Steam on Ubuntu
Steam on Ubuntu

In the contemporary gaming ecosystem, Ubuntu stands out as a versatile and robust platform, challenging the dominance of Windows in PC gaming. This open-source operating system, under the larger umbrella of Linux distributions, brings a range of benefits including security, performance, and flexibility, making it an attractive alternative for users – but what about gamers?

Ubuntu and Linux in general has never been a mainstream contender to the status quo of Windows PC gaming. Will that ever change? It doesn’t seem like it…yet. Lack of software and hardware support, drivers, and a small adoption rate has kept Linux in the fringes. This guide will navigate you through the intricate world of PC gaming on Ubuntu, offering insights, tips, and methods to optimize your experience.

Ubuntu: A Viable Platform for Gaming?

Ubuntu has significantly evolved to become a competent platform for gaming, supporting a small subset of games and gaming technologies. Understand the potential and capabilities of Ubuntu in providing a seamless and enriched gaming experience.

Ubuntu is, and will always be, a free OS, making it an economical choice for building new PCs. The extensive software catalog and popularity of Ubuntu, coupled with its status as the only distro with official support from Valve for Steam, make it an attractive option for gamers.

The gaming landscape has evolved dramatically, with Linux emerging as a competitive platform due to the integration of platforms like Steam. Steam offers a myriad of games and enables Linux users to dive into the immersive world of gaming. This article provides a comprehensive guide to installing Steam on Debian or Ubuntu-based Linux distributions.

The presumption that Linux would never suffice as a gaming platform was dramatically changed with the arrival of Steam, bringing a fresh perspective to open-source operating systems in the gaming realm. Steam acts as a gateway for users to explore, download, and indulge in a wide range of games on their Linux systems.

Why Choose Ubuntu Linux for Gaming?

Opting for Ubuntu for gaming provides a unique yet comparable experience to Windows-based gaming. Several factors justify a shift from Windows to Ubuntu, the paramount one being security; Linux outperforms Windows in terms of security, keeping hackers and viruses at bay. The consistent and regular release schedule of Ubuntu—with a new version every 6 months and long-term support (LTS) versions receiving updates for 5 years—ensures that users have access to the latest features and improvements.

Ubuntu holds the capability to perform all tasks that a Windows PC can execute, with almost all Windows applications having a Linux equivalent or an identical functioning counterpart. These include office applications, graphics programs, email clients, music and media players, web browsers, and of course, games.

Setting up Ubuntu for Gaming: Getting Started

When gaming on Ubuntu, it is crucial to have a minimum of 4 GB of RAM and a 64-bit OS to leverage additional RAM. Both Nvidia and ATI/AMD graphic cards are supported on Ubuntu, leaving the choice to personal brand preference. Sound drivers and CPU support are well-rounded, catering to diverse configurations, making Ubuntu a versatile choice irrespective of whether you have an Intel CPU and ATI graphics or vice versa.

Unmatched Hardware Compatibility

Ubuntu excels in hardware support as far as Linux based operating systems go, but it’s still miles apart from what you’ll get with Windows. Ubuntu can seamlessly recognize and configure a variety of components during installation – especially hardware that is known to be compatible with it. Whether it’s sound systems, network modules, card readers, printers, or graphics, Ubuntu optimally configures them with minimal user input. Particularly for those unhappy with an older version of Windows like 7 or 8, switching to Ubuntu can prove to be a fruitful decision.

At the same time, since everything is designed for Windows you can still run into hiccups and manufacturers seem to largely ignore patches and updates for Linux sometimes. If you’re going to setup a gaming rig specifically for Ubuntu, make sure everything you buy has been tested and works well with it. Don’t roll the dice on any hardware because one mistake could sink the entire project.

Optimizing Ubuntu for Enhanced Gaming Performance

To extract the maximum performance from Ubuntu, optimization is key. Learn about the advanced settings, tweaks, and tools that can elevate your gaming experience to new heights.

Exploring Gaming Options: Native, Emulated, and Streamed Games

Ubuntu offers a diverse array of gaming options. Whether it’s native Linux games, emulated Windows games, or cloud-streamed games, explore the different pathways to enjoy your favorite titles.

Installing Steam & WINE on Ubuntu: Gateway to Thousands of Games

Steam remains a primary hub for PC gaming, and installing it on Ubuntu opens doors to thousands of games. Installation can be effortlessly done through the Ubuntu Software Center or by downloading the .deb installer file from However, not every Steam game runs natively on Ubuntu, but the growing list and dedicated section for Linux games on Steam compensate for this limitation.

WINE, available through the USC, serves as a compatibility layer, enabling the execution of Windows .exe within Ubuntu. PlayOnLinux, a graphical front-end for WINE, simplifies the installation of Windows-based applications and games on Linux and also functions as a game launcher, maintaining organization and ease of access.

How To Install Steam on Linux

Pre-Install Requirements

Make sure that you have a running Debian or Ubuntu-based Linux distribution and a user account with sudo privileges. You’ll need a Steam account as well.

Installation Process

1. Launch a Terminal Window: Log in to your Linux desktop and open a terminal window.

2. Add the Multiverse Repository: Add the Multiverse repository (for your paid software titles) by running the command:

sudo add-apt-repository multiverse

Enter your sudo password and press Enter when prompted.

3. Updating Advanced Packaging Tool (Apt): With the repository added, update the apt by running:

sudo apt-get update -y.

4. Installing Steam: Once apt is updated, install Steam by entering:

sudo apt-get install steam -y.

5. Running Steam Application: After installation, launch Steam from your desktop menu. Steam will update the first time you try to run it. After that finishes it will ask you to sign into your account or create a new one.

Additional Gaming Insights

Apart from Steam, the gaming cosmos is filled with different consoles like PS5, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch, each offering unique gaming experiences. Also, exploring different Linux distributions can be a fun way to discover the ideal desktop operating system for gaming aficionados.

Final Thoughts

The advent of Steam on Linux symbolizes the renaissance of gaming on open-source platforms, offering unparalleled gaming experiences and a broad spectrum of games. By following this simple and user-friendly guide, one can effortlessly install Steam on Debian or Ubuntu-based Linux systems and delve into the gaming universe.

Troubleshooting Common Issues: When the Game Doesn’t Play Nice

Encountering issues is inevitable, but resolving them is crucial. Dive into solutions and fixes for common problems faced by gamers on Ubuntu, ensuring a smooth and uninterrupted gaming experience.

Enhancing Gaming Experience with Ubuntu Accessories and Tools

Ubuntu offers a plethora of accessories and tools to enhance your gaming experience. From game controllers to graphics tweaking tools, learn how to leverage them to your advantage.

Conclusion: The Future of Gaming on Ubuntu

Ubuntu, with its advancements and community support, is carving a niche in the gaming world. As more developers and gamers embrace this platform, the future of PC gaming on Ubuntu looks promising, marked by innovation and diversity.

The transformational journey of Ubuntu since its inception highlights its potential and capabilities as a gaming platform. It offers a blend of simplicity, gaming capabilities, and stands as a unique alternative to Windows. For those seeking a distinctive gaming experience or discontented with newer Windows versions, exploring Ubuntu is worthwhile.

Steam support has completely changed the gaming scenario on Linux, bringing a lot of new options to Linux users. Steam opens up a rich, diverse world of gaming on Linux, allowing users to experience the excitement and thrill of various games on an open-source operating system.

FAQs about PC Gaming on Ubuntu

  • Can Ubuntu run high-end games smoothly? Yes, with proper optimization and the right hardware, Ubuntu is capable of running high-end games without any hitches.
  • Is it complicated to set up games on Ubuntu? While it might seem daunting initially, following systematic guidelines and utilizing the right tools can make the setup process straightforward and hassle-free.
  • How does gaming performance on Ubuntu compare to Windows? While Windows has broader game support, optimized Ubuntu systems can offer comparable, if not superior, performance in supported games.
  • Can all Windows games be emulated on Ubuntu? While many Windows games can be emulated using tools like Wine, not every game is guaranteed to run flawlessly due to compatibility issues.
  • Is gaming on Ubuntu secure? Ubuntu’s robust security features make it a secure platform for gaming, minimizing the risks of malware and other security threats.
  • Do game developers consider Ubuntu a viable platform? With the growing popularity and advancements in Linux distributions like Ubuntu, more game developers are recognizing and adapting to Ubuntu as a viable gaming platform.
Eric Chan

Hi! I’m Eric and I work on the knowledge base at  You can see some of my writings about technology, cellphone repair, and computer repair here.

When I’m not writing about tech I’m playing with my dog or hanging out with my girlfriend.

Shoot me a message at if you want to see a topic discussed or have a correction on something I’ve written.

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