How to Install and Use Steam Play on Linux

Steam Play and Proton represent a massive leap forward for Linux gamers. Valve has committed to making Windows games playable on Linux for everyone without the hassle of configuring something like Wine. So, they did it for everyone, with Proton, Steam’s own version of Wine. Learn how to enable Steam Play on your Linux system, and start playing your Windows games.

In this tutorial you will learn:

  • How to Install the Steam Beta Client.
  • How to Enable Steam Play.
  • How to Configure Steam Play and Proton.
  • How to Play Your Windows Games.

Play Windows Games With Steam Play

Play Windows Games With Steam Play.

Software Requirements and Conventions Used

Software Requirements and Linux Command Line Conventions
Category Requirements, Conventions or Software Version Used
System All Major Linux Distributions
Software Steam
Other Privileged access to your Linux system as root or via the sudo command.
Conventions # – requires given linux commands to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of sudo command
$ – requires given linux commands to be executed as a regular non-privileged user

How to Install the Steam Beta Client

This guide assumes that you already have Steam running on your system. Go ahead and open it up.

Steam Drop Down Menu

Steam Drop Down Menu.

Take a look in the upper left corner of the window, and click on the “Steam” link. A menu will drop down. Click the “Settings” link.

Steam Account Settings

Steam Account Settings.

A new window will pop up. You’ll see a list of tabs on the left side. Click on the account one. Toward the lower half of that account tab, you’ll see a button for beta participation. Click the button to change it.

Enable Steam Beta

Enable Steam Beta.

A new window will open. Use the drop down menu in that window to select “Steam Beta Update,” and press the “Ok” button to confirm. Steam will then ask you to restart to apply the beta update. Restart Steam.

How to Enable Steam Play

Steam Play Settings

Steam Play Settings.

After Steam restarts, follow the same path as before back to your Steam settings. This time, click on the “Steam Play” tab at the bottom of the list.

All of your Steam Play related options are under that tab. At the top, you’ll find the checkbox to enable Steam Play for supported titles. Check it off. You can, if you choose, stop here and enjoy the games officially supported by Steam. If you want to try to get more games to work, continue to the next section.

How to Configure Steam Play and Proton

The advanced Steam Play settings are at the bottom of the tab. These options can potentially open up many more games to play. They also might cause instability and break things.

To start, check both boxes. These enable Steam Play for all Windows games and use it as the primary tool for these games.

Proton is Steam’s modified version of Wine. Like with Wine, newer versions may have features that allow more games to work. They also may include regressions. Generally, though, running a newer version is better. Use the drop down menu to select the latest version of Proton.

How to Play Your Windows Games

Library With Steam Play

Library With Steam Play.

Return to your Steam library. Do you notice anything different? There should be a ton more games. If you followed through the advanced configuration, all of your Windows games are there. Keep in mind, they might not all work properly, but a fair percentage will.

Pick a game and click on it to start installing. Install the game, and wait for it to download.

Now, open the game like you normally would using Steam. With any luck, Proton and Steam Play will allow you to run the game exactly like a native Linux title.


That’s all for now. Steam Play is still very new, and Valve isn’t advertising it just yet. As things progress and mature, you’ll begin to see Steam Play support listed among the supported platforms for every game. In that time, the list of supported games will continue to grow as well.

Proton won’t update automatically. Check your configuration regularly to update to the latest versions of Proton.

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