Can I play games on Linux? This is one of the most frequently asked questions among people who are about to switch to Linux. Games are often singled out as a standalone Linux feature. Some people even wonder if they can listen to music and watch movies on Linux. With this in mind, the question of being playable on Linux seems reasonable.
In this article, I will answer most of the Linux gaming questions a beginner might have. For example, as “can games be played on Linux?”, “What games are available and where can I download them?” Let’s get started.
CAN I PLAY GAMES ON LINUX?
Yes and no!
Yes – you can play on Linux, and now – you cannot play all games on Linux. There are many popular Linux games: Counter-Strike, Metro Last Light, etc. But you won’t be able to play all the latest games released for Windows, for example, the same PES 2020.
The reason for this, in my opinion, is that Linux has less than 2% of the desktop PC market share. These numbers greatly reduce the incentive for game makers to make versions for Linux. There is a very high chance that the best games of the year will not be available for Linux. But don’t worry, there are other ways to run games on Linux, which we’ll talk about later. Now let’s look at what Linux games are.
I divide them into four groups:
- Native games
- Windows Games on Linux
- Browser games
- Console games
Let’s start with native, native games.
1. WHERE TO GET NATIVE GAMES FOR LINUX
I mean native games for games that are officially supported on Linux. They can be installed like most other programs without any additional effort.
As you can see, Linux is not as unsuitable for entertainment as it might seem, and there are still games. But the next question arises: where to get them? Consider several sources where you can download native games for Linux:
Steam is a digital video game distribution platform. So is Amazon, a book distribution platform, and iTunes, a music distribution platform. Here you can buy, install and play multiplayer games, as well as communicate with other customers of the service. All games are protected by DRM. On Steam, you can find tons of games from AAA level to small indie projects.
The gaming platform Steam announced Linux support a few years ago, and that was big news. It meant that the gaming industry had serious plans for Linux. Valve has created its own Linux-based game console as well as its own Linux distribution, SteamOS. This forced the developers to port many games to Linux. You can read about installing and configuring Steam in a separate article – Installing and using Steam
GOG.com is a platform similar to Steam. Here, too, you can find various Linux games, buy, install and play them. If the games support multiple platforms, you can download them and use them on different operating systems. The main difference between GOG and Steam is that only DRM-free games are distributed here.
Purchased games are available in your account and you can download them whenever you want. Here you don’t even need to install the client like on Steam, you just download the game using your browser, install it and you can already play native games for Linux.
PORTABLE LINUX GAMES
The portabellinuxgames.org site is a collection of native games for 32 bit Linux systems. You cannot just run them on a 64-bit system, for this you will need to download several libraries. Here you can download any game you like. The downloaded files already include all the game dependencies such as Wine or Perl. All you need to do is download the game, double-click it and play. Very useful if you do not have constant access to high-speed internet.
If you are looking for native indie games for Linux, then itch.io is a great resource for you. Here you can get a huge amount of both paid and free games. The games pages have links to download executables for Linux.
Look in the official repositories for your distribution. Usually there are some games there too. If you have Ubuntu, there is even a section for games in the app center. The same is true for other Linux distributions such as Linux Mint.