Games Linux Distribution Reviews

5 Best Linux Distributions for Gaming

After writing about Steam on Linux in my last article, I’m here with another gaming article for fellow Linux gamers out there. In this article we’re going to have a look at 5 best Linux distributions specially crafted for gaming which you can use for ultimate gaming experience on Linux.

The days are long gone now when gaming on Linux was still a distant dream as gaming on Linux is the real deal now with some amazing developments in recent years. If you search on the web, there are so many gaming distributions out there but Linux distros listed here are highly optimized for gaming as various emulators, gaming software’s and drivers come pre-installed with them. Hence you don’t need to configure Linux to play your favorite games, just install one of these gaming friendly distros and you are ready for fun.

Things to Consider Before Choosing Linux Distribution for Gaming…

  • Hardware and Driver support, this is the most important thing to consider before installing any Linux distro for gaming. Make sure your system fulfills minimum hardware requirements of the Linux distro you are going to install.
  • Always try to install and use a Linux distribution, or any software, which releases updates more frequently to keep your system stable and suitable for a smooth gaming experience. I personally prefer to use the latest releases of all the software’s and Linux distributions as they provide me a more stable end-user experience.
  • The Games you want to play are also important in selecting a Linux distribution. If you play high-end games which demand very powerful hardware and drivers at the back then you should go for Linux distributions which will help you play these high-end games effortlessly.
  1. Steam OS

Steam OS is a very popular Linux-based gaming distribution developed and published by Valve Corporation. This Linux distro has been developed by keeping all the hardcore gamers, and their requirements, in mind. As it is a gaming distro, it ships-in with Steam pre-installed but you can always enable Desktop Mode to get desktop OS experience.

This Linux distribution is designed for playing high-end games and hence it comes with all the drivers and configuration pre-installed out of the box. This makes it one of the most popular Linux distro amongst beginners and hardcore gamers.

Steam OS comes with a simple user interface which is very easy to use. Also it supports various graphics processors and it is compatible with various joysticks and gamepads available in the market. You will have the privilege to download and install games from a huge collection of games in various categories available on Steam Store.

Gamers having a system with a little bit older hardware might find it difficult to install and run Steam OS as it demands slightly powerful hardware, but you don’t need to get worried as I have got you covered later in this article with other options.

Hardware Requirements:

  • Processor: Intel or AMD Processor (64-bit)
  • RAM: 4GB or Higher
  • Hard Drive: 250GB or Higher
  • Video Card: NVIDIA or AMD Graphics

Download Steam OS Here

  1. SparkyLinux “Nibru” GameOver Edition

Based on Debian, SparkyLinux GameOver Edition can be a really good Linux distro for gamers who are used to playing games on different emulators. Once you install SparkyLinux GameOver, it’s GoodBye to Emulators!!

There is a special tool, APTus Gamer which comes bundled with SparkyLinux GameOver Eidition package. The idea behind this tool is to provide gamers easy access to various gaming emulators, consoles and other gaming tools necessary for gaming on any platform.

You can easily download and play games from other platforms such as Steam and Windows as it ships in with Wine, PlayOnLinux and Steam client pre-installed. It can prove to be a great Linux distro for gaming as you don’t need to install any additional drivers or make any configurations.

Hardware Requirements:

  • Processor: Intel or AMD Processor (32/64-bit)
  • RAM: 1GB or Higher
  • Hard Drive: 250GB or Higher
  • Video Card: NVIDIA or AMD Graphics

Download SparkyLinux GameOver Here

  1. Fedora Games Spin

Fedora Games Spin is another excellent Linux distro for gaming as it comes pre-loaded with thousands of games in various genres right from first-person shooter games to turn-based strategy games. It also comes with additional tools that let you download and play more games on its platform.

Fedora’s Games Spin is proving to be a great platform for gamers with its fast, lightweight and stable OS at the core, but modified and optimized by the maintainers for dedicated gaming. The gamers who have already used or worked on XFCE desktop environment will find Fedora Spin very comfortable to use.

The thing that might lure you to use another distro, is that PlayOnLinux, Wine and Steam Client don’t come bundled with it and you have to manually install them to play games from other platforms like Windows. Also you might need to download and install some drivers manually to play some games on Fedora.

Hardware Requirements:

  • Processor: Intel or AMD Processor (32/64-bit)
  • RAM: 1GB or Higher
  • Hard Drive: 10GB or Higher
  • Video Card: NVIDIA or AMD Graphics

Download Fedora Games Spin Here

  1. Ubuntu GamePack

As the name suggest, it is the Linux distro based on Ubuntu and not actually the default Ubuntu many of us use for normal desktop things. This distro is highly optimized for gaming and one of the reasons why it has gained so much popularity among gamers in recent years. Playing online games on this distro will not be too much to ask for, as it supports Oracle Java as well as Adobe Flash Player.

Even though it is specially designed for gaming, it doesn’t ship with any game pre-installed. But it ships-in with Steam Client, Wine, PlayOnLinux and other gaming clients installed out of the box.

One of the best things about Ubuntu GamePack is that it runs smoothly on lower hardware requirements and it comes with great hardware support which makes it one the most preferred Linux distros for gaming among gamers.

Hardware Requirements:

  • Processor: Intel or AMD Processor (64-bit)
  • RAM: 1GB or Higher
  • Hard Drive: 10GB or Higher
  • Video Card: NVIDIA or AMD Graphics

Download Ubuntu GamePack Here

  1. Lakka

Lakka is built on top of very the popular RetroArch emulator, Lakka is a powerful Linux distro but still it is well optimized to smoothly run on low end computer hardware so that it can be useful for every single gamer out there.

Specially designed for gaming, Lakka is one of the most user friendly and reliable Linux distros out there for gaming. It comes with some features such as automatic Joypad recognition, support for various hardware and drivers, all in one console emulator and many more.

Hardware Requirements:

  • Processor: Intel or AMD Processor (64-bit)
  • RAM: 1GB or Higher
  • Hard Drive: 10GB or Higher
  • Video Card: NVIDIA or AMD Graphics

Download Lakka Here

So these are the 5 best Linux distributions for gaming which you can try in 2019. If you have already used any Linux distro for gaming other than those listed here, feel free to share your views and suggestions at @LinuxHint and @SwapTirthakar.

About the author

Swapnil Tirthakar

Swapnil Tirthakar

A Software Engineer who loves football and passionate about traveling. I often spend my free time playing with gadgets and exploring new possibilities in tech world. I am Linux enthusiast and have about 6 years of experience in web development. I have good command on Python, Java, SQL and system security.