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Steam Play beta lets Linux players play some Windows-only titles



It was whispered about it only last week, but now it's completely official. Steam Play, originally intended as a single purchase system to purchase games running on Windows, Mac and Linux, takes compatibility across the platform to the next level. Yes, Valve is now trying to run Windows games on Steam on Linux. And for Linux and the open source interpreters' satisfaction, it's the right way to build on and support initiatives that will not only help Steam, but also the entire Linux ecosystem.

To be fair, Valve has long been a spokesman for using industry-wide standards and technologies, even open source, over proprietary alternatives, such as using OpenGL or, now, Vulkan, over Microsoft's Direct3D API. It set foot where the mouth was when it bet on Linux for SteamOS and Steam Machines, the latter which unfortunately has not carried much fruit yet. It might change better with Valve's new game for Steam Play.

Valve has fortunately decided to base its new Proton tool on existing Wine Is not an Emulator (WIN) project, and has collaborated with CodeWeavers, makers of CrossOver Office Suite that allow Linux users to run Microsoft Office, including based on WINE. While Proton has some Steam-specific features, Valve has pushed some of the improvements it has made on its part to the general WINE code to be useful to all Linux users. And as expected, Valve still pushes developers to target Vulkan graphics API (or at least OpenGL) instead of Direct3D to maximize platform support.

This Steam Play feature is available to all Linux users, but they must select Steam Client Beta first. Currently, the list of whitelisted games ready for Steam Play is a bit short and varied, but Linux users can force Steam Play for all titles at their own risk. The whitish games include:

• Beat Saber
• Bejeweled 2 Deluxe
• Doki Doki Literature Club!
• DOOM
• DOOM II: Hell on Earth
• DOOM VFR
] • Fallout Shelter
• FAT
• FINAL FANTASY VI
• Geometry Dash
Google Earth VR
• In violation
• Magic: The Gathering ̵

1; Planners of 2012
• Mage: Gathering – Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013
• Mount & Blade
• Mount & Blade: With Fire & Sword
• NieR: Automata
• Saturday: Heist
] • QUAKE
• STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl
• Star Wars: Battlefront 2
• Tekken 7
• The Last Item
• Tropico 4
• Ultimate Doom
Warhammer® 40,000: Dawn of War® – Dark Crusade
• Warhammer® 40,000: Dawn of War® – Soulstorm

Valve admit that t here will affect some performance, especially for games "where graphics API translation is required", aka those who use Direct3D. However, Windows games that use Vulcan from get-go should not see much difference, at least in theory. However, some games that use DRM or anti-cheat systems may not work at all. Although this is definitely a big blessing for Linux games, it is still to see whether this will actually improve the state of the market or if it only makes game developers less likely to support Vulcan or Linux directly, since a compatibility tool exists anyway.


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