Not so long ago, playing video games on Linux was an absolute impossibility. That has changed so radically that we can even find 10 Best Linux Distros for Gaming.
Before we start… in this post, I’ll name the distros that offer the most polished gaming experience. However, each of them is susceptible to hardware or software compatibility issues.
So let’s get started.
10 Best Linux Distros for Gaming
Arch Linux is a rolling release and bleeding-edge distribution, so it is continuously and indefinitely updated over time while providing very recent software. Although it is not oriented to novices or newcomers, Arch Linux is increasingly being considered.
One of the main reasons why we have to consider Arch Linux excellent for gaming is that it includes recent versions of the Linux kernel, Steam, Mesa, and the NVIDIA driver.
For the above reasons, Arch Linux can run recent games better than other distributions. In addition to this, it is one of the ones that will run better on recent hardware.
- Recent packages
Manjaro Linux is a derivative of Arch Linux, so we can expect many updated packages. But the big difference is that while Arch Linux is for advanced users, Manjaro aims to be simple to use.
Another point that may be important is that NVIDIA drivers, Steam package and many multimedia codecs are installed at once. This means that for a novice user, just install and start downloading games.
Finally, it is worth noting that Manjaro Linux opts for an LTS kernel, so NVIDIA users will appreciate the compatibilities and stability.
- Easy to use
- Updated packages
- LTS kernel
Fedora has evolved for the better, and now gaming on it is effortless to do. The reasons? The perfect combination of updated packages and a simplicity of maintenance thanks to DNF.
Unlike Manjaro and Arch Linux, Fedora is a point release distribution, but includes many updated packages. These packages include the kernel, graphics stack and drivers.
So with Fedora, you will be able to install recent games on recent hardware without too much trouble, all on a very stable system.
- Updated graphics stack.
- Easy to install and maintain
Ubuntu is a must. One of the most important distributions of all Linux, also has configurations and support for gaming. The difference is that you have to do a bit of work.
Ubuntu includes recent packages such as the kernel, graphic stack and so on, but not as much as the previous distributions. However, using tweaks can be achieved, so it should be included in the list.
- Lots of official support from companies.
- Easy to use
In this list, we have to include Linux Mint for being one of the most popular Ubuntu derivatives out there. What is its main feature? Well, it is that it is effortless to use, which can help newbies with Linux gaming.
In addition to this, Cinnamon, which is the default desktop environment of Linux Mint, is a marvel when it comes to running recent games as it consumes fewer resources.
Add to this the fact that it has many additional tools, including some that make it easier to install and manage components, such as NVIDIA Prime.
- Derived from Ubuntu
- Cinnamon is very efficient
- Easy to use and install
One of Ubuntu’s most advanced pupils is also ideal for gaming. Pop_OS! is a distribution created by System76 that gives Ubuntu itself a distinctive look and feel.
The main advantage in gaming is that it includes two different ISOs according to the graphics card that requires it. So, if you have an NVIDIA graphics card, you can choose the corresponding ISO and save time in configurations.
Similarly, you can configure the Kisak PPA and thus improve the support with AMD.
- Easy path if you use NVIDIA
- Ubuntu based
- Multiple configurations
This Ubuntu-based distribution has specialized in offering a stable environment but designed for Linux gaming. This translates into a distribution that includes special kernel configurations or other components, such as Pipewire or PulseAudio.
In addition to all this, it presents it in an XFCE environment that guarantees us the necessary lightness to move games at a good level.
- Designed for gaming
- Based on Ubuntu
- Proven performance
Garuda offers a GUI with a set of packages like Steam, WINE, Winetricks, PlayOnLinux, Gamehub (Linux alternative to GOG Galaxy 2.0), Lutris, DXVK and Proton. This indicates that it is easy to use for beginners and even easier to use for gaming.
From the technical point of view, you are in the presence of one based on Arch Linux that inherits many of its goodness but with a friendlier installer.
One modification that makes it a marvel is the inclusion of the zen kernel that is optimized for demanding tasks such as gaming.
- Based on Arch Linux
- Includes the zen kernel
- Updated packages
It is a Linux distribution that includes many emulators and a system ready for gaming. In addition to this, you can install game applications like Lutris in a fast and easy way.
It is based on Ubuntu 20.0, so we lose features, but it is fine if we are not going to play triple AAA games or if we want to use it in test environments.
Sparky Linux – GameOver Edition
Sparky Linux is a Debian based distribution that brings us even closer to this distribution. It has multiple versions based on Debian Stable and Debian Testing. However, today you can learn more about a remix intended for Linux gaming.
Sparky “GameOver” Edition features a lightweight desktop, a considerable number of preinstalled games, useful tools and scripts. Built for gamers.
Also includes many games like 0AD, War Zone 2100, Wesnoth, Widelands and so on. Furthermore Steam, Itch client for Linux, Wine or PlayOnLinux.
- Based on Debian
- Ready for gameplay
Linux gaming has undergone changes for the better in a way that now an average user can install all kinds of games on the system. In this case, today, you have learned about the best 10 distros for gaming.
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