Having removed SteamOS from their platform a few months back, Valve have now revealed that the beta version of the company's new and improved Steam Play service goes online today, which is great news for all Steam users on Linux and MacOS.
Or should I say gamers, since that was Valve's original goal for Steam Play - gaming. The service launched back in 2010 as "a way for Steam users to access Windows, Mac and Linux versions of Steam games", and even though it made significant progress, proper implementation required a bit more.
Now however, Valve seem to have delivered on the "bit more" part, mostly by focusing on Wine and its integration into the Steam Client. In case you're not familiar with Wine, it stands for Wine Is Not an Emulator, even though that's probably the easiest way to describe its functionality.
It's an application that allows for using Windows applications in Unix-like systems with Linux and MacOS being the most prominent examples of these. Needless to say, it's a must have tool in any Linux user's arsenal.
Valve said their goal is to provide Linux users with proper access to Steam's back catalogue. Perhaps even more importantly though, Steam Play should "allow future developers to easily leverage their work from other platforms to target Linux".
Integration of Wine into Steam should in theory remove a hefty chunk of game development time and resources for Linux game developers, which as you know are few and far between for obvious reasons. Having said that, Valve suggests that this time may be better invested into supporting Vulkan, which is a cross-platform 3D graphics API that Linux relies on.
What this means is that Windows games can be installed and run from the Linux Steam client, regardless of whether they have Linux support or not. DirectX 11 and 12 implementations are now Vulkan based, which further boosts compatibility. also mentions improved fullscreen and game controller support, as well as multi-threaded games performance.
Note however that Valve's version of Wine has been heavily modified, prompting GabeN and Co to rename it to Proton. Apparently, more than 3,000 games with Linux support have been added to Steam since 2010, "with more titles being added every day".
- Beat Saber
- Bejeweled 2 Deluxe
- Doki Doki Literature Club!
- DOOM II: Hell on Earth
- DOOM VFR
- Fallout Shelter
- FINAL FANTASY VI
- Geometry Dash
- Google Earth VR
- Into The Breach
- Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012
- Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013
- Mount & Blade
- Mount & Blade: With Fire & Sword
- NieR: Automata
- PAYDAY: The Heist
- S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl
- Star Wars: Battlefront 2
- Tekken 7
- The Last Remnant
- Tropico 4
- Ultimate Doom
- Warhammer® 40,000: Dawn of War® - Dark Crusade
- Warhammer® 40,000: Dawn of War® - Soulstorm