Linux gaming has seen a resurgence recently, mostly thanks to Valve’s Steam Deck as well as Valve's amazing Proton translation layer making Windows games possible on the open-source OS. Interestingly, recent studies have shown that games actually run faster on Linux than on Windows now, thanks to multiple Proton options.
Anyone familiar with Steam or the Deck knows that Proton is there to help games run when the default option is struggling. While it’s still easier to get Windows games to run, the existence of various Proton options has led to these titles running faster on Linux, as revealed by a video from cosmic_happiness.
Though the user did expect a faster performance on Linux, they were surprised when the OS turned out to be 17% faster than games running natively on Windows. Admittedly, we don’t think this will cause a mass desertion of Windows, but it’s good to know that this desktop is a viable option for PC gaming.
Of course, anyone familiar with either Linux or Windows knows that the latter has much more options than the former. In fact, Linux is probably faster here because there are fewer apps to clutter its performance since it’s mostly for gaming. Compare that to Windows, which is still used for work and other activities, and the difference in speed does make sense.
Valve’s Steam Deck has definitely played a part in the rise of Linux, as the handheld is the first gaming PC for many. Users of the handheld were forced to get used to this setup and it has paid in dividends, at least for Valve. This isn’t even bringing up the Custom Protons available, which has helped many a gamer ignore the dreaded ‘Unsupported’ label for many games.
A number of handheld computers have since emerged to compete with the Steam Deck and Linux, most of which have Windows as their default desktop. However, it seems that Valve has won this round with the Deck, as rivals like the ASUS ROG Ally haven’t made a similar impact.