Mint because they say it's "too easy" and you "might as well just use windows." I have the opposite sentiment, make it as easy and familiar to use to a non-techie and you grow the user base.

The linux community has this internal hidden conflict right now where it's getting easier to use by the day, but long time linux users don't want non-tech savvy people to join their community. They want to grow the platform, but if you aren't a system admin or a programmer they don't want you using THEIR operating system. Linux elitism is actually the most annoying thing I deal with as a linux user. What happens is that the big developments mainly happen on Ubuntu or Debian and then trickle out to the other Distros.

Anyway, I've started going off on a tangent. I would highly recommend putting Linux Mint on a jump drive and playing with it for a few days. If you decide to do so and have any problems, just shoot me a message and I'd be happy to help with any problems you might have.
I specified easy anticheat games in my main post so idk why we are having this conversation
 

yRaz

Posts: 3,406   +2,979
I specified easy anticheat games in my main post so idk why we are having this conversation
I don't know how I misread that, but I did. I guess I'm just use to referring to it as EAC. My bad. It is frustrating that only some EAC titles run on Linux and that Epic wont allow universal EAC linux support. They already have the code written for it and the goodwill it would give them is immeasurable.

Unfortunately, I don't think that the Linux gaming community is big enough to put proper pressure on them to allow universal EAC linux support.
 
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Stark

Posts: 156   +138
This is what keeping people glued to Microsoft, even when they so vehemently disregard customer feedback. If Linux had native support for gaming like windows, the numbers will change dramatically overnight.
 

Axle Grease

Posts: 155   +65
I got Battlefield V, which is not a Steam game, working imperfectly under Fedora last year just to see if I could. It took a great deal of googling and trying to understand step by step processes that work only on a particular Linux distribution where certain prerequisites were already set up and running on the users machine. The game never really got past 45fps@1080p using the low detail profile. Some obscure source code for game optimsation compiled ok, produced no errors, but would not load, and so the particular Wine distribution utilizing the proton project that I was using could not detect the needed optimizations to make the game run better.

Later I formatted the drive.

Fin.
 
I still haven't installed Win10 on any of my personally purchased machines. A few months back I went and did a filter on all my games in steam. Only about a third of them were listed as supported on linux. Needless to say I won't be making the switch. If I build a new rig here in the next year or two (which won't be Win10), I hope this is much better. I guess I would have to keep my Win7 rig around to play all my old games.
The Steam Store only lists games as Linux compatible if they run natively in Linux. For the rest of your games that the Steam Store says are only supported in Windows go to https://www.protondb.com/ and look them up to see if they will run with Proton enabled in Steam. You will probably find that most of your Windows games will run with Proton enabled in the Steam settings.
 

Adi6293

Posts: 597   +710
All of those games use Easy Anti Cheat, or EAC. It isn't that EAC doesn't run on Linux, it's that developers have to specifically request EAC allow their games to run on Linux. The annoying thing about EAC is that games already effectively use it on Linux. The only holding Linux gaming back with EAC is epic, the owner of EAC. The odd this about the situation with EAC is that Epic allowed Borderlands 3 to run on Linux(even though it's not offically supported) but they often deny other peoples requests. So, actually, Apex legends and Fornite do run on Linux, it's just that Epic won't make the modifications to their anti cheat system to allow it.

Although non of that matters to people in your position. So in this instance, it's not that the games wont run on Linux, it's that Epic hand picks what games it wants Linux and EAC work together on.


I'd recommend you give Linux Mint a try if you feel it is still harder to use than Windows. The Ubuntu crowd is really annoying because they feel that linux needs to have a unique interface and it is almost intentionally harder than windows to use. Other distros, like Mint, have a GUI called "cinnamon" which operates and feels almost exactly like windows. Funnily enough, A lot of the people in the Linux community bash on Mint because they say it's "too easy" and you "might as well just use windows." I have the opposite sentiment, make it as easy and familiar to use to a non-techie and you grow the user base.

The linux community has this internal hidden conflict right now where it's getting easier to use by the day, but long time linux users don't want non-tech savvy people to join their community. They want to grow the platform, but if you aren't a system admin or a programmer they don't want you using THEIR operating system. Linux elitism is actually the most annoying thing I deal with as a linux user. What happens is that the big developments mainly happen on Ubuntu or Debian and then trickle out to the other Distros.

Anyway, I've started going off on a tangent. I would highly recommend putting Linux Mint on a jump drive and playing with it for a few days. If you decide to do so and have any problems, just shoot me a message and I'd be happy to help with any problems you might have.
I might give this Mint a try because I hate Windows 10, Microsoft is going backwards with this OS.....
 

jpuroila

Posts: 246   +130
Extremely misleading title. Valve's contribution to these numbers is minimal, as the vast majority of the work is done by Wine and DXVK projects.
 

GNelson

Posts: 15   +16
People the reason is easy -- 1 Billion users on Windows 10/8 etc and how many on Linux Desktop? The development of software of any type is not a cheap thing. Recoup of investment means users buying it in some format (AD, Cash etc). So unless Linux is way faster to develop on and has an installed base of 10 Million real gamers it will be Windows. Think of it this way --- how many MAC OS games are being used because it is so much better. Just saying from a developer's point of view. So if Linux is the answer better get a few million friends on board otherwise enjoy what the developers have made!
 

Lounds

Posts: 604   +493
Tbf if Microsoft had brought out that absolute annoyance Games for Windows Live years ago, I don't think we'd even be having this conversation. Microsoft could have easily made a steam competitor by 2007 but instead went down that whole GFWL route and the majority of PC gamers hated it, which is probably why hardly any pc gamers buy games from Microsoft store. I think if GFWL integrated into Xbox live back in the day I think they could have won some market share but it didn't and games that had some it was very broken.
 

jizzyburnizzy

Posts: 76   +24
I got sick of Windows as well and have switched to linux on all my personal machines. Most games in my steam library work perfectly fine in linux with just a small performance difference compared to windows but I'll take that anyday over having to deal with Microsoft's shortcomings.
Linux runs so light and smooth and I really enjoy being able to tweak anything to my liking.
 
The biggest problem with Linux is the distributions.
That's why I went back to the windows. What works well for you in some distribution will not work well in another distribution and the problem is not just in games, in software either.
 
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