It determines the success or failure of the ‘Steam Deck’… Understanding of Linux SW ‘Valve Proton’

The $399 portable gaming console just unveiledSteam Deck‘ should be a winner when compared to competing products just by looking at the specifications.
ⓒ VALVE

In fact, it used an AMD chip based on the same hardware found in the Xbox Series S/X and PlayStation 5, as well as a 7-inch large screen, various controls, which are the main specifications of the Nintendo Switch, and can be used as a full Linux PC. Additional features are supported.

However, the advantages of such hardware should not be overestimated. It’s clear that Steam decks are impressive, but in the end, the software will be the deciding factor. That means we should pay more attention to Valve’s cool Proton technology.

Steam decks support a wider variety of gaming software than most handheld consoles. Instead of waiting for games developed for new hardware, you can enjoy existing PC games that have been distributed for decades through the Steam platform.

However, most of these games are for Windows, so the Steam deck runs on Valve’s Linux-based “SteamOS” operating system. Proton is software that allows you to run Windows games through Steam Play on this SteamOS. Most of it works fine, but it’s not perfect yet. Ultimately, the success of Steam decks will depend on how well they improve their Protons ahead of their December launch.

Let’s take a look at the proton, the ‘core source’ that determines the success or failure of a Steam deck.

What is Steam Proton?

Proton is a compatibility layer that allows Windows games to run on Linux-based operating systems, such as SteamOS on Steam Decks.

In the past, to run PC games on Linux, you had to load Steam games through WINE (Wine is not an emulator) software. Valve worked with the developers of CodeWeavers to refine the wine to develop the Proton and add it to Steam as part of Steam Play. It also fits well with the operating philosophy of the Steam platform: you buy a game once and you can enjoy it on all platforms.

The Proton is a new product developed by Valve overcoming the failure of the Steam Machine, which was a console for the living room. One reason for the failure was its reliance on a small Linux game library.

In an interview with IGN, Steam designer Scott Dulton said, “We had to solve the question of whether the steam machine came first, the chicken or the egg. This is because in order to easily run various games on Linux, we had to build a Linux-based PC first. “It was because there was a sufficient library of games to have a base PC. The reason was that there weren’t enough games to attract users’ attention. Now we’re starting to develop Proton, a way to run all games well.”

Protons need to be enabled by default in your Steam deck. @VALVE

Setting up Steam Proton

Currently, Steam for Linux is not set to have Proton enabled by default. It can be manually activated or used only in games that support the native Linux version, but not many games support the native Linux version. So Valve should enable Proton/Steam Play by default in your Steam deck. Otherwise, many users will be dissatisfied.

If you’re running Linux, you can enable Proton by opening your Steam settings and clicking the ‘Steam Play’ option at the bottom of the navigation pane (this option doesn’t appear on Windows PCs). From there, select ‘Enable Steam Play for Supported titles’. This will ensure compatibility with this technology and will only activate Proton for games that are whitelisted by Valve.

You can also select ‘Enable Steam Play for all other titles’ in the advanced options. Restarting the client activates the proton for all games.

Will the game I buy work with my Steam deck?

If so, can you enjoy all games with Proton? It’s a hard question.
None of the games that support Steam decks enjoy great popularity in multiplayer games. @VALVE

Valve has continued to evolve the Proton since its launch in 2018. Most Windows games work with Steam play without any problems. But the surest way to check whether the game will run or not is ProtonDBall. It is a community-based information database that has verified whether or not 19,000 games have been played.

According to the report, about 15,000 games currently run on Linux. This site is also useful for proton-enabled games. Troubleshooting FAQis operating If you’re using Proton and Steam Play, it’s a good idea to share your experiences.

However, some games still do not run on Linux. To borrow the expression of Proton DB, it is a ‘borked’ game. Typical games are (unfortunately the most popular) battle royale games and esports games. The proton compatibility layer doesn’t play well with the anti-cheat software used in popular online games.

Valve did support Linux in its games Counter Strike: Global Offensive and Team Fortress 2, but it did support Linux in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Rainbow Six Siege. , Apex Legends, Destiny 2, and other hugely popular games are still not available on Linux.

Proton compatibility of most popular games as of July 16th @ PROTONDB

Actually, this is the most disappointing part. As you can see from the ProtonDB data on game compatibility, many of the world’s most popular games don’t currently run on Steam decks.

In fact, if you look at the ProtonDB website, the percentage of ‘not running’ games marked in red among the top 10 games is significantly higher than that of the top 100 or 1,000 games. It’s disappointing considering that such a multiplayer game is occupying the most-used game ranking charts.

Fortunately, Valve seems to understand how serious the situation is. Valve for developers Steam Deck FAQHe explained that he is working with BattleEye and EAC to get Proton support before Steam deck release.

If BattleEye and EAC support Proton, then Steam decks can launch without the biggest obstacles to success. Linux gamers around the world will appreciate it, too. If it fails, however, the Steam deck is ‘relegated’ to a device intended for single-player and indie games. Or it could stay as a Windows hacking device (not a bad ‘niche’, of course, but it’s unlikely to get the world’s attention).

After all, no matter how good hardware and attractive prices are, if PC gamers can’t play the games they want on this Valve’s new handheld console. The success or failure of a Steam deck aimed at consumers will depend on how well it supports Protons, especially if Steam Play can get the anti-cheat technology vendors to support Protons. [email protected]


Source: ITWorld Korea by www.itworld.co.kr.

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