The new experimental feature of Steam allows you to play Windows-only games on Linux. Here’s how to use this feature in Steam right now.
What is Steam Play?
Game distribution platform Steam has implemented a fork of WINE, it’s called – “Steam Play”. With Steam Play, Linux users can play games that are available on Windows only. It was in beta phase for a while but you can now directly try it out without opting in for Steam beta updates.
Play Windows-only games in Linux with Steam Play
You need to install Steam first. Steam is available for all major Linux distributions. I have written in detail about installing Steam on Ubuntu and you may refer to that article if you don’t have Steam installed yet.
Once you have Steam installed and you have logged into your Steam account, it’s time to see how to enable Windows games in Steam Linux client.
Step 1: Go to Account Settings
Run Steam client. On the top left, click on Steam and then on Settings.
Step 3: Enable Steam Play beta
Now, you’ll see an option Steam Play in the left side panel. Click on it and check the boxes:
- Enable Steam Play for supported titles (You can play the whitelisted Windows-only games)
- Enable Steam Play for all titles (You can try to play all Windows-only games)
You can also opt to change the version of the compatibility layer (Proton) if you need it. Once, you are done selecting the options, hit “OK” and proceed to restart steam in order for the changes to take effect.
Here’s how it will work:
For example, I have Age of Empires in my Steam library which is not available on Linux normally. But after I enabled Steam Play beta for all Windows titles, it now gives me the option for installing Age of Empires on Linux.
Things to know about Steam Play feature
There are a few things you should know and keep in mind about using Windows-only games on Linux with Steam Play:
- Only 27 Windows-games were whitelisted for Steam Play initially. These whitelisted games work seamlessly on Linux. However, now the number of games supported has increased significantly.
- You can try any Windows game with Steam Play beta but it might not work all the time. Some games will crash sometimes while some games might not run at all.
- You won’t see the Windows-only games available for Linux in the Steam store. You’ll have to either try the game on your own or refer to this community maintained list or a better-looking web version of the same to see the compatibility status of the said Windows game. You can also contribute to the list by filling this form.
- If you have games downloaded on Windows via Steam, you can save some download data by sharing Steam game files between Linux and Windows.
How Do You Identify Games That Work On Steam Play?
I’m sure that you don’t have a lot of free time to download games one by one and test it with Steam Play.
In that case, you can visit ProtonDB to check reports/stats contributed by gamers who test the games.
You can use that as a reference to decide whether you should download/purchase a certain game.
I hope this tutorial helped you in running Windows-only games on Linux. Which game(s) are you looking forward to play on Linux?