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Steam Play update brings Windows games to Linux

Last week, we began hearing that Valve might be planning a Steam update that would bring Windows game compatibility to Linux on a wider scale. Now, the feature has launched in public beta, giving Linux users the chance to test out some new games that were previously only available on Microsoft's OS.

Valve made the announcement on the Steam for Linux group last night. This new initiative started out two years ago and aims to “improve the quality and performance of Windows compatibility solutions for Steam games”. The new Steam Play update contains a modified version of Wine called ‘Proton'. This means that Windows games with no Linux version can be installed and run directly from the Steam client, complete with native Steamworks and OpenVR support.

DirectX 11 and DirectX 12 implementations are now based on Vulkan, resulting in improved game compatibility and reducing performance impact.

A few other improvements include fullscreen support, improved game controller support and performance improvements for multi-threaded games. Multi-thread support in particular is said to be “greatly improved” compared to vanilla Wine.

The goal is to eventually support the entire Steam catalogue. For this initial public beta though, there is a selection of recommended games for users to try:

  • Beat Saber
  • Bejeweled 2 Deluxe
  • Doki Doki Literature Club!
  • DOOM
  • DOOM II: Hell on Earth
  • Fallout Shelter
  • FATE
  • 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

Users will be able to enable the compatibility tool on all games in their Steam library but mileage will vary as not all games will work well.

KitGuru Says: This is the sort of move that Valve needed to make to reignite interest in Linux gaming. It will be interesting to see how games end up performing using the Proton tool.

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