We’ve focused a fair bit on Linux gaming over the course of Techgage‘s life, but in recent years, we’ve been so distracted with other things that we haven’t dived in to see where things truly stand today. It’s also partly to blame that some games I’ve personally been playing lately still need Windows to run, so I’ve been out of luck on digging deep into Proton.
What is Proton? It’s Valve’s Wine-based solution for gaming on Linux, and it’s worth paying attention to. I was talking to a friend a couple of months ago who told me Proton support was “really good”, and after, I rushed home to give it a try, and I can honestly say, I am beyond impressed where things stand. To give an example of how far along Proton has come, Dirt Rally 2.0 worked under Linux on the day of its release, despite not being officially available outside of Windows.
What made me want to quickly pen a post about Proton at this particular time was a thread I found on reddit yesterday, highlighting that about 60% of games tested through Proton and Steam Play work. If that doesn’t sound impressive, you might need to think back to the day when it was really hard to get the majority of AAA titles to work on Linux, either through Wine or similar solutions.
As one of the comments on that post highlights, only ~23% of all games on Steam have actually been tested through this solution, but it’s probably safe to say that the majority of the most popular games have already been tested. If you disable Linux native games on the site, the success rate becomes 30%, which is still admirable.
Unfortunately, my Forza Horizon 4 is still trapped to Windows, thanks to its Windows Store tie-in, while anti-cheat software makes my second current addition, Trials Rising, effectively locked out of Linux.
It could be that the games proving to be a sticking point for me will work eventually, but the fact of the matter is, Proton in its current implementation is downright amazing. While I haven’t written up on it much, I have played a few different games to some extent with the feature, and overall, I have no complaints, but there’s definitely more testing (ahem, playing) to be done.
If you’re a Linux gamer, or have been toying with the idea of trying Linux, but haven’t wanted to give up access to your favorite games, you can use ProtonDB to see how support fares for the titles you have in mind. Looking at the top ten lists available on the site, it’s easy to see that more work can be done to broaden support, but that support will come. As with any kind of work of this nature, there are likely to be many games declared unplayable right now that will change status later. Because of that, it’s important to not rule out a game if the last report submitted was some time ago. And, if you do run into a situation where a game is now playable, you have the power to submit a report on the website to reflect the (fortunate) change.
If you give Proton a go, you will need to make sure that it’s properly enabled in the settings. The screenshot above will show you exactly where you need to be. By default, Proton is not enabled, but it fortunately only requires a few clicks to rectify that.