One of the most common complaints about Linux is that there are apparently not many games available. This assumption is wrong. There are many places where you can download Linux games, both free and paid.
If you want to relax after a long day of coding or system administration, check out these sites:
Steam is the largest PC game store, and it’s naturally the first place you should look. Not only are there many native Linux games, but the Proton library also allows you to run many Windows games on Linux. However, you will need to install the Steam client before downloading games on Linux.
Even better, you can buy the Linux-based Steam Deck and take your games on the go. With Valve’s influence, Linux games might be on the verge of mainstream, but the company has been trying to make Linux games happen for over a decade.
This is another major place to find Linux games. If you grew up playing MS-DOS games and want to relive your youth, GOG has plenty of classic titles. You can also buy some of the latest titles, including the Witcher series (the studio, CD Projekt, backs the store).
Like Steam, there are plenty of sales on GOG so you can pick up your favorite games for cheap. All of their downloads are DRM-free. Unlike Steam, you can directly download games as APT packages for Ubuntu.
Fans of classic PC games like those from Sierra, Lucasfilm Games, or Apogee will find plenty to like here. Several games are still widely available only for Windows, which can be annoying since GOG uses the DOSBox and ScummVM open source projects to package older games.
The good thing about GOG is that their games are often on sale, so not only can you enjoy some new and classic Linux games, but you can also save a lot of money on them.
If you like indie games, Itch.io is a good choice. The selection of games seems original compared to mainstream offerings. Not only does the site host many indie games, but it also hosts “game jams” where game developers have limited time to create a complete game.
Linux seems friendly with indie games. Desktop Linux and indie games seem to share the same indie philosophy compared to major game publishers and proprietary operating system vendors.
Lutris is an ambitious project. It aims to allow you to continue playing the games you buy throughout your life, regardless of the hardware you have. It can download emulators and other libraries for games from GOG, the Epic Games store, Steam, and Humble Bundle, among others.
Flathub is a website that offers Flatpaks, a distro-agnostic way to package apps. Although development tools predominate, some games are also available. The advantage of using it over your package manager is that you can have newer apps than in your distro’s repositories.
Many titles are open source, but some proprietary versions are also available. The popular MMORPG Runescape has a Flatpak-based Linux client.
Sometimes it feels like Ubuntu needs to be different, and that includes game downloads. Snap is a competing application packaging format. Snapcraft is similar to Flathub but is based on Snap. It also has a lot of games available.
As with Flathub, the vast majority of them are open source games. You don’t need to be running Ubuntu to enjoy it. You can install Snaps on many other distributions like Arch or Fedora.
If you’re a Steam user on Ubuntu, you can get an early access build from Valve’s PC game store mentioned above. You will get access to features sooner than with the standard version.
Download games using your distro’s package manager
Your distro’s default repositories are a good source for open source games. It’s not as flashy as Steam or GOG, but you can find some gems if you’re willing to browse and experiment. You can have fun playing free games on Linux for hours.
Many Ways to Play Linux Games
Who said there were no games available for Linux? There are many sources of games on Linux, classic and contemporary, major or indie, proprietary or open source.
You might also wonder if your cast will be up to the task for games. It helps to choose the right distribution when you want to play games, because operating systems specially developed for games come with the right software.