A look at Lutris – Open Gaming Platform for GNU/Linux

Mike Turcotte-McCusker
Jun 20, 2018

There’s plenty of gaming platforms out there nowadays, from Steam to Origin, it seems like you need to have almost as many gaming platforms as you do games installed.

GNU/Linux users are a bit more limited in their choice of games available, although thankfully more and more are being released all the time.

Lutris for Linux

Lutris is quite the handy application I’ve discovered, that helps with organization and installation of games on GNU/Linux, even if they come from multiple sources. One of the project's goals is to support any game that runs on Linux regardless of whether it runs natively, through Wine, or other means.

The main appeal of Lutris is that it provides an interface to manage all games installed on the machine regardless of source. While it is necessary to integrate the games in the application first, doing so is not super complicated. You may add local games right away by selecting them from the local system or visit the Lutris website to add games this way.

Lutris simplifies nearly everything. Users can visit the list of support games on the Lutris website, choose to download and install the game (Note: If its a game that must be bought, you must own it first.)

The website lists supported games and where you can acquire or download them. You can use filters on the site to display only free games, games of a genre, or use the built-in search to find games of interest quickly using it.

The service does have some requirements, like for example, if you are attempting to install a Steam game, you must have Steam installed, or some installation scripts from within Lutris will also install it, but I’d recommend having it installed already.

Lutris is officially supported on Debian Testing, Ubuntu LTS, Fedora, Gentoo, Arch Linux, Mageia and OpenSUSE.

In terms of Features, the Lutris website lists them as:

  • Manage your Linux games, Windows games, emulated console games and browser games
  • Launch your Steam games
  • Community-written installers to ease up your games' installation
  • More than 20 emulators installed automatically or in a single click, providing support for most gaming systems from the late 70's to the present day
    Download and play libre and freeware games

Lutris also has the ability to import your steam library, and plans to also include allowing users to import their GOG library as well.

The List of supported gaming platforms for Lutris is:

  • Native Linux
  • Windows
  • Steam (Linux and Windows)
  • MS-DOS
  • Arcade machines
  • Amiga computers
  • Atari 8 and 16bit computers and consoles
  • Browsers (Flash or HTML5 games)
  • Commmodore 8 bit computers
  • SCUMM based games and other point and click adventure games
  • Magnavox Odyssey², Videopac+
  • Mattel Intellivision
  • NEC PC-Engine Turbographx 16, Supergraphx, PC-FX
  • Nintendo NES, SNES, Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, DS
  • Game Cube and Wii
  • Sega Master Sytem, Game Gear, Genesis, Dreamcast
  • SNK Neo Geo, Neo Geo Pocket
  • Sony PlayStation
  • Sony PlayStation 2
  • Sony PSP
  • Z-Machine games like Zork

Final Thoughts

The main advantage that Lutris offers is that it a management interface for all Linux games. It offers little advantage if you play games from a single source only, e.g. Steam, but if you play games from multiple sources, e.g. standalone games, Steam games, or emulated games, you may like the options that it provides.

I haven’t used Lutris too much yet, but so far I’m enjoying it, and its simplicity. I will say that I haven’t found a game I’m interested in installing, that hasn’t been listed, and that hasn’t worked... But I am sure that time may come. For now, I’ll say its nice, its easy to use, and I like the concept... But, whether Lutris will become a staple for Linux gamers, time will tell. Give it a try!


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  1. dark said on June 21, 2018 at 8:29 am

    Enable DXVK for best experience.

    DXVK translates Dx11 API calls to Vulkan calls and allow most Windows games to run on Linux at high graphics and very good performance.

    1. Weilan said on June 21, 2018 at 10:36 pm

      I haven’t touched Linux in a while, does this mean things are starting to look up for Linux gaming? Because when Windows 7 stops working I might have to switch to Linux.

      1. DreadPirateRotTurds said on November 6, 2018 at 7:02 pm

        Yes, it is a lot better. There is still a learning curve and everything doesnt always work 100% but I am now gaming about 80-90% on linux, enough that I primarily boot linux, but not enough that I have deleted my windows partition. DRM usually doesn’t like linux/wine, and new/complex titles (AAA type) often dont work at launch but if theyre popular enough linux support will trickle in within a year? or so

        DXVK (DX11) and the DX12 version are being supported by Steam because of their SteamOS, so more titles are coming to linux and the graphics support is getting pretty good. I have a base 1050gtx and i regularly see 100+fps on dx11 titles.

      2. hi said on June 28, 2018 at 12:44 am

        Not really, like most things linux, its still broken, and you’ll have to spend days googling solutions.

        You dont just install a windows game and go. You’ll need to use the terminal or software center to install wine online and a glitchy half baked front end for wine (playonlinux) to see what youre doing, ‘try’ to install the game through that, which will crash and give errors of course, but.. before you do that you need to install windows components into wine, to do that it needs to download several 100mb of non default windows stuff into a virtual drive in your linux installation. The programs you install then have the ability to see your system, run things, pop open web browsers on your linux, phone home for updates etc and who knows what else. Neat huh.

        Tried to “manually add a game” using this, selected wine, pointed it to the executable, save, nothing. Nothing saves, nothing runs, no indication why.

        Fail at the first basic steps of what the program is designed to do. Linux is still linux, as it was a year ago, 5 years ago, 10, as it will be next year, 5 years from now… I wouldnt waste your time. its not just this, its still all the basic things youd want to use linux for, its still the same old story getting shit to actually work, monitors to display in modern resolutions, graphics drivers to run right, network adapters to work, and not to be stuck in the damn terminal pasting secret codes from the web trying to get shit to work. Linux is still fundamentally broken, it cant be fixed for the masses.

      3. DreadPirateRotTurds said on November 6, 2018 at 6:54 pm

        Normally I try not to respond to trolls but I feel the need here. I am not saying Linux is perfect or that your criticisms arent valid, but in this case the article is about Lutris, which bypasses PlayOnLinux and uses its own front end. The comment is about DXVK, which if you’re running Lutris scripts is usually enabled by default when needed, and is as easy as opening a GUI window and clicking a check box to enable. Yes, you will still need to manage to install wine and other dependencies, but the lutris scripts usually work pretty well. Playonlinux’s scripts were often outdated to the point that you were better off installing manually and using playonlinux to mostly manage wine bottles and winetricks, and yes the GUI was a hot mess, but Lutris is much more user friendly IMO. If you want to install your game your best bet is to read to make sure you have the dependencies, then find the game in the database (or any game), then install via script to look at how its configured. When Lutris does the install, it should download the correct version of wine, create the bottle, and prompt for gecko and the other proprietary windows automagically, and then install the game.

        Remember Lutris is just a front end like Playonlinux, so if your game wont run without lutris it probably wont run with it, since it is just managing the pieces.

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