Valve has long been a champion of Linux, and we see that by how well they support Linux. Still, not every gaming company loves Linux as much as Valve does, and even though Steam is on Linux, they refuse to port games over.
For the longest time, gaming companies refusing to take the Linux platform seriously on Steam meant that gamers wouldn’t be able to play their favorite AAA titles outside of Windows. Luckily, all this is changing thanks to Steam Play.
What is Steam Play?
Steam Play is a collection of software that helps you play modern Windows games on Linux. It’s a combination of Wine, DVXK (Windows DirectX to Vulkan), and a lot of other smaller tools. With this software, any Windows video game available can run on Linux, with no configuration required. Just install Steam Play, and click the “Play” button like any other video game in your Steam library.
Enable Steam Play
The Steam Play software is a work in progress, but it’s currently accessible on your Linux PC if you turn it on. To enable it, launch Steam. Then, click the “Steam” menu at the top left. In the menu, select “Settings” to reveal the Steam client’s options area.
Note: as of writing this article, Steam Play must be manually turned on to enjoy. It may be on by default in the future, however.
In the options area of Steam, look for “Steam Play” and select it. Check the box next to “Enable Steam Play for Supported Titles.” Then, click the “OK” button to enable it.
After enabling Steam Play, you’ll need to reboot the Steam Client. When it finishes rebooting, you’ll be able to access Windows games in your Steam library on a Linux PC.
Supported games on SteamPlay?
Not sure what games Steam officially supports with Steam Play? Check our list below. Each of the titles on this list is confirmed to work well with Linux.
Note: more games are updated to support Steam Play every day officially. Keep in mind that the list below is a working list, as of writing this article.
- Beat Saber
- Bejeweled 2 Deluxe
- Doki Doki Literature Club!
- DOOM II: Hell on Earth
- DOOM VFR
- Fallout Shelter
- FINAL FANTASY VI
- 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
Play Windows games via Steam Play
Steam Play is brilliant, on Linux, and installing Windows video games doesn’t require any specialized knowledge. Instead, everything is done within the client itself.
To install and play a Windows game on Linux via Steam Play, follow the steps below!
Step 1: Open up Steam and log in.
Step 2: Click the “Library” tab.
Step 3: In the Library tab, hover over “SteamOS + Linux” to reveal a menu.
Step 4: Inside the menu that appears click on “Games.” Selecting this option will show you all of your Steam video games, instead of just Linux ones.
Step 5: Consult the list above, and use the search box to find a compatible Steam Play game. Then, click “Install” to install the game on your Linux PC.
Step 6: Once the game is installed on your Linux PC, click “Play” to start it up!
Unsupported Windows games on SteamPlay
In this article, we’ve talked about games that Valve has officially set up to work with Steam Play. However, did you know that thanks to the “unsupported” option, you don’t have to wait for Valve to make your favorite Windows game work on Linux?
To use the “unsupported” feature, open up Steam and click the “Steam” menu at the top left. Then, click “Settings,” followed by “Steam Play.” In the Steam Play area, check the box that says “Enable Steam Play for all titles” and click “OK.” Then, close Steam and reboot it.
Once Steam finishes rebooting, you’ll have access to all of your Windows games via Steam Play, and not just the ones that Valve deems safe to play.
Playing untested Windows games on Linux with Steam Play is very cool! Thanks to Valve’s excellent work, nearly every game will work out of the box. However, please keep in mind that running untested Windows games on Linux via Steam Play is risky and will not work right 100% of the time. For best results, check out ProtonDB. It’s a useful database full of information on thousands of Linux video games, along with walkthroughs and fixes to make them run correctly.