May 21, 2024

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Comment: Steam Deck and Linux games have a problem because ProtonDB is not good – clarification

Comment: Steam Deck and Linux games have a problem because ProtonDB is not good – clarification

Steam Deck was an important step in bringing Linux gaming closer to the mainstream. But even before that, ProtonDB has been helping Linux gamers figure out which games will run on their open source operating system and which won't. Although ProtonDB is an essential resource for games on Linux, the crowd-produced compatibility reports and classification structure are flawed. For example, some games listed as playable are not always playable in practice.

ProtonDB allows users to report in great detail about their experiences playing games on Linux, including any troubleshooting steps they had to take to get the game running. Games receive a compatibility rating based on the medal system developed by ProtonDB as follows to explain Become:

  • Platinum (working perfectly from the factory)
  • Gold (works perfectly after improvements)
  • Silver (works with minor issues, but generally playable)
  • Bronze (works, but crashes frequently or has issues that prevent comfortable play)
  • “Borked” (the game does not start or cannot be played)

The problem with this medal system, introduced in 2018 to eliminate confusion and improve accuracy, is that it doesn't give users enough information at a single glance. In many cases, a game can receive a “Bronze” medal, meaning it is playable but not fully usable in real life.

One example of this is Paladins, which used to work on Linux but lost compatibility about a year ago when developer Hi Rez Studios changed something in the Easy Anti-Cheat configuration that caused Paladins multiplayer to stop working on Linux. Paladins is a MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) game, which means that the game relies entirely on multiplayer functionality. It looks similar with Sniper Elite V2 Out of place. The game has a Bronze rating on ProtonDB, but there are user reports over a year old that you can't even open the game, let alone play it, because some features are missing.

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The beauty of Steam's Proton compatibility layer is that it takes away a lot of the hassle of gaming on Linux and often eliminates the need to fiddle with WINE configurations and other technical aspects of gaming on Linux. While ProtonDB user reports can be useful for knowing what you need to do to play a game, the way games are rated and medals are awarded should be reconsidered as they do not currently provide a reliable representation of a game's playability and force users to read user reviews to get an idea Minutes about what to expect.

To be fair to the creator of ProtonDB, there is Back Devour I admit it's a hobby project. It is under no obligation to further develop ProtonDB or correct discrepancies in the reporting system. Valve has implemented a feature for its Steam client that displays a game's Steam Deck compatibility – and therefore Linux compatibility – directly on the game's store page. However, almost a year after release, this feature is still hidden in the beta options and must be activated manually.