Gaming in elementary OS


  1. Introduction
  2. Basic prerequisites (Graphics Drivers/System Update/Java)
  3. Gaming Resources
    1. Ubuntu Software Center
    2. Steam
    3. Humble Bundles
    4. Playing windows games
    5. Play on Linux


Linux is not renowned to be the best platform for hardcore gaming but that is rapidly changing.  Here at elementarynow we would like to show you how you can achieve a decent gaming experience. Alot about the gaming experience in elementary OS is down to your graphics driver and your hardware capability but dont worry we cover that here too.

Unlike Windows and OSX, there are only some games you can play with an average graphics card so you might need to walk before you run before you can play your favorite legacy games in elementary OS. The purpose of this tutorial is to cover the basics of elementary OS gaming.


Graphics Drivers (Required)

Understanding the capabilities and limitations Graphic drivers are a must, especially if you plan to game on elementary OS.

When you first install elementary OS you will be using the default open source graphics drivers however it is possible to install proprietary drivers that could maximise the capabilities of your graphics card and enchance you gaming experience. Open source drivers are developed by the Linux community and older cards are perceived to better supported however providing soprt for newer cards has really improved in the past few years. Open sources are developed and distributed at no cost. The disadvantages are that some open source drivers sometimes do not provide full support for all of the video card’s features. The card in that case performs better by using the proprietary drivers.

For more information on your graphics card we strongly recommend you read and follow the instructions in the elementarynow Graphics Driver tutorial

Recommended reading: Proprietary

System Update  (Required)

Open the Terminal [CTRL]-[ALT]-[T] and paste the follow line(s) then press enter

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade

Java 8 (Recommend for certain games and web contents)

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/java
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install oracle-java8-installer

Gaming Resources:

Ubuntu Software Center

NETFLIX1Ubuntu Software Center (USC) has quite a few number of free and paid games, including many classic linux gaming titles. While the gaming sections aren’t as rich as those of Steam (see below), neither it contains the new titles like left 4 dead or Metro: Last Light, it is probably the easiest mean of getting some gaming started in elementary OS. Go ahead and search in the games section.


NETFLIX1Steam is a cross platform gaming platform with over 2000+ titles available. But that’s not what makes Steam so special. So what does? Steam offers it’s users automated download-install-update, in-game audio, chat and browsing, a freakin huge community and many more attractive features. Users are also enabled to craft game content via the Steamworks API. The latest addition to its arsenal includes, a gaming dedicated Linux based operating system – Steam OS and in home streaming.

To install “Steam” open the Terminal [CTRL]-[ALT]-[T] and paste the following then hit enter
sudo apt-get install steam -y

Humble Bundles

NETFLIX1Humble Bundles are collections of games released in a series. These games are multi-platform –  available on Windows, OS X, GNU/Linux distributions and Android. These are also unlockable on Steam. You can pay what you want for these games, while supporting chosen charity organizations (American Red Cross, Child’s Play Charity, Electronic Frontier Foundation, World Land Trust, charity:water). Visit the humble bundles website by clicking here.

Playing windows games

While we are not going in details in this matter, there are many excellent guides out there. If you want to dig more in this matter, head to one of the following websites.

External resources 1 – External resources 2 –

Play on linux

PlayOnLinux is a piece of software which allows you to easily install and use numerous games and apps designed to run with Microsoft Windows. Few Microsoft games are compatible with GNU/Linux at the moment and it certainly is a factor preventing the migration to this system. PlayOnLinux brings a cost-free, accessible and efficient solution to this problem. It uses bash and python and the software is based on wine.

To install “Play on Linux” open the Terminal [CTRL]-[ALT]-[T] and paste the following then hit enter
wget -q "" -O- | sudo apt-key add -
sudo wget -O /etc/apt/sources.list.d/playonlinux.list
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install playonlinux


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