Valve potentially looking into getting Windows games to run on Linux

Steam-Machines-hed-796x419.jpg

For gamers, one of the biggest drawbacks to Linux operating systems is the lack of compatibility with many major PC games. Valve created their own SteamOS, which is Linux-based, but ultimately it didn't go very far in terms of gaming. Steam machines running the aforementioned OS were quietly removed from Steam's main page, though updates are still being pushed out. Within some of these updates have been interesting notes, with references to something that could "let users play games built for other operating systems". Called "Steam Play", it would work similarly to Wine, and allow for Linux users to boot Windows games on their computer. It appears that Steam has been tinkering and playing with such a feature since at least January of this year. While a 3.0 update of SteamOS is coming soon, we probably won't see anything officially announced in regards to this for a while yet, if ever. Since Valve hasn't said anything about this, it could just be something that the company is looking into to test the waters, but at the same time, the latest updates show that they've created a UI to change settings in regards to "Steam Play", meaning things could be a bit more concrete.

:arrow: Source: GitHub
 

dude1

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This might be bad for native Linux gaming ("if our windows game works on wine, why make a linux version?"), but good for overall adoption of Linux.
people said the same thing about cider (transgaming's gaming specific wine ) and actual wine ports on Mac.
it didn't change much.
the companies that did proper Mac games still do, but what it did do is start a vibrant community of people taking and tweaking the wrappers onto other games so Mac people got more choices than before
 

Tom Bombadildo

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Soooooooo...AKA Wine. GG Valve, great idea, never before seen!

Nice news, I suppose. Might make devs ignore native Linux ports more so than now, but if this can get Windows based games running just as well without compatibility issues like Wine it'll still be worth it for die-hard Linux fans.
 

sarkwalvein

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This could be good for a couple of reasons:
1. Games will probably show up their compatibility directly on Steam, e.g., you can look for games "compatible through the Steam wine variant".
2. The Stwine profile and specific configurations for the game will be included and downloaded directly from Steam, really plug and play, no need to care about configurations and workarounds.

One of the most annoying parts of using wine is making games work through thousands of workarounds, and looking around the web for what you have to change/etc. If that all comes already with a click on the Steam app, then that's a win...e. /s /killme
 

kuwanger

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This might be bad for native Linux gaming

When I hear "native Linux gaming" I think open source (and usually free) games. By the numbers, I have a lot more Steam distributed native Linux games, but a massive part of the appeal to me about Linux is its free nature*.

but good for overall adoption of Linux.

This I doubt. Most people use an OS they want to use that can also play the games they want. It took me a long time to even buy a Windows computer because (at least before SSDs) there was a sufficient delay to play a game I wanted. So, those few people who would otherwise use Linux except for the lack of games may adopt Linux.

I'd imagine we'd see a much improved situation if we ever see vGPU on the consumer desktop. At that point, games (and several other programs) could be distributed as virtual machines with minimal free OSs to have a run-anywhere blob. Hard to say if something like that could ever really take off though.

* Not just because I'm cheap (because I am), but because if you actually start thinking about copyright law and the legality of things, you quickly get into situations where you have to ponder if you have to buy n different copies of something because someone else may use it so personal use may not apply. Simply put, it can quickly become absurd in the long term.
 
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I heard about this on a Linux Gaming Discord just yesterday. People have been begging for Native Wine Support on Steam for ages, and I guess Valve finally has a reason to implement such a feature with SteamOS and Steam Boxes. What I find interesting, however, is not just the fact that they decided to announce this after they pretty much discontinued Steam Boxes, but also how it seems to be their own in-house compatibility layer, as opposed to just using Wine.

This, coupled with the fact that NVIDIA finally seems to be adding proper GPU offloading support for Optimus laptops, may mean that Linux could see more official support, both from hardware vendors and game devs, in the near future. I'm looking forward to seeing what Valve has planned.
 

Ericthegreat

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Hmm a wine, with api to make games work with it I'd imagine, I'd expect performance loss. And idk how the drivers are currently. If it worked well, I'd consider switching, especially since visual studio code exist now. I'd consider switching if it worked 100% especially since visual studio code.
 
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Tom Bombadildo

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I thought they already did. If SteamOS doesn't come pre-packaged with WINE, no wonder it's bombing so hard.
This is mainly because in order to run Steam games from Wine, you need a Windows version of Steam running through Wine at the same time. Which, a few years ago when SteamOS launched, was basically a buggy fucking mess and not really worth the effort. The last couple years the compatibility has improved a ton though, you can actually log in and play any Wine supported Steam games and such, but there are still a lot of bugs with major features still that need to be worked out (for example, anything using the built-in browser simply doesn't work at all, it just shows up blank, and sometimes the Chat doesn't function and let you type in it).

Of course, Valve could've just worked on making Steam more Wine-friendly in the first place before SteamOS launched, but I imagine it wasn't really high up on the dev list when you consider how awful and barebones SteamOS was when it first launched.
 

SirNapkin1334

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Interesting. They’ll have to do a lot of tinkering though - Wine currently is...bad (maybe that’s just the macOS version perhaps).
 

sarkwalvein

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Is there any reason for anyone to use only linux? Why does it still exist even?
This kind of comment makes me cringe.
I wouldn't go into the details, because it is a lost cause, but in any case you are saying something so dumb that it produces vicarious embarrassment.
As a bad analogy, imagine someone riding a sports car asking himself "is there any reason for anyone using a truck? why do trucks still exist even?".
 

Dimensional

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It would be nice if Microsoft released an official version of DirectX for Linux. It doesn't have to be open source, but could be something that is only licensed to run on certain systems. This way Microsoft can still make money even if people aren't buying a Windows license. SteamOS would be one such OS that could make it useful.
 

Enkuler

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Is there any reason for anyone to use only linux? Why does it still exist even?
Is there any reason for anyone to use only windows? Why does it still exist even after 7 didn't have virtual desktops, then 8 came out and was everyone's favorite OS (/s), then 10 came out and had virtual desktops but still no tabs in the file explorer?
 

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