According to a report by Linux games site Boiling Steam, 72% of the current top 50 games on Steam can run on Linux, either using Proton or natively. Some of the unsupported games are expected to work with Linux eventually due to Valve’s efforts to enable an extensive roster of games for its upcoming Steam Deck handheld console, but anti-cheat programs have hampered progress on Linux-based systems.
Valve’s Top 50 Steam Leaderboard list includes the games with the most concurrent players over two weeks. So rather than sales, whatever game is played the most gets a spot on the chart. Unsurprisingly, these include titles like CS: GO, Dota 2, PUBG, and GTA V.
Several game titles in the top 50 will not work in Linux simply because of anti-cheat engines, like BattleEye and Easy Anti-Cheat (EAC), which require privileged access to a kernel module, which Linux forbids except in certain circumstances. Valve says it’s working to resolve this issue before launching Steam Deck, which would help resolve compatibility issues with eight unsupported games on Steam’s Top 50 list.
This is not the only work required to enable Linux compatibility, however. Valve’s Proton project offers a compatibility layer that translates Windows-specific operating system calls into Linux-specific system calls and translates APIs like DirectX to OpenCL and Vulkan. This project is at the heart of Valve’s upcoming Steam Deck game console, which runs a Linux-based operating system.
Given that the Steam Deck is expected to start shipping by the end of 2021, it’s no surprise that Valve is working to support as many titles as possible on Linux and test titles that already support. loads the operating system. With 36 games out of the current top 50 supported, hopefully the rest are on their way to better non-Windows (or MacOS) support.
As much as we expect to see broader support for more and more games on Linux, this is a difficult task that requires a lot of development to be successful. Proton needs to translate API calls, and often a game is very complicated to use, requiring a lot of translation to happen almost instantly. Hopefully Valve will take their time to get it right and ultimately deliver a handheld game console that can run most of the Steam library in a way you won’t be able to tell if it uses a compatibility layer or runs. in native mode.
We recently reported that Linux games reached a 1% share in Valve’s Steam hardware survey, indicating that Linux gamers are already present in large numbers. They just need the right software to run games on their preferred operating system. As Valve expands support for additional games and anti-cheat engines, we expect that number to grow, regardless of how successful the Steam Deck is.