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What is Proton?
Proton is a new tool released by Valve Software that has been integrated with Steam Play to make playing Windows games on Linux as simple as hitting the Play button within Steam. Underneath the hood, Proton comprises other popular tools like Wine and DXVK among others that a gamer would otherwise have to install and maintain themselves. This greatly eases the burden for users to switch to Linux without having to learn the underlying systems or losing access to a large part of their library of games. Proton is still in its infancy so support is inconsistent, but regularly improving.
What is ProtonDB?
The goal of ProtonDB is to gather reports from other gamers as they test games with Proton on Linux and provide aggregate scores of how well games perform. A growing pool of suggestions provides tweaks that you can try to get games working while Proton continues development. In addition to this, you may explore the Steam game catalog on this site to browse and discover a wide range of titles that were previously unavailable for use on Linux.
Steam Play now officially supports a limited but growing set of 'whitelisted' games that are deemed Proton-compatible and play on Linux. Based on ProtonDB reports, a significant number of non-whitelisted games, including many popular titles, play just as well as on Windows.
Why is this a big deal?
The Linux desktop experience has improved by leaps and bounds in the last year or two. Most of what you may be used to on Windows or MacOS is possible on Linux without having to tinker too much, and the tinkering can even be fun. Meanwhile, more and more of our daily interactions with a computer happen online, and browsers behave much the same on Linux as they do on other operating systems. Proton and Steam Play address a significant obstacle to adoption: gaming, where until recently there was limited compatibility.
Cool! How do I help?
Give Linux a try! If you are new, not to worry. Here is a list of guides to get started. And if you want to help Valve and Proton to improve, contribute your reports here on ProtonDB!
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