Walls come crumbling down
For years now, Valve has been making strides with Steam to get away from the closed-off environments of the Windows and App Stores that Microsoft and Apple provide. Valve is all about user freedom and allowing people to play games the way they want. One of the ways Valve did this was by creating a Linux distribution dedicated to getting more game support on the operating system. While somewhat successful, this newest update may be the biggest push yet.
Valve has announced that its “Steam Play” program just received an update that will, essentially, emulate Windows playback on Linux. Called “Proton,” this new compatibility tool replicates the functions of WINE, another popular piece of compatibility software for the Linux OS. Since the biggest hurdle to getting games running on Linux is a lack of Direct X support, Proton shifts Direct X 11 and 12 functionality to the newer Vulkan API and even natively supports all Steam supported gamepads.
In the new beta, 27 games have been given Linux support with more likely to come in the near future. Currently, you can experience Doom, Tekken 7, Doki Doki Literature Club, Star Wars: Battlefront 2 and S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Shadow of Chernobyl without having to dual boot your PC. Some VR titles have also been given support, including Doom V.F.R. and Beat Saber.
Valve does stress that support for games with specific DRM solutions will likely never come to Linux. Still, Valve is allowing users to vote for games they’d like to see get “Steam Play” support. Proton will also allow for games without “Steam Play” compatibility to be run on Linux, though it can’t guarantee those will run smoothly.
Honestly, this sounds like great news to me. I would have switched to Linux years ago if game support was more robust. If Valve can finally make that happen, I’ll say goodbye to Windows without a second thought.
Introducing a new version of Steam Play [Steam Community]