How to Play PC Games on Linux With Lutris

Gaming on Linux has long been the holy grail of turning open-source operating systems into mainstream competitors to Windows.

Linux can do everything that Windows can, except host the latest games. In an effort to solve this problem and make gaming on Linux a viable proposition, comes a gaming client, Lutris. But what does Lutris do for running games on Linux, and should you try it out?

What Is Lutris?

A video game client for Linux desktops, Lutris aims to deliver access to all video games you own on PC. Aside from the current console video game generation, you should be able to use it to play anything.

It's a single interface that integrates with gaming stores and platforms. You can enjoy over 13000 games from retro systems, GOG, Steam, and more, all from the comfort of a Linux PC.

How Does Lutris Work?

Lutris is basically a launcher for Linux games that integrates with what it terms “runners.”

This means that you can launch the games from a single interface, which will then prompt the appropriate runners to provide support for running the title. Runners include:

  • RetroArch
  • DOSBox
  • FS-UAE
  • ScummVM
  • MESS
  • Dolphin
  • Wine TkG (an optimized build of Wine)
  • Wine Steam (for running Windows games from the Steam library)

These and other runners (many of which are for retro gaming) enable a vast library of games to run on Linux via Lutris.

Read More: How to Install Wine on Ubuntu and Run Windows Software

What You Need for Playing Games on Linux With Lutris

Depending on the type of game you plan on playing, you will need to consider your computer hardware. A modern, recent system should be able to play the most recent games; older computers will be limited to what games will run.

In short, if you're planning on playing the latest titles with Lutris, you need the latest hardware. Rely on older PCs and laptops to play retro titles.

Install Lutris on Ubuntu based systems as follows:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:lutris-team/lutris
sudo apt update
sudo apt install lutris

Instructions for almost any Linux operating system you can name can be found on the Lutris website, where it is also available to install from source. Note, however, that there is no Snap or Flatpak installation option.

How to Use Lutris to Play Your Favorite Games on Linux

Using Lutris is straightforward.

All it requires is for you to link up your accounts (Steam, GOG, etc.,) then use Lutris as a launcher. However, there are some complications that can occur in this process, which is where Lutris' advanced settings come into play.

In most cases, however, if the correct runners have been installed and associated with the game you want to run, Lutris should successfully launch the game you want to play. Some tweaking may be required, but generally speaking the process works well.

Installing Steam Games on Linux With Lutris

To install Steam games with Lutris you first need to ensure Wine and the Steam runner are both installed. Then, establish the Steam ID of the game you want to play. This can be found in three ways:

  • Visit the game's store page and check the URL – the last number in the address is the application ID, in the format
  • Search for the game on Steam Database, a third-party tool that provides a variety of information about Steam products.
  • In Steam, right-click the game in question and select Properties > Updates. You'll find the App ID listed at the bottom of the screen.

With the App ID noted, switch to the Lutris window and click + > Add a new game. Here, input the Name of the game in Game Info and selected Wine as the runner. In the Game options tab, enter the Application ID from Steam and clicked Save.

Finally, select the game in Lutris and click Start. A few moments (and a “wait or quit” notice) later the game should run.

For those titles that don't run in Linux natively, you can rely on the Wine Steam runner (see below), or stream from a Windows PC running Steam. Any game you have installed in Wine outside of Lutris can be added into the library and launched.

Installing Games from GOG on Linux With Lutris

If you prefer titles you've bought from GOG, these can be installed by first linking your GOG account with Lutris. Here's how we installed The Settlers: Rise of an Empire – Gold Edition on Linux using Lutris.

  1. Select GOG in the Sources section and browse the list of games.
  2. Select the game and click Install
  3. Confirm installation of GOG
  4. Confirm the destination file path
  5. Click Continue when prompted (for example, to install the game manual)
  6. Click Continue when prompted to download the game
  7. When the game is downloaded, proceed with the installer wizard
  8. Click Launch when the installation has completed

Note that games installed in this way can take time, so patience is required here.

Read More: How to Refund a Game Bought on GOG

Install a Game Directly from the Lutris Library

You can also install retro games through Lutris from the online library. These may require runners, but these can be installed automatically as part of the game's download and installation.

  1. Select Lutris in the Sources menu
  2. Use the Search field at the top of the screen to find the game you want
  3. Select the game and click Install
  4. Click Install again to confirm the installation destination
  5. When prompted, click Install a third time
  6. Following installation, click Launch to play the game

This simplicity makes Lutris a great option for retro gaming fans.

Install a Windows Game on Linux With Lutris

Finally, you can run Windows games on Linux and launch them with Lutris. There are a couple of ways to do this but the most straightforward is to rely on the Wine Steam runner, a custom version of Steam running under Wine.

All you need to do is browse to the game and install it.

We found that the game (we tested the strategy title Dorfromantik) won't launch from Lutris, but launches fine from within Steam.

Other Ways to Play PC Games on Linux

Lutris isn't the only way you can play PC games on a Linux computer. If the computer meets the hardware requirements, you can also use:

  • Steam/SteamOS: Valve's digital delivery service runs on Linux, both as an app and an Ubuntu-based operating system (SteamOS).
  • Retro gaming platforms: almost all retro gaming systems are available for Linux, opening a world of emulated classic games.
  • SparkyLinux: this Debian based OS has Steam, Wine, and PlayOnLinux built in to make launching games simple
  • Ubuntu GamePack: this claims to launch over 85,000 games and is based on Ubuntu 20.04.

While Steam/SteamOS is a strong option, it relies on developers issuing Linux versions of the games in question. Ultimately, you need a solution that makes it easy to find and install the games you own, then launch them – Lutris has the edge here.

Support Lutris for Linux Gaming

Lutris is a great way to play current PC games on Linux. As with many such systems it is not perfect – there is always going to be a processing overhead, especially for new games – but Lutris successfully unifies a whole host of Windows gaming platforms and makes them playable on Linux. Throw in retro gaming and you've got a vast collection of titles to choose from.

Lutris is a not-for-profit project that you can back on Patreon, via PayPal, or using LiberaPay.

Or, you could rely wholly on Steam or SteamOS for your Linux gaming.

Author: Christian Cawley

Source: Christian Cawley.” How to Play PC Games on Linux With Lutris”. Retrieved From

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