How to Play Windows Games on Linux


Playing Windows games on Linux just got easier thanks to the Linux community, Valve and Proton GE. Most games in your Steam library no longer need to be modified, or very little, to run properly.


But what if you didn’t buy the game through the Steam ecosystem? Then what ? There are other ways to take advantage of the improvements that Linux gamers are experiencing through apps that are getting easier to use every day.

Let’s review the apps and tools you can use to take advantage of Windows games on Linux.


Fundamental apps for playing Windows games on Linux

All Linux-based software and hardware related to gaming (including Steam Deck) relies on a few fundamental applications, namely Wine and Proton.

1. Wine

Wine is a compatibility layer for running Windows applications on Linux, macOS, and BSD operating systems.

If you’re currently unsure which distro is right for you, our guide to the best Linux distros will come in handy. Once you’ve selected the perfect distro, check out our Linux installation guide for more details.

When you’ve landed on the desktop of your favorite Linux operating system, it’s time to install Wine.

To install Wine on Ubuntu or other Debian-based distributions, type:

sudo apt install -y wine64

For Arch Linux and its derivatives:

sudo pacman -S wine

If you are using Fedora, RHEL and CentOS, enter the following commands:

sudo dnf -y install dnf-plugins-core
sudo dnf config-manager --add-repo https:
sudo dnf -y install winehq-stable

2. Protons

Proton is a companion to Wine that also includes a collection of high-performance graphics APIs, well, behind-the-scenes magic. In a nutshell, Proton does a lot of work when converting Windows binaries to Linux-readable formats.

A tool for easily switching between Proton versions is called ProtonUp. You can go to your software center and search for ProtonUp_Qt and press “Install“:

If you prefer the command line, be sure to install pip first:

sudo apt install python3-pip

Clone the Proton Git repository and jump into the directory using:

git clone https:

Once in the directory, type:

python3 setup.py install 

You can then find Proton in: ./home/username/.local/bin/

Use the command to run ProtonUp, replacing [version] with the version of Proton you want to install:

./protonup -t [version]

You should now have Proton installed. However, if you need to install a specific version for your game, use ./protonup –help for more details.

Some of your games may require the Steam library back-end tools. To install Steam, go to your software center or type:

sudo apt install -y steam

…on Linux distributions based on Ubuntu and Debian.

Game managers and containers

For Linux users who want to easily install and play their games, several game managers and container apps are available for free.

1. Lutris

Lutris is a central interface to launch your favorite games. As an open gaming platform for Linux, Lutris is a great tool to have. Check out our guide for help installing and using Lutris.

To link your Steam library to Lutris, you need to make sure your library is set to public. This two-click process can be completed by visiting the Lutris website and choosing My library (under your Profile).

2. Bottles

Bottles is an app that creates containers for your Windows apps and games. You can set up a game environment and install programs (games) in one place. Check out our guide on running Windows apps with bottles.

Install your Windows games on Linux

Checking Game Status Using ProtonDB

ProtonDB is an excellent web database that tracks which games work best on Linux. Plus, you’ll learn from other gamers what adjustments (if any) are needed to make your game run like butter. Find your game on the ProtonDB website for details.

Play Battle.net games on Linux

StarCraft II is a timeless classic that remains excellent in a single-player campaign or when playing against a swarm online. Additionally, StarCraft II requires Battle.net.

You can visit the Battle.net website and download the StarCraft II EXE file and install it via the command line using Wine:

wine StarCraft-Setup.exe

If you prefer to use a GUI, you can install Blizzard’s Battle.net app using Bottles. During installation, remember to select the option to create an application and/or a shortcut on the desktop.

If you have StarCraft II (or your favorite Battle.net game), you’ll see the game load normally.

This game was a good test as Battle.net has encountered many Linux quirks in the past. StarCraft II had a few minor hiccups on a 4th Gen i5, with an NVIDIA 1650 (6GB RAM) and 16GB DDR4 RAM. Overall, frame rates were consistent throughout the early missions.

Play GOG and Epic Games titles on Linux

To install the GOG and Epic Games launchers, open your software center and search for Heroic Games Launcher.

Don’t see these launchers in your software center? You can also find GOG, Epic Games and Origin launchers in bottles!

Although you can download and play Steam games with Lutris, you will notice that Steam will always run in the background:

For a game like Forza Horizon 4, expect to make some tweaks (like limiting the FPS and updating some settings accordingly). For more details, check out what players are saying about Forza on ProtonDB.

Installing Origin games on Linux

Installing games that require Origin Launcher, such as Need For Speed ​​(NFS) Heat, is also fairly straightforward. With your Steam library synced to Lutris, simply search for NFS and install.

You don’t need to install the Origin launcher. Lutris and Steam will work together to take care of this for you (when the game launches).

Lutris is also great for playing older games, adding emulation, or installing a Windows game from physical media (if your game machine still has an optical drive). This will save you from installing emulators that are full operating systems.

Alternative options are always great. Still, for the majority of gamers, a few launchers and a Steam library are enough.

Improve your gaming experience on Linux

Now that you have a few options for installing your favorite Windows games on Linux, is that enough to ditch Windows in favor of everyday Linux use? Are you going to stick with a Windows/Linux dual-boot system on your gaming machine instead?

Wine, Proton, Bottles, Lutris, and Steam are a great family of apps to meet your Linux gaming needs. It’s an exciting time to live as a Linux gamer. It’s pretty crazy to see that Linux now does a better job of handling Windows games on Linux.

For those who don’t want to get into nerve-wracking setups and just want a quick and easy-to-install game, consider downloading games with native Linux support.

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