Gaming on Linux in 2021 on Ubuntu: It works, and it's finally EASY!

Now we come to a commonly asked question, can we play games on Linux? Well, of course! And almost, let me explain.

Gaming on Linux in 2021 on Ubuntu: It works, and it's finally EASY!

Video Games On Linux?

In this article, the newest compatibility feature for gaming will be introduced and explained for all you dedicated video game fanatics.

Valve releases its new compatibility feature to innovate Linux gaming, included with its own community of play testers and reviewers.

In recent years we have made leaps and strides on making Linux and Unix systems more accessible for everyone. Now we come to a commonly asked question, can we play games on Linux? Well, of course! And almost, let me explain.

Proton compatibility layer for Steam client

With the rising popularity of Linux systems, valve is going ahead of the crowd yet again with proton for their steam client (computer program that runs your purchased games from Steam). Proton is a variant of Wine and DXVK that lets Microsoft Games run on Linux operating systems. Proton is backed by Valve itself and can easily be added to any steam account for Linux gaming, through an integration called "Steam Play."

Lately, there has been a lot of controversy as Microsoft is rumored to someday release its own app store and disable downloading software online. In response, many companies and software developers are pressured to find a new "haven" to share content with the internet. Proton might be Valve's response to this and is working to make more of its games accessible to Linux users.

Activating Proton with Steam Play

Proton is integrated into the Steam Client with "Steam Play." To activate proton, go into your steam client and click on Steam in the upper right corner. Then click on settings to open a new window.

Linux Gaming Steamplay

Steam Client's settings window

From here, click on the Steam Play button at the bottom of the panel. Click "Enable Steam Play for Supported Titles." After, it will ask you to restart steam, click yes and you are ready to play after the restart.

Your computer will now play all of steam's whitelisted games seamlessly. But, if you would like to try other games that are not guaranteed to work on Linux, then click "Enable Steam Play for All Other Titles."

What Happens if a Game has Issues?

Don't worry, this can and will happen for games that are not in Steam's whitelisted games archive. But, there is help for you online on steam and in proton's growing community. Be patient and don't give up! There will always be a solution out there.

ProtonDB.com

ProtonDB is a website dedicated to fixing games that are not whitelisted on steam. It sports an actively growing community of Linux play testers to help improve Proton. From here you can look up games to see the compatibility rating and leave reviews on games you've played.

Play testers also leave bug fixes and tips they used for you to fix your game and help it run on Linux. Help is always wanted as well! Don't be afraid to leave comments on the game's performance as well.

Linux Gaming ProtonDB

ProtonDB's front page analysis of games on steam

ProtonDB's Rating System

With so many games tested and to be tested in the community, protondb has added its own rating system to help you know what to expect when you choose to play a certain game on Linux platforms. And as protondb improves, performance ratings are updated when games become playable. The current ratings that a game can receive from proton include: Native, Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze, and the creatively named "borked!".

Native Games

Native games in proton are created by developers to work on Linux already. These types of games are most likely smaller independent companies, or "Indie" games. These include games like : Sid Meier's Civilization VI, Kerbal Space Program, and Among Us.

Linux Gaming AmongUs2

Among Us working perfectly thanks to the innersloth team

Games in this category are probably whitelisted by steam already, but some haven't been curated to the list yet. So search for game ratings often, you might find your favorite game has some thoughtful developers.

Platinum

A platinum rating means that this game was not made to run on Linux, but works perfectly after download. These games are usually older games that don't have demanding graphics to slow down Proton. Platinum ratings include: The Curse of Monkey Island, QUAKE, and Lucas Art's very own Star Wars: Battlefront 2 (Classic, 2005).

Linux Gaming Battlefront24

A conquest on the planet Dagobah in Star Wars: Battlefront 2 (2005)

Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Borked!

Now on to the untamed wild west of Linux Gaming. You shouldn't expect games with a gold rating or lower to be perfect. But these games are still fixable and enjoyable on Linux. These games can be anything from triple A titles like Star Wars: Fallen Order, to fan favorites like LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham.

Linux Gaming Lego Batman

Supergirl racing on the planet Oa, from the wacky world of LEGO games on linux. (LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham)

Never feel like you have to only play on whitelisted or approved games on Linux, some of these other games would work perfectly for you, and some are yet to be updated. Everyday proton is getting improved thanks to the robust community on protondb, and hopefully someday all games can be played on Linux. You are open to almost infinite possibilities running Steam Play on your device. So try, try, and try again, and never be afraid of "borked!" games.

To access protondb and it's growing community of Linux players, go to protondb.com