Valve released an update for Steam on Linux that should allow some of the most popular VR games to run on VR-ready computers without Microsoft Windows installed.
The new feature could hold enormous potential for Valve to support next generation standalone VR headsets based on Linux or SteamOS. In the near-term, the feature could also lower the cost for some early adopters who want to enjoy top tier games like Doom VFR, Google Earth VR and Beat Saber but don’t feel like shelling out the cost for a Windows 10 license alongside their shiny new VR-ready PC. It might also have an effect on VR arcades which could bypass the cost of Microsoft’s operating system.
The new feature is described as follows: “Windows games with no Linux version currently available can now be installed and run directly from the Linux Steam client, complete with native Steamworks and OpenVR support.”
According to a blog post detailing the update, the feature works through an update to an effort announced in 2010 called Steam Play. According to Valve, an open source tool called Wine they’ve been supporting is responsible for much of the effort thus far in bringing Linux support to Steam’s back catalog.
“Proton, the tool that Steam Play uses to provide Windows compatibility, contains a custom version of Wine as well as additional libraries developed alongside it. It’s fully open-source,” the post reads.
If you’re a Linux user and test this out, please let us know in the comments what it is like. The Valve blog post linked above includes instructions for setting this up with the latest beta version of Steam on Linux.