One of the most common complaints about Linux is that there are apparently not many games available. That 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 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.
Better yet, you can buy the Linux-based Steam Deck and take your games with you wherever you are. With Valve’s influence, Linux gaming might be ready to go mainstream, but the company has been trying to make Linux gaming happen for over a decade.
This is another great 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 available. You can also buy some of the newer titles, including the Witcher series (the studio, CD Projekt, supports the store).
Just like Steam, there are plenty of deals on GOG so you can get your favorite games cheaply. All your downloads are DRM free. Unlike Steam, you can download games as APT packages for Ubuntu directly.
Fans of classic PC games like those from Sierra, Lucasfilm Games, or Apogee will find a lot to love here. Several games are still widely available for Windows, which can be annoying since GOG uses the DOSBox and ScummVM open source projects to package older games.
The great 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 independent games, Itch.io is a good option. The game selection seems quirky compared to the main offerings. The site not only hosts many indie games, but also hosts “game jams” where game developers have little time to create a complete game.
Linux seems friendly to indie games. Desktop Linux and indie games seem to share the same independent spirit compared to major game publishers and proprietary OS vendors.
Lutris is an ambitious project. Its goal is to allow you to keep playing the games you buy throughout your life, no matter what hardware you have. You 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 distribution-neutral way of packaging apps. While developer tools predominate, they also have some games available. The advantage of using this over your package manager is that you can have newer apps than in your distribution’s repositories.
Many of the titles are open source, but there are also some proprietary versions available. The popular MMORPG Runescape has a Linux client based on Flatpak.
Sometimes it feels like Ubuntu needs to be different, and that includes game downloads. Snap is a competing app packaging format. Snapcraft is similar to Flathub but based on Snap. It also has many games available.
As with Flathub, the vast majority of these are open source games. You don’t need to be running Ubuntu to take advantage of it. You can install Snaps on many other distributions like Arch or Fedora.
If you’re a Steam user on Ubuntu, you can grab an early access version from Valve’s PC game store mentioned above. You will get access to features sooner than with the standard version.
Download games using your distribution’s package manager
A good source of open source games is your distribution’s default repositories. 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 a lot of fun playing free Linux games for hours.
Many ways to play Linux games
Who says there are no games available for Linux? There are many Linux game sources, classic and contemporary, mainstream or independent, proprietary or open source.
You may also be wondering if your distro will be up to par with gaming. It’s helpful to choose the right distro when you want to play games, as operating systems developed specifically for gaming ship with the right software.