Steam Play update brings Windows games to Linux

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Valve has introduced an update to Steam Play which is designed to make a raft of previously Windows-only games playable on Linux.

Announcing the Steam Play update on its website, Valve said: “In 2010, we announced Steam Play: a way for Steam users to access Windows, Mac, and Linux versions of Steam games with a single purchase. More than 3000 of the games that have been added to Steam after that point has included Linux support, with more titles being added every day. Since then, we’ve continued to look for ways to make more titles easily accessible to Linux users.

“So, two years ago, we started an effort to improve the quality and performance of Windows compatibility solutions for Steam games. A lot of our work has been in the form of supporting Wine and other existing compatibility projects. We have also been integrating these tools into the Steam client to provide the same simple plug-and-play experience offered by regular Linux games. Our goal for this work is to let Linux Steam users enjoy easy access to a larger back catalog.

“Today we are releasing the Beta of a new and improved version of Steam Play to all Linux users! It includes a modified distribution of Wine, called Proton, to provide compatibility with Windows game titles. Here are some of the improvements it brings to the table: Windows games with no Linux version currently available can now be installed and run directly from the Linux Steam client, complete with native Steamworks and OpenVR support. DirectX 11 and 12 implementations are now based on Vulkan, resulting in improved game compatibility and reduced performance impact.”

The update also improves full-screen and controller support for Windows games played on Linux. A full list of supported games is on the blog post, and includes the likes of Doom, Quake, NieR: Automata, S.T.A.L.K.E.R, Tekken 7, Star Wars: Battlefront II and Tropico 4, as well as the VR games, Beat Saber and Doom VFR.

Valve adds that users will be able to vote for the games they would most like to see rendered playable on Linux, via Steam Play’s wish-list. And since developers can effectively make their Windows games Linux-compatible via Vulkan, Steam Play’s Linux-compatible library should grow steadily.