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I still see a surprising amount of confusion from people on what Steam games work on Linux. Hopefully this will help clear it all up.

The problem is, Valve originally used the Linux "Tux" icon to show Linux compatibility:
image
They then replaced that with the SteamOS logo, which is basically the Steam logo in a coloured circle.

Steam Play is not Linux
image
If it doesn't have that little SteamOS icon at the end, it usually means it does not support Linux/SteamOS.

You see this all the time, but Steam Play does not mean it supports Linux & SteamOS. Steam Play means you buy it once, and it will only work on the platforms that the game supports directly. If a game is not Steam Play, you would need to re-buy it on each platform.

Here's one that only supports Windows & Mac for example:
image

Thoughts on it
I do think Valve need to do something to address this, I'm sure they know it's a little confusing, but it's possible they haven't even looked into it yet. It could also be possible that they simply don't care, but I would certainly hope they do.

Even moving the "STEAMPLAY" text to the start instead of at the end would help somewhat, as it would clearly show the SteamOS icon by itself then.

It frustrates me to see the confusion from users across the internet on what game supports Linux, as it shouldn't be this difficult, but Valve have made it difficult for people by not fully thinking this through.

One thing to remember: Not everyone has been around Linux as long as we have to understand the distinction between the icons. Remember the confusion isn't the fault of the user, this is a poor design choice from Valve. We have to remember this when seeing confused users. Help them, don't put them down.

It certainly doesn't help that Valve removed the SteamOS icon for a number of games as they work on Linux, but not SteamOS directly. Games like Starbound work fine on Ubuntu, but it has no SteamOS icon. There are further issues like Dying Light not having a SteamOS icon, due to some packaging issues, but it works "fine" (In quotes, as that's debatable) on Linux & SteamOS.

What do you think Valve could do to help the situation for people?

Also, an honourable mention to the SteamDB Linux list. Human-confirmed Steam games that work on Linux, and games that have hints about coming to Linux on the other tab. Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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43 comments
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kalin 10 April 2016 at 11:20 am UTC
QuoteI do think Valve need to do something to address this
They did it ... refund
melkemind 10 April 2016 at 11:59 am UTC
I agree that the logo is confusing.

Regarding some games not having the icon, however, I think Valve is doing the right thing. In fact I think they should take it a step further. Games that claim to support Linux but have horrible performance (particularly games like Son of Nor where you can't even maintain 30 fps on low settings) should have their icons removed. It makes Valve and their Steam Machines look bad when they are selling something for their own OS that is unplayable.

They need better quality control in general. It's pretty ridiculous for a game to have a "full controller support" icon but not work with the Steam controller. Maybe they should just hire a librarian (and I mean me, of course). I'd have their store organized and efficient.
stan 10 April 2016 at 12:47 pm UTC
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Haha, from the title I thought "oh wow someone started a database to know which games work on which distribution"… The steamos icon unfortunately will not tell you if the game works. But this will still be a useful article I’m sure.

melkemindRegarding some games not having the icon, however, I think Valve is doing the right thing. In fact I think they should take it a step further. Games that claim to support Linux but have horrible performance (particularly games like Son of Nor where you can't even maintain 30 fps on low settings) should have their icons removed. It makes Valve and their Steam Machines look bad when they are selling something for their own OS that is unplayable.
I thought you were wrong so I launched Son of Nor again, and yikes, you’re right… I had the game set to High and it ran at 15 FPS . It means it used to have a much better framerate before. Even when set to the absolute minimum settings it only runs at 30 FPS on my i5 4690K + GTX 660 @ 1920×1200.

Removing the steamos icon for unknown reasons though is confusing. In an ideal world they would have a Tux icon and if they really need it a separate steamos icon with whatever restrictions they want…

Edit: after restarting Son of Nor, the framerate went up to 60 FPS on the minimum settings… Then after playing with the settings a bit it went down to 45… So something strange is going on, but at least it’s playable. 45 FPS is the lowest I’ll tolerate though.


Last edited by stan on 10 April 2016 at 3:07 pm UTC
dubigrasu 10 April 2016 at 2:49 pm UTC
Well, their interest is to promote SteamOS (not necessarily Linux) and that's what the icon is for.
It may be confusing for some, but in the long run it was the right decision.
Xpander 10 April 2016 at 2:55 pm UTC
dubigrasuWell, their interest is to promote SteamOS (not necessarily Linux) and that's what the icon is for.
It may be confusing for some, but in the long run it was the right decision.

i would argue against that. the SteamOS icon is stupid and similar to steam own logo. they should have both.
if you got to download steam client then it says its "Available on PC, Mac, and Linux" , so there should be general linux icon also or well at least Ubuntu icon even would work.
people know linux (tux) icon, even windows users who havent used linux at all.
dubigrasu 10 April 2016 at 3:04 pm UTC
The SteamOS icon represents Steam's own platform and it makes sense to look like that. Things can be indeed done to clear up some remaining confusions, but basically they're are promoting SteamOS and SteamOS gaming, not Linux gaming in general.
Mal 10 April 2016 at 3:05 pm UTC
Imho tux icon and steamos icon should be separated things: if it works on linux put tux icon.

If if works on steamOs, has steam controller support (or at least is reasonable to play with that), has steam cloud support (without messing with different user savegames), etc etc put the steamOs icon.

Yea, 99% of the times if it support steamOs it supports linux too so the 2 icons may look redundant. But they're not. In addition this would allow Valve to put some stricter quality control on official SteamOs games. Sure if the game runs on linux you get the tux icon. But for the SteamOs logo they could demand some additional requirements.
ChloeWolfieGirl 10 April 2016 at 3:06 pm UTC
Theres a few problems with the icon situation.

The first one is that having more then one linux icon is redundant, can be confusing and can make things look cluttered.
The next issue is having it as the steam icon means that people who don't use Linux don’t really know what its about, all games on steam are steam games so in a way they should all have that icon, but for people with a steam machine, the icon makes sense, you have a steam machine so you look for the steam icon because that works on your steam machine.

If you change the logo to a penguin you suddenly have to explain that the linux icon is what the icon that means you can play it on the steam machine, at that point you can be like "Ok have a steamOS icon and a linux penguin" in which, what about new Ubuntu users who are looking for that ubuntu icon, or mint icon, and then its going out of hand..

I think perhaps the best idea would be to detect your os, Steam does that automatically anyways so why not have it so that if you're running steamOS it shows you a steam icon, and if you're running on one of the most popular distros, steam show you your distro logo, and if you're on anything else, show both tux and steamOS, or either or?


Last edited by ChloeWolfieGirl on 10 April 2016 at 3:07 pm UTC
EzyRhino 10 April 2016 at 3:28 pm UTC
dubigrasuWell, their interest is to promote SteamOS (not necessarily Linux) and that's what the icon is for.
It may be confusing for some, but in the long run it was the right decision.

It's pretty simple actually. If a game on Steam supports Windows, Mac, Linux, and SteamOS, then each os/platform should have their own icon. Honestly, how can that be difficult for them? It's mind-boggling tbh...


Last edited by EzyRhino on 10 April 2016 at 3:28 pm UTC
Xpander 10 April 2016 at 3:30 pm UTC
they have icons for Occulus and Vive now, so why not have SteamOS icon also in different place

Windows, Apple and Tux Icon for normal means and then extra icons for SteamOS and the VR stuff
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