Valve announced this week that they are releasing a beta version of Steam Play Proton, an improved version of Steam Play that uses a modified version of Wine, that makes Windows games with no Linux compatibility now able to be installed and run via the Linux Steam Client.

Wine (which standards for Wine is not an Emulator) has traditionally been the best compatibility layer out there for running Windows games on Linux. Unfortunately, different games have often required different versions of Wine. Many players over the years have adopted PlayOnLinux, a graphical front end which allows you to more easily install and manage Windows-based games with the best version of Wine for that game.

Valves new Steam Play with Proton will allow you Steam users to launch all of their games via the Steam Linux client, regardless of if it is native linux or wine.

Here are some of the improvements it brings to the table:

  • 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.