As Valve's Steam Deck gets closer to launching next month, that has not stopped Linux gaming from taking a few notable steps forward. Last month, Linux managed to stay over 1% marketshare on Steam for the 3rd consecutive month. The results for the October Steam hardware survey released over a week ago and they are even more impressive.
Not only did Linux stayed above 1% for the 4th consecutive month, but it also rose by 0.08 percentage points from 1.05% to 1.13%. That is larger than the 0.02 point increase from August to September and the 0.03 point increase from September to October.
The past few months have been pretty eventful for the penguin. In September, Epic and BattlEye announced support for Linux including Proton/WINE. It was a major development as anti-cheat has been Linux gaming's Achilles heel for the longest time and the most popular multiplayer games utilize either Easy Anti-Cheat or BattlEye.
I did emphasize in that article that it did not mean Easy Anti-Cheat and BattlEye would just all of a sudden work on Proton/WINE. It still requires developer intervention and while Epic described the process as "just a few clicks", if the developers don't feel like doing it, they just won't do it.
However, November 5, Valve made a rather interesting announcement regarding BattlEye support. Already a few games such as Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord and ARK: Survival Evolved are playable on Proton. On top of that, if developers want to enable BattlEye on Proton, they actually do not need to do any work on their side. All they have to do is email BattlEye and the work will be done on its side.
That is pretty nice and even less intensive than Epic's already-easy solution for EAC support. The one caveat is that you may be limited to playing BattlEye games on Steam. As noted by GamingOnLinux, "when you go to install a game that uses BattlEye, like those noted above, Steam should then also be prompted to install the new "Proton BattlEye Runtime". It's not surprising since Valve has been the one spearheading the anti-cheat support on Linux campaign, though it does kind of sucks that playing BattlEye games may not be possible on Lutris.
Lastly, FUTEX2 will finally land on the Linux 5.16 kernel. Also known as fsync, FUTEX2 helps Linux match with Windows' WaitForMultipleObjects syscall more effectively. This will help reduce the CPU overhead and theoretically, should boost the framerate a little bit. It has been an experimental feature for a long time and requires installing a custom kernel like Xanmod. However, by the time Linux 5.16 launches, the feature will effectively become mainline.
Video is "old" (uploaded March 2021), but you can see FUTEX2 providing modest gains over ESYNC on GTAV.
Only one month left until the Steam Deck launches...