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.
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.