Valve makes Windows games playable on Linux with new version of Steam Play

Steam Play was introduced as a part of Valve’s Steam storefront in 2010, promising multi-platform versions of games with a single purchase, meaning that players could buy a game once and play it on Windows, macOS, or Linux – provided it had a version available on each platform.

Today, Valve introduced a new version of Steam Play, and it’s growing quite a lot in what it offers. Steam Play now offers the massive Windows library of games to players on Linux; Valve has been working with CodeWeavers for the past two years, developing a modified distribution of Wine, the popular Linux compatibility layer that’s definitely not an emulator.

Proton, as Valve’s modified distribution is called, brings a few gaming-specific improvements to Wine, such as better multi-threaded performance, better fullscreen support, improved game controller support, and the availability of native Steamworks and OpenVR libraries. However, it’s not quite ready for prime time just yet.

At the moment, Steam Play only offers a selection of whitelisted games that Valve has tested to be working adequately:

That’s not a very long list, but Valve says it’s an ongoing effort to try and test more games from its Windows library, and players can vote for their favorite games to be considered for Steam Play testing via Steam’s platform wishlisting feature. As Steam Play is still in beta, these games won’t be advertised compatible on the storefront, and neither will they be offered for purchase on Linux.

Those who can deal with a few issues themselves, however, do have the choice to make available their entire Windows library on Linux, by simply heading to the Steam Play options in their Steam client’s settings and check the ‘Enable Steam Play for all titles’ option. Though, Valve notes that titles that use complex DRM or anti-cheat solutions may not work properly with Proton.

Proton is available on GitHub for those who would like to take a peak under the hood; for those who wish to try it out, being on Steam’s Linux Client’s beta version is a requirement.

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