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Steam Play and ProtonDB now support over 2,600 Windows games on Linux

Steam Play on Linux now supports over 2,600 Windows games. (Source: Tom's Hardware)
Steam Play on Linux now supports over 2,600 Windows games. (Source: Tom's Hardware)
ProtonDB has announced that over 2,600 Windows games are now playable on Linux via Steam Play. These include games such as The Witcher 3, Dark Souls 3, Dishonored, and more. This increase in game compatibility ever since Steam Play launched with Proton last month is an indication of Valve's commitment to making Windows games easily accessible to Linux users.

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Back in August this year, during Gamescom, Valve announced a new version of Steam Play that supported Proton. Proton is a WINE fork that provides support for running DirectX 11 games on Linux with minimal performance hit. Fast forward to today, ProtonDB, the website that collates reports from Proton users on Linux, reports that about 2,663 Windows games are working great under Linux including some of the newer titles such as The Witcher 3, No Man's Sky, Dark Souls III, Dishonored, and more. 

This achievement in a span of just two months is pretty significant. Steam currently offers around 5,000 Linux native games so being able to run more than half the number of Windows games via Proton should be a shot in the arm for the Linux gaming community. If this momentum continues, we might see Proton-powered Windows games on Linux overtaking native Linux games soon enough.

So how did Proton achieve near-native gameplay for Windows games on Linux? Proton uses WINE to create a compatibility layer for Windows apps and DXVK to translate DirectX calls to Vulkan. As long as the game does not implement any DRM, direct translation of DirectX 11 calls to Vulkan should not pose much of a problem. The performance hit is also in the 10-20% range and as Proton continues to develop, we will see this gap getting narrower.

Valve has always been a huge proponent of Linux gaming. The company's chief, Gabe Newell, and Epic Games' Tim Sweeny have been extremely vocal in their dissent about Microsoft's plans for Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps and how this could stagnate distribution via third-party stores. Emulating Windows games on Linux would get complicated when developers eventually take to UWP and the Microsoft Store as a distribution platform of choice. So far, UWP doesn't really seem to have had the impact that Microsoft anticipated and Newell feared, so all is well for now and we should be seeing more AAA titles grace the Linux desktop next year.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2018 10 > Steam Play and ProtonDB now support over 2,600 Windows games on Linux
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam, 2018-10-29 (Update: 2018-10-31)
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam - News Editor
I am a cell and molecular biologist and computers have been an integral part of my life ever since I laid my hands on my first PC which was based on an Intel Celeron 266 MHz processor, 16 MB RAM and a modest 2 GB hard disk. Since then, I’ve seen my passion for technology evolve with the times. From traditional floppy based storage and running DOS commands for every other task, to the connected cloud and shared social experiences we take for granted today, I consider myself fortunate to have witnessed a sea change in the technology landscape. I honestly feel that the best is yet to come, when things like AI and cloud computing mature further. When I am not out finding the next big cure for cancer, I read and write about a lot of technology related stuff or go about ripping and re-assembling PCs and laptops.