Ever since Steam announced the Proton project, I had a feeling that gaming on Linux is going to see some sunny days. I am glad I was not wrong.
According to ProtonDB website, 80% of the top 100 games on Steam now have gold or better ratings. Which actually means, that these games will work quite well on Linux desktop.
If you are confused about the various ratings, here’s what it means:
- Native: Game is available on Linux natively
- Platinum: Runs perfectly out of the box
- Gold: Runs perfectly after tweaks
- Silver: Runs with minor issues, but generally is playable
- Bronze: Runs, but often crashes or has issues preventing from playing comfortably
- Borked: Either won’t start or is crucially unplayable
Basically, you should be able to enjoy a Windows-only game on Linux via Steam Play if it has at least Gold status.
If you look at the stats, more than 750 of the top thousand games on Steam are now playable on Linux. Now that is something, however, only 4 out of top 10 Steam games run fine on Linux at the time of writing this article.
How reliable are the ProtonDB ratings?
Please note that these ratings are not from Steam itself. These ratings are based on reports from gamers as they test games with Proton on Linux. It provides aggregate scores of how well games perform.
You may wonder if these unofficial ratings can be taken for granted. Well, there could be lots of factors like your system’s CPU, graphics drivers etc. But the ProtonDB ratings help you in determining if you could try a Windows-only game on Linux via Steam. You need to enable Steam Play here.
What is Steam Play and Proton, again?
If you are new to it, let me quickly recall a few things to help you understand better.
Steam is a platform and client that allows you to install and launch games. It works on Windows, Linux and macOS. Games are properly marked for the platforms they are available on.
A few years back, Steam introduced a new open source tool called Proton. It uses WINE and many other tool underneath to improve the compatibility of Windows-only games on Linux.
This feature is available on Steam platform through the Steam Play feature in beta. You have to explicitly enable it from the settings.
Since its inception, volunteers and Linux gaming community came together to create a database of games that could be played on Linux. It eventually evolved into a ratings system based on the feedback by gamers.
Steam also has its own rating system for its handheld gaming device Steam Deck.
Personally, I prefer to play single player games with good story line on PS4 (because I could not get a PS5 so far). But I am considering a small gaming set up and play games on Linux using Steam specially when Linux gaming has improved a lot in the last few years.
How do you see the progress of Steam and Linux gaming?