The small but enthusiastic Linux gaming scene in Australia

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For many avid gamers who prefer using Linux as their operating system of choice, playing many of the latest video games can often be quite a challenging process, mostly because the vast majority of mainstream publishers don’t offer any official support.

Arguably, that’s perhaps where the core problem lies, given that despite gaming now being considered one of the most popular mainstream entertainment activities, the Linux user base remains continues to remain tiny. Based on this chart which constantly monitors the Australian operating system market share, just 0.83% use Linux on their desktop or mobile devices.

Windows retains the strongest share at 34.33% in, looking at the most recent numbers for November 2023, closely followed at 29.38% by iOS and 17.34% using Android. This indicates that insofar as gaming is concerned, Aussies using Linux remains a small niche and that hasn’t really changed much over the last 12 months.

Nevertheless, the Linux community Down Under continues to remain positive and upbeat about their preferred OS and its future. Indeed, we can see there’s Linux Australia, which claims to represent around 5,000 users and developers based in the country, providing a voice and platform for Open-Source communities in the region.

As one might imagine given that Aussies are highly regarded for their tech innovation and creativity, Linux Australia hosts an annual conference, which is highly regarded as one of the premier events of its kind internationally. Gaming regularly features as one of the topics of discussion, amidst the hope that more developers will release games that work on Linux.

One speedy little game that’s grabbing attention is Art of Rally, an indie title that was co-produced and developed by an Australian team, and recently launched a new DLC taking players on a distinctly stylish Down Under off-road racing tour. The game also fully supports Linux, Proton, Steam Deck, and the Steam OS. 

Intriguingly, many games developers in Australia prefer using Linux platforms and tools when they’re creating new games, which means in theory, they should always function with little trouble on distributions including Ubuntu and Mint or various others. Yet whenever we check the small print at digital storefronts, Linus is rarely mentioned in the operating system specs.

Now if only more games developers and publishers offered Linux support, whenever they release games. In most cases on desktop PC applications, gamers can use software like Proton by Valve (the owners of Steam), which adds a useful compatibility layer that allows Windows games to run smoothly on Linux-based operating systems.

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Otherwise, trying to get certain games to run on Linux can be troublesome, not to mention time consuming as users jump through various hoops to get things going. Some games have zero support or configuration to run on Linux, which can be quite frustrating if it’s one you’re keen to play on a system that doesn’t rely completely on Windows.

Thankfully, that’s rarely a problem for one of the biggest gaming niches in Australia, which revolves around online casinos and especially the always popular pokies. For the latest detailed Gamble Online Australia reviews and guides, readers can click here for more information, certain that games launched through a web browser will typically function correctly on Linux.

Meanwhile, these numbers emerged recently via the Gaming on Linux Steam Tracker, suggesting that Steam Deck is helping to boost Linux-based gaming in Australia and globally. Although still small in the grand scheme of things, this platform has boosted Linux user numbers on Steam to 1.91% in November 2023, and continues growing steadily.

What this would suggest is that with the focus and support of companies like Valve, there’s clearly a great future ahead for those of us who prefer using Linux, combined with our appetite for enjoying plenty of enjoyable gaming experiences.


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Linux Certified Engineer, with a passion for open-source technology and a strong understanding of Linux systems. With experience in system administration, troubleshooting, and automation, I am skilled in maintaining and optimizing Linux infrastructure.

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