UPDATE: Valve has confirmed the rumours and officially announced Steam Play, a new method for Steam users to player Windows Steam games through Linux.

The Steam Play beta uses a modified distribution of Wine known as Proton, allowing games with no official Linux versions whatsoever to run through the Linux Steam client, complete with native Steamworks and VR support.

"Our goal for this work is to let Linux Steam users enjoy easy access to a larger back catalog," said Valve's Pierre-Loup Griffais. "We think it will also allow future developers to easily leverage their work from other platforms to target Linux. This would give them the option of focusing on areas that would make a meaningful experience difference for all users instead, such as supporting Vulkan."

The newly support Windows Steam game playable via Steam Play will utilised DirectX 11 and 12 implementations based upon Vulkan. Fullscreen support should now work without a hitch, performance in multi-threaded games has been improved, and Steam Linux will automatically detect all gamepads officially supported by Steam.

As this is only a limited beta test right now, the list of officially supported games is as follows:

  • Beat Saber
  • Bejeweled 2 Deluxe
  • Doki Doki Literature Club!
  • DOOM
  • DOOM II: Hell on Earth
  • Fallout Shelter
  • FATE
  • Geometry Dash
  • Google Earth VR
  • Into The Breach
  • Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012
  • Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013
  • Mount & Blade
  • Mount & Blade: With Fire & Sword
  • NieR: Automata
  • PAYDAY: The Heist
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl
  • Star Wars: Battlefront 2
  • Tekken 7
  • The Last Remnant
  • Tropico 4
  • Ultimate Doom
  • Warhammer® 40,000: Dawn of War® - Dark Crusade
  • Warhammer® 40,000: Dawn of War® - Soulstorm

More titles will be added in due time with Valve implementing a voting process for the most request titles. In the meantime, users can override the list of supported games and attempt to run them as is using the Steam Play override switch.

Should this take your fancy, Proton is available to download now over on GitHub.

Original Story: 15-Aug-2018 - Rumour: Valve May Be Adding Windows Steam Game Compatibility to Linux

In a very interesting move, sleuths over at GamingOnLinux appear to unearthed evidence that Valve is experimenting with tools that could allow Windows Steam games to be playable on Linux operating systems.

Up until this point, a game has to be specifically developed for Linux in order to be compatible with Unix-based operating systems. There are workarounds available right now, but it’s notoriously unreliable and a major hassle to get sorted.

However, updates posted to the Steam Database github indicates Valve is at least testing an automatic method for running Windows games on Linux. Picking through the github notes, the tool appears to be called ‘Steam Play’, which the compatibility info says “Steam Play will automatically install compatibility tools that allow you to play games from your library that were built for other operating systems.”

It looks as if there will be officially supported Steam Play titles that have basically been given the thumbs up for compatibility with other operating systems. There will also be the ability for force enable Steam Play, which users "can use Steam Play to test games in your library that have not been verified with a supported compatibility tool."

At the moment the language used is too vague to draw any definitive conclusions, although it certainly appears as if Valve is at least messing around with the idea.

In the short term this would be of little benefit to Valve should this actually happen. The number of Linux users currently using Steam is vanishingly small, but a large number of people are probably using Windows for the express reason that there aren’t as many gaming options on Linux. Having access to a larger library of Steam games on Linux could be an attractive proposition, particularly as more and more gamers grow fed-up of the Steam and Windows combination.