Cloud Gaming and Linux

Last updated on May 11, 2021

Posted on Mar 25, 2020

Today, there is a multitude of operating systems to choose from when setting up your computer. We have Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and many other smaller, less known operating systems.

If you are an avid techy, and you like messing around with your operating system, you may have dug your hands into the world of Linux, and if you are like me, you may have even switched to using Linux on your main PC.

But, there is one big downside to using Linux versus other popular operating systems like Windows. That downside is... Gaming.

Although Linux gaming has gotten better in the past few years, it is still leagues behind Windows in terms of compatibility and performance.

Why Linux is not the greatest for gaming

It comes down to the usage of each operating system. For years, Windows has been at the top of most used operating systems in the world, and a standard on most laptops other than Apple products.

Because of this, many game developers have turned to create games for Windows, as it was and still is the most widely used operating system, and had the best hardware compatibility when it came to graphics cards and other hardware.

Until recently, Linux lacked the necessary support for most hardware, or you needed to use an alternative driver to use the hardware. This did not work the greatest.

There is, however, emulation such as Wine that will allow you to run Windows programs on a Linux PC, but it is very hit and miss when it comes to performance.

Recent changes to Linux gaming

The idea of gaming on Linux has been around since the 1990s, however, it was not until fairly recently that Linux gaming started to become more mainstream.

One of the main reasons for this is the port of Valve's Source Engine to Linux in 2012. The same year, Unity also ported over their Unity Engine to Linux. This opened up more opportunities for game developers to create and port their games over to Linux.

Then, in 2013, Valve released its Linux based operating system, SteamOS. SteamOS is an operating system designed around the Steam Client to give you an easier experience for gaming.

In 2014, both Unreal Engine 4 and CryEngine received Linux support.

And lastly, and probably one of the biggest advancements to Linux gaming is the release of Proton in 2018. Proton is a fork of Wine created by Valve allowing for more improvements for gaming on Linux including Direct X 12, Vulkan support, and Steam integration.

So Linux is good for gaming?

Yes and no, with the recent advancements for better compatibility and emulation, Linux is becoming a better platform for gaming, however, it still has its issues.

Not all games will work on Linux, and a good chunk of games may experience performance loss when used on Linux instead of Windows.

Then what can I do if I like using Linux?

Well, I am glad you asked! The easy answer is... Cloud Gaming!

Cloud Gaming allows you to play your games streamed to you live over the internet. Platforms like Shadow and Google Stadia allow you to play games on your Linux.

Shadow gives you access to a fully functional Windows PC, allowing you to do more than just game. This way, if you need access to Adobe products or any other product that may not have Linux compatibility, you can just install it on your Shadow.

Google Stadia allows you to play your games through your Chrome browser, giving you an easy and quick way to play the games you love straight from your browser.

Final Thoughts

I have always been a fan of Linux, and if I were to be able too, I would use it for everything, including gaming. But, I have to face the reality that Linux is still behind in the gaming world.

However, Cloud Gaming has allowed me to install Linux on my devices without worry, as I can just play my games through Shadow whenever I want!

I hope Linux can reach the same level as Windows when it comes to PC gaming, but I feel that it may be still quite a few years away.

Do you use Linux? What distro do you use, and how do you game on your Linux device?

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