Confused on Steam Play and Proton? Be sure to check out our guide.

As we speculated previously, Valve have now officially announced their new version of 'Steam Play' for Linux gaming using a modified distribution of Wine called Proton, which is available on GitHub.

What does it do? In short: it allows you to play Windows games on Linux, directly through the Steam client as if they were a Linux game.

What many people suspected turned out to be true, DXVK development was actually funded by Valve. They actually employed the DXVK developer since February 2018. On top of that, they also helped to fund: vkd3d (Direct3D 12 implementation based on Vulkan), OpenVR and Steamworks native API bridges, wined3d performance and functionality fixes for Direct3D 9 and Direct3D 11 and more.

The amount of work that has gone into this—it's ridiculous.

Here's what they say it improves:

  • Windows games with no Linux version currently available can now be installed and run directly from the Linux Steam client, complete with native Steamworks and OpenVR support.
  • DirectX 11 and 12 implementations are now based on Vulkan, resulting in improved game compatibility and reduced performance impact.
  • Fullscreen support has been improved: fullscreen games will be seamlessly stretched to the desired display without interfering with the native monitor resolution or requiring the use of a virtual desktop.
  • Improved game controller support: games will automatically recognize all controllers supported by Steam. Expect more out-of-the-box controller compatibility than even the original version of the game.
  • Performance for multi-threaded games has been greatly improved compared to vanilla Wine.

It currently has a limited set of games that are supported, but even so it's quite an impressive list that they're putting out there. Which includes DOOM, FINAL FANTASY VI, Into The Breach, NieR: Automata, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, Star Wars: Battlefront 2 and more. They will enable many more titles as progress on it all continues.

To be clear, this is available right now. To get it, you need to be in the Steam Client Beta.

There will be drawbacks, like possible performance issues and games that rely on some DRM might likely never be supported, but even so the amount of possibilities this opens up has literally split my head open with Thor's mighty hammer.

Read more here.

Holy shit. Please excuse the language, but honestly, I'm physically shaking right now I don't quite know how to process this.

Update #1: I spoke to Valve earlier, about how buying Windows games to play with this system counts, they said this:

Hey Liam, the normal algorithm is in effect, so if at the end of the two weeks you have more playtime on Linux, it'll be a Linux sale. Proton counts as Linux.

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sbolokanov 22 Aug, 2018
I've been wondering if that means that ARMA3 will now ditch eON and use this to get up-to-date between versions…
Cookiedemkp 22 Aug, 2018
Normally I'm more than content to hide in the shadows of forums and comment sections, but I believe this news is exciting enough for me to come out of the woodwork for.

Exciting to me is actually not the newfound possibilities immediately opened up by this work, but rather what it implies for the long-term going forward. As others have mentioned, this is a very clear indication of Valve's Linux support (for those who needed such confirmation) and seems to spell out more to come.

What really excites me is that this implies Valve is likely continuing things already in motion and attempting to ensure that, were MS to push forward a lockdown strategy, a backup plan involving Linux will be available. I believe these "things in motion" will be the efforts such as the FreeSync changes in the kernel (which I personally would be very happy for), bug fixes and possibly performance improvements to Mesa (though I don't know how interested Valve are in Mesa anyway), and so on.

As has already been beaten to a pulp by other posters, I have some slight hesitation in regards to future native Linux ports, but I think it's a very great thing that there are now games which are accessible on Linux that certainly were never going to get a port (expecting, of course, that performance improvements and necessary bug fixes may still be something that people wait on for various titles). The transparency and availability of information such as market share should not be underestimated and we've already seen how Valve have been tweaking things to help developers on this end.

I'll definitely be watching changelogs at LKML to see relevant kernel changes that might be coming.
stretch611 22 Aug, 2018
Quoting: Alm888
Quoting: Whitewolfe80The code has not been tampered with no code injection has taken place they havent(sic) re written direct x to get it to work so they shouldnt(sic) have any legal grounds.
Yeah, sure. This didn't stop Oracle® from suing Google® for its Java™ API implementation.
Quoting: GuestStop with the FUD. Even if they sue they won't get anywhere. WINE infringes on no copyright, plus it has existed for 2 decades, legally they have lost the right to pursue anything now.
Even if a court ultimately rejects all claims, this can take ages and Valve®'s reputation will be tarnished. And, more importantly, the court can forbid any Valve®'s economical activity in the US of America during the process in order to prevent any possible further violations. By the time Microsoft® will be forced to pay reparation it will be useless because Valve® will be bankrupt.
And please, don't shoot the messager. I don't work for Microsoft®; all I want is for people to stop drinking Valve®'s kool-aid. Why are most people assuming Microsoft® won't retaliate? Be it a legal process or constant and rapid API changes in order to break compatibility? All of the previous Microsoft®'s history suggests otherwise.
Really?!? Not Likely.

IANAL... But...

First, on the unlikely chance that Microsoft files suit... Valve's reputation will NOT be tarnished. While companies are afraid of their suppliers being hit with lawsuits, Valve generally is associated with a consumer product. Consumers are more likely to be ignorant of the lawsuit, and even if they know about it they are more than likely to side with Valve because A) Valve supplies them with what they want, and B) Valve is a small company compared to Microsoft and the David vs Goliath complex comes into play with most consumers. There will probably be a few Microsoft loyalists that would be offended, but they are a drop in the bucket.

Second. You are correct, A lawsuit like this will take ages. It will be years before it will ever finish. The earlier reference Oracle lawsuit is still in the courts going through appeals and has been refiled, what, 3 times now by Oracle, and only the latest one has a small monetary damage. SCO vs IBM over linux copyrights started in 2003, lasted for 7 years, and even re-appeared last year. And yes, it can be possible that Microsoft can stop all infringing products from being distributed by Valve; however it is very unlikely. Microsoft would need to have overwhelming evidence that it will win the case before it even begins. This rarely happens, and is even less likely in a case that would be as complex as this one would be. It did not happen in either the Oracle Case or the SCO Linux case.

Third, and I am not sure how this affects the process, but I am sure any possible case would bring it up in court... In 2001, as part of the settlement deal between the US Govt and Microsoft; Microsoft agreed to share its application programming interfaces with third-party companies for five years. Microsoft's obligations under the settlement, as originally drafted, expired on November 12, 2007. However, Microsoft later "agreed to consent to a two-year extension of part of the Final Judgments" dealing with communications protocol licensing, and that if the plaintiffs later wished to extend those aspects of the settlement even as far as 2012, it would not object. In the case of Oracle, infringement was based on the API naming, not the underlying code. Here Microsoft was forced to share its API interface so that same claim is unlikely to work on any APIs published during the settlement compliance period. Though any API created after the settlement was over would probably be treated differently. However, remember, IANAL.

Any Microsoft lawsuit against Valve would require a lot of work with questionable results. And remember, Microsoft is still a de facto monopoly... There is a chance Valve can counter sue on the grounds that Microsoft is using its monopoly power to take over software distribution. Another long shot, but in a case this complex they have just as much of a chance of winning as Microsoft does.
kalin 22 Aug, 2018
Quoting: Ketil
Quoting: kalinYou are not serious right ? While there is less then 1% linux gamers self respecting publisher never will put money and effort to do anything for linux. Especially when the community is full with outraged retards and haters that constantly make death threats, I still remember witcher 2. The issue with linux gaming is not the porting but the support. It doesn't make sense. For that reason just be thankful to Valve for supporting us even when it doesn't make sense, even when people preferred gog for some reason.
For small studios who cannot reuse the effort on a larger scale, it might not make sense financially, but Valve is big enough that even 1% of their users make them a lot of money. Their work isn't restricted to a few games in a limited set of genres, but to a lot of games in all genres, so even if the cost is high, it will pay for itself if enough Linux users buy more games from steam as a result of it.

Will it pay for itself? Time will tell. I can only speak for myself, but I am sure I will buy more windows games if this works well. I also suspect some developers might will consider supporting Linux officially through steam play as well.

Totally wrong. With that effort they can make a lot more money while servicing the real market.
The only reason they doing it is that they don't want to put all their eggs in single basket. They hope that their effort will help linux to grow. It is important to note that if linux grow big valve and any game publisher/studio will not start to make more money because the number of gamers will be approximately the same.
Again be thankful to valve, they spend money on us because they believe in us. Believe in Valve


Last edited by kalin on 22 August 2018 at 8:48 am UTC
Alm888 22 Aug, 2018
Quoting: ColomboVulcan(sic) is already well-developed product with a strong corporate backing (Valve) that seems to be more adopted than DX12. The only way Microsoft might fight this is making proprietary extension for Vulcan(sic).
We can only hope Vulkan prevails it the end but so far I'm not convinced this already happened. I've been monitoring news (in my country) regarding DX12 vs. Vulkan on the "General Purpose" gaming news sites (i.e. Windows™-centric) and so far an average Joe constantly hears about DirectX™ 12 while there is almost no news regarding Vulkan. The Vulkan news I've found, ironically, were panic-inducing ones (regarding Nvidia's new ray-racing features only working in DirectX™ and not in Vulkan).

The biggest shot in the foot Microsoft® made was "DirectX™ 12 Windows™ 10 lock-in". :D
peterp771 22 Aug, 2018
I doubt MS will sue. Let's not forget that MS has invested a lot of effort into building bridges with the Linux community in the past few years. They have ported Ubuntu to Windows, open-sourced .NET, brought SQL server to Linux and even joined the Linux Foundation as part of their effort to promote the Azure platform.

Suing Valve would result in a massive backlash from the Linux community and destroy all the good-will that MS has built with Linux. Frankly, they would be shooting themselves in the foot.


Last edited by peterp771 on 22 August 2018 at 8:53 am UTC
somebody1121 22 Aug, 2018
I tried Nier Automata but it won't launch and shows an information window that said "Can't stablish connection with the server". Happened to anyone else?
minkiu 22 Aug, 2018
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Quoting: scaineI'm most concerned that this encourages devs to simply do DX again and is the death of Vulkan.

DXVK is there to translate from DX to Vulkan, and it's a key element for Proton to work, if there are more Dx titles means DXVK, and by effect, Vulkan are necessary so I find it unreasonable to think this would diminish Vulkan?
Alm888 22 Aug, 2018
Quoting: stretch611Consumers are more likely to be ignorant of the lawsuit…
Precisely!
Quoting: stretch611…and even if they know about it they are more than likely to side with Valve…
Guess what will happen when Steam refuses to launch after the Windows™ Update? My bet they will run towards Microsoft® and Valve® with their sticks and stones and demands to "fix it back". And what happens next? Microsoft® won't budge and Valve will be unable to do anything. So, enraged gamers will switch to "Microsoft Store" (no choice, because otherwise they will have to switch to Linux and, believe me, it terrifies most of them). Gamers can hate Microsoft® however they want, but they depend on Windows™ (most of them have to do their school homework on it) and will take whatever Microsoft® throws at them.

Well, business consumers are another beast altogether but Microsoft® is not stupid enough to get on their bad side.

Quoting: stretch611Microsoft would need to have overwhelming evidence that it will win the case before it even begins.
Nope. The process will be launched for the sake of the process itself and associated stalling. By the time Microsoft® loses its rival will be long dead. That's the ugly nature of modern "intellectual property" system. :(

Quoting: stretch611…David vs Goliath…
Glad you brought this up! ^_^
The moral? Whatever you do, if your enemy is an order of magnitude bigger than you, you don't head-butt into it. Many tried. Few survived. None succeeded.


Last edited by Alm888 on 22 August 2018 at 9:14 am UTC
lordheavy 22 Aug, 2018
Works:

- Doom (works with steam runtime)
- LEGO Batman: The Videogame
- LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures
- LEGO Jurassic World
- LEGO MARVEL Super Heroes
- Swords and Soldiers HD
- The Bard's Tale Trilogy
- Tropico 4

Doesn't work:

- Alpha Protocol
- Doom 3: BFG Edition
- Fallout 4
- Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams
- LEGO Batman 2
- LEGO The Lord Of The Ring
- Mafia II
- Resident Evil / biohazard HD REMASTER
- The Bureau: XCOM Declassified
- The Darkness II
- Titan Quest Anniversary Edition


Last edited by lordheavy on 22 August 2018 at 12:14 pm UTC
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