With the new Steam Snap, you can level up your Linux games.
At Canonical, we’ve been waiting for “the Year of Linux Gaming” for about as long as we’ve been waiting for Half-Life 3, but 2022 is the first time it’s seemed so close.
Open source emulation layers like Wine and Proton have made it possible for thousands of Windows games to run on Linux, and every day brings more games that can be played on Linux. Anti-cheat services like BattlEye and Easy gaming pc bundle main ones are also adding support for multiplayer games. And development tools like Unity and Unreal are bringing their best editors to Linux, with Ubuntu as a target platform.
Now that Jammy Jellyfish is out in the wild, the Ubuntu Desktop team is planning for the future. Improving the gaming experience is pc gaming bundle of our goals (and hiring plan! ), so we’re getting to work on that.
But we also wanted to get something to you right away. We’ve been working on an important improvement to Linux gamers’ quality of life, and today… We’re happy to tell you that the Steam snap is now available in early access!
By far, Steam is the most common way for PC gamers to buy and play games. In 2021, there were 120 million people who used Steam every month, according to reports. The Steam hardware survey says that Linux gamers make up about 1% of that number, which is a small but growing share. About 20% of that share is made up of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS and Ubuntu 21.10.
Based on this, we can assume that close to a quarter of a million gamers use Ubuntu to play games, and that number goes up a lot when you include Ubuntu-based distros.
Even if they use Ubuntu for development, serious gamers still use Windows for gaming. They can do this by dual-booting, using an extra Windows PC, or using Ubuntu WSL to make sure they have access to the most games and the most up-to-date tools and drivers. By making the gaming experience better, especially the Steam experience, we can make sure that gamers can use Ubuntu as their daily driver.
How Snap improves the experience right out of the box
Snaps give Steam users three main benefits that are important.
First, they group dependencies together. This means that gamers don’t have to look through out-of-date documentation or add PPAs for Mesa drivers or 32-bit libraries to get their games to work. It also means that the Steam snap will run without any trouble on any distribution that supports snapd.
Second, it’s easy to change them. You’ll get the most recent version of Steam, which comes with the most recent version of Proton and any other dependencies that come with it. And this is happening on its own without any trouble.
Last, snaps are put in a sandbox. This means that the games you are playing can’t get into the rest of your system. This keeps you safe and secure.
Give us your thoughts!
The Steam Snap is in early access, which means that we want feedback and testing on how it works “in the wild” to make sure that it really does make setting up your games easier. We’d love to see benchmarks of performance and bug reports, as well as suggestions for other ways to make your Steam experience better.
We also keep reading your comments and ideas about how to make gaming on Ubuntu better in general. Over the next few months, we’ll be looking at ways to improve how we choose drivers and kernels, as well as ways to help projects like Proton and Wine. There are also many other interesting talks going on that we can’t wait to tell you about.
Lastly, the Ubuntu Desktop team is looking for Linux developers and product managers who love games and know a lot about how the gaming tech stack works on Linux.
More to Read
Our last blog post has a guide to games that will work with Proton.
Find out how to use your Raspberry Pi to host a Minecraft server on Ubuntu.
Tell us what you think about the Steam snap in discourse.
Join the talk in the Ubuntu Desktop talk channel.
Install Ubuntu 22.04 LTS today, of course.