Ok, I was kind of surprised that this hadn't been asked here before, but maybe it's too technical for this site. You guys decide.

I've heard lots of different stories about setting up Wine on Ubuntu, WineTricks, PlayOnLinux etc., but never a 'This is the best way to do it for Steam and Steam games' thread.

So has anyone had any real success getting their Steam games to run on Ubuntu through Wine or something similar? If so, could we get some specific steps?

  • 2
    The question of "How can I successfully run Steam games on Ubuntu through WINE or similar?" is valid here, no worries. Not to scare you off, but I also suggest you take a gander at the AskUbuntu site, not to ask this question but just to check out this question on running Steam on Ubuntu.
    – Grace Note
    Feb 17, 2011 at 13:42
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    I have steam currently running fine through regular wine in ubuntu 10.10. I remember that I had some issues with a missing font, but I copied it from my windows box and everything works like a charm now. Feb 18, 2011 at 3:08
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    Is running Windows in a virtual machine not a reasonable solution? Feb 18, 2011 at 18:44
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    I would recommend using a VM of Windows inside of Linux as opposed to using Wine. My dual booted PC runs CS: Source at over 300 FPS in Windows but I only get 10-30 FPS in Ubuntu while using Wine. I think the best option is of coarse to dual-boot and run the applications natively for best performance.
    – Jesse Webb
    Feb 18, 2011 at 20:44
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    @Gweebz Can I run anything inside a VM in ubuntu? like if I had that 1 last holdout app that was keeping on windows(adobe cs5), but i really wanted to switch to kubuntu, could I run any windows app in the VM? Feb 21, 2011 at 19:14

7 Answers 7


There is no best way to do it, as such. Both Steam and Wine are ever-changing, and today's best method might break tomorrow*.

  1. People have reported that Steam works with just standard Wine.

    • Install Wine Install Wine from the Software Center (or click the shopping bag icon).

    • Right click the installer executable, go to Properties → Permissions and check Allow executing file as program, then right click it again and select Open with Wine Windows program loader.

  2. If it turns out that doesn't work for you, you can try using PlayOnLinux.

    Marco has detailed the instructions on how to get it working behind the link.

  3. If it still doesn't work, you can give Crossover Games a go. Though it is number three on this list on purpose.

In general, it seems that Steam will work okay. You should try to run it using out-of-the-box Wine first. If you run into any trouble, feel free to ask a question under the wine tag at Ask Ubuntu.

Also see this site for Steam games that work with Wine (and, by extension, PlayOnLinux).

* Note: If you get it to work, updates to Wine will most probably never break it. But it may well be the Steam people are fighting off Wine compatibility. It may also be they are actively trying to make their program run well under Wine (games publishers have been known to do that).

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    Just popping in to say that this is some of the coolest formatting I've seen on this site. Cheers!
    – Mana
    Feb 17, 2011 at 14:20
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    I doubt that Valve would actively try to combat Wine, they are actually in the (lengthy) process of porting both Steam and Source to Linux.
    – user56
    Feb 17, 2011 at 16:00
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    I can add that I've not only got Steam running under linux, but also the first Half-Life runs great too (I haven't tested many other games yet)!
    – Poindexter
    Feb 17, 2011 at 17:15
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    They are not porting to Linux. They have officially denied these rumors that were created just because some dev posted a Linux Steam screenshot. They ported to Mac because a lot of games actually support Mac. Almost no games (with the exception of few independent titles) support Linux. Feb 17, 2011 at 21:58
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    @Let_Me_Be Wrong. Postal III is going to be based on Source, and it's going to be available for Linux. 1 + 1 = 2. Additionally, there are some people busy porting the Steam client themselves.
    – user56
    Feb 17, 2011 at 22:28

In addition to Wine, WineTricks helps really much. It installs all the required drivers, libraries and frameworks into Wine.

Steam Games on Linux website contains Wine configuration and things you need to install (including WineTricks for some games) to play different Steam games.

I successfully played Alien Swarm and Half-Life 2 Deathmatch, though they don't seem to need any special configuration.


As of 15 Feb 2013, Steam is officially available on Linux!

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    But only for games ported to Linux, note. Running Windows-based Steam games will still have to go through Wine or similar. Feb 16, 2013 at 18:46

Here's what the Valve Developer Community has to say on the subject.

One "easy" method of installing Steam is with Play On Linux. First download the latest version of PoL and install it. Then run it by typing: "playonlinux" in the console and click on "installer", select "jeu" or "game" and next, select steam, next, say yes for all next steps, and here it is, Steam is installed! Enjoy.

[For Wine, you] have to set up a working Wine installation first. [Then,] Download the installer, open a terminal and change to the download directory. Run wine start SteamInstall.msi and follow the instructions. After that Steam is installed in Wine's "virtual" Windows drive, usually ~/.wine/drive_c/Programs/Valve/Steam. Alternatively, you will need to use msiexec to run the Steam installer. Therefore, run wine msiexec \a SteamInstall.msi and follow the Steam installer instructions. Note: The login window doesn't have keyboard focus when starting up. You have to right-click into the login field first.

It also notes that if you run Compiz on your computer you will experience severe slowdown problems. It recommends to disable Compiz before launching Steam.


Steam works very well in plain Wine.

I actually paid for Crossover games since they provide commercial support and fix reported bugs in supported games extremely fast. Plus they push fixes back into Wine.

  • Which games work well in crossover? They seem to have a good list of business apps on their site for the 'Crossover Linux' impersonator, but no list for the 'Crossover Games' impersonator. I'm mostly interested in steam games like Company of Heroes, Team Fortress 2, SupCom 2, Torchlight, etc. Do you find that crossover plays well with most of these types of games? Feb 18, 2011 at 13:34

I use CodeWeaver's CrossOver to run games on Ubuntu. They offer paid support to get games to work.



You could try http://transgaming.com/ (Cedega). I did this in the past and it worked fine, but you have to pay for it - :\

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