Sure, Linux is still the best for personalizing your desktop settings but when it comes to gaming, it’s a whole different story.
It’s open-source. Do you know what isn’t? It doesn’t have the same number of available Steam games as Windows.
While Windows still dominates when it comes to compatibility and quantity of games, Linux, is still growing and adapting to Steam. Due to SteamOS made for Linux, more and more games are slowly added into the kernel and that’s a good thing.
But now that Linux is most likely to live up to Gabe “Lord Gaben” Newell’s statement, “Linux and Open Source are the future of gaming”, does this mean we can transfer from Windows or just stay there and keep enjoying the present times? Let’s find out.
How SteamOS Helped Linux Play Games
If Steam never existed in the first place and become the household launcher for video games, gaming in Linux would have been simpler. But, it was already tried and tested back in 2011 to 2016 that most Steam games were never available in the kernel due to its compatibility issues.
Jump into 2019 and Linux is finally getting that treatment it deserves for gaming. How? Through an operating system is known as SteamOS.
If you aren’t too familiar with Linux, Linux isn’t technically an OS like Windows; instead, it’s a kernel that can run different kinds of OS. That’s what makes Linux great - you have limitless opportunities to make your own kind desktop.
And with SteamOS, the system specializes in running games properly for Linux. Sure, it was very jaggy and rough around the edges during its first years but now, Linux can now properly run over more than six thousand Steam games.
Best of all. unlike Windows and Mac version of the Steam launcher, Linux users can customize their own kind of Steam launcher. Want to add basketball themes? You got it. Love Rainbow Six Siege operators and use them as icons for your Steam game library? Go ahead. Want to unleash your weeaboo-ness? Anime up your launcher if you like.
Can You Finally Play Competitive Multiplayer on Linux?
Well, that really depends on what multiplayer game is available there. For example, League of Legends and Minecraft are non-Steam games that are available to play on Linux. Team Fortress 2, DotA 2 and CS:GO run properly on SteamOS while some Steam games like Rainbow Six: Siege and Battlerite cannot launch properly...at least not yet, that is.
But hey, at least you can finally dish out your headphones for gaming more than just listening to your custom music player on Linux.
Why A Lot of People Like Playing on Linux
While it’s a given that PC games run well on Windows, some like to be on the other side where there are more freedom and other perks. In the case of Linux, you got customization over your game launcher. Not only do you get to tinker with your game list, but you can do all these for free. Additionally, games occasionally run better and perform faster than Windows 10. This is due to the fact that Linux has drastically lesser bloatware and programs that automatically run when you boot up the PC.
Linux Gaming According to Redditors
I had to go on an investigation in forums to find experienced Linux players. And what better way to find an active forum than on Reddit, specifically in r/pcmasterrace.
On one thread, Reddit user u/Logo1392 asked,
“I've looked around on the internet, but there is really no conclusion whether or not Linux or Windows is better for gaming, especially recently, since Linux is certainly trying, probably because of fans on both sides. I figured I would ask you people, since the people willing to type here may know something / be running / dual-booting linux and windows already. Is Linux at least a decent alternative to Windows for gaming, at least for me? I tend to play some already-ported games like CSGO and Insurgency, but also want to play some AC games, Just Cause 3, and WoW Classic. I'm happy to VM, since I'll need it anyways for programs like Word 2016, and put in some time to make Linux work, if it is required.I know that this place still has fans of both, but at least you people will debate.”
Here are two great answers from Reddit users u/Dread_Pirate_Wolf and u/Duckz0nQu4ck respectively:
“I dual boot, run Linux as my primary OS. I am running Gentoo Linux, and 90% of my games I currently play are perfectly fine, if not, even faster on Linux than on Windows. My system runs much smoother, I update when I want, my desktop is nice an uncluttered, etc etc. It's all-around a better experience running Linux vs Windows. Also, Linux doesn't have problems with slowing down with age, like Windows does when used on a daily basis. I have noticed dramatic speed improvements in Windows when I reformat and reinstall windows... every year.
That said, I dual boot with windows on one of my HDDs, and I also link in VMWare to load that HDD so I can run Windows in a VM when I want, and if I need more power, I'll just boot up Windows by itself. Only a few games I would go to Windows for, at least for now, as they aren't quite working right on Linux, but the longer Linux gaming is embraced, the better the support will become.
All in all, Dual Booting is still "required" however you'll spend far more time in Linux than Windows. I've converted to using all Linux software as well, as, it's free, and works better! OpenOffice.org is very good, the GIMP is really good when you learn how to use it as well. Kdenlive is really good when you learn it, etc etc.
EDIT: In the long term, I do plan on running a PCI Passthrough when I upgrade my system some more, but, for now, I just don't feel like setting it up!” -u/Dread_Pirate_Wolf
“I use Linux (Ubuntu 18.04 specifically) for most of my games now. Most games work out of the box with Steams Proton now, quite a few popular ones are native, and lutris with wine + dxvk is super simple to set up.
The only games I keep on a Windows 10 partition are Ubisoft games, BO4 and Destiny 2, and the odd ones that just don't work. If a game doesn't work right off the bat there are usually small tweaks that make the game run flawlessly with any support available from the great Linux community.
Honestly it's been a 9/10 experience, if you are willing to do a tad bit of research and such.” -u/Duckz0nQu4ckz
What Does This Mean for Gaming on Windows?
While Linux is slowly improving in terms of overall gaming performance, it still has many ways to learn. For example, some games are still locked at 60 fps while others aren’t still fully-optimized for SteamOS despite being available on the system.
Of course, if you’re a PC player and you heard and saw Lord Gaben saying Linux is the future, you really shouldn’t be worried. After all, Windows is still the face of PC gaming more than anything. It still runs PC games the best and has the most optimal performance levels versus those of Mac and Linux.
What Advantages Does Windows Have Over Linux?
First of all, Windows has little to no problems when it comes to playing modern PC games and backwards-compatibility on older titles. This is because game developers choose Windows by default to be the primary OS for running their PC games. Remember, not all game developers create Mac and Linux versions. If they happen to be on Steam, it’s all going to depend on Valve if they’ll make a Linux edition of a particular game. And so far, barely half of the Steam games are only available for Linux.
Second, Windows is Launcher-friendly. While Steam is the major PC game launcher, don’t forget that there are other launchers with their own exclusive games too; clients such as Epic Games Store, EA Origin, Bethesda Launcher, Ubisoft Uplay, Tencent Gaming, and Garena Games Launcher run well on Windows but are not available to Linux.
If you happen to be a Linux user and want to play Fortnite or any Epic-exclusive game, you’re going to need a PC that runs Windows instead (Steam - 1, Epic - 0).
In the end, both Linux and Windows are great for PC gaming. It just really depends on what game you want to play. While Linux is still growing, it won’t be long until it can stand on its own versus Windows when it comes to best PC game optimization.
For now, Windows is still the safest way to play PC games. But if you want to personalize your games launcher to your own liking, Linux is your way to go. Just remember that Window still has the upper-hand when it comes to available Steam games. And hey, maybe Lord Gaben could be right - maybe Linux will really become the face of running PC games sometime in the future. Let’s just see what happens in the next 5 years...not unless Google will ruin gaming with Stadia and force it upon gamers to use their streaming service.