Best Linux Distro for Gaming 2021 [Performance and Programming]

Gaming on Linux is a bit difficult as Linux does not support some hardware drivers. But with the birth of Linux distribution, gaming on Linux has become more comfortable. However, if you need help choosing from the many options available, we are here for you. This article reviews the top five Linux distros for gaming. Without wasting time, here are the five best Linux distro for gaming on the market.

1. SteamOS

SteamOS is a Debian-based distro designed to run Valve’s Steam platform. This Distro has been updated to the latest version of Debian 8 and is already pre-installed on the company’s Steam Machine games console. It allows you to install more software using Debian Jessie repositories. However, this operating system has a significant focus on gaming.

This best Linux distro for gaming is probably closer to a real game console. You can only install it on 64-bit machines; you need at least 4GB of RAM for best performance. You must have 200GB of free space on your hard drive. You also need to make sure that you are using Nvidia, Intel, or AMD (Radeon 8500 and later) GPU.

If you are a technically savvy PC user, you can try to build a steam engine yourself. Steams are only useful for playing steam games. This means you cannot play on Linux Wine Vine if you are running SteamOS. Some people encounter content servers’ unreachable error in steam error.

SteamOS has a unique in-home streaming feature that allows you to connect a SteamOS machine to another PC on the network. With this feature, you can stream the game to that computer. Most Linux distros are open-source software, but not all SteamOS have this feature.


  • Allows access to all titles in the Steam store
  • Install Linux games and paid titles by default


  • Only experienced users can handle the setup

2. Play on Linux

After SteamOS, the best way to play games with Linux is to play on Linux. It may not be as much a distro as a package that can be installed on your Linux PC, but it’s worth mentioning. Unlike SteamOS, which only works as a video console, Play on Linux allows you to play Windows PC games on your current Linux machine. You can play titles and use Linux for any other purpose you want.

This is the most convenient package for Linux users. This is an excellent package for those who want to play popular titles on their PC. You can run Windows applications in the Linux environment, and setup is easy. Playing on Linux is user-friendly and makes it great for those who are not tech-savvy users.

Playing on Linux is open source and free and offers a better gaming experience than many other Linux packages. There may be some bugs, but playing on Linux is one of the best apps for a best Linux distro for the gaming experience.


  • Allows Windows to run games on Linux


  • Some important bugs
  • Lots of support

3. Lakka

Lakka is a lightweight version of Linux that allows you to turn your PC into a retro games console. This Linux distro has a quaint core and reproach that is used as its front end. Lakka allows you to emulate many game consoles. It is available as a bootable USB image for computers. There are also versions for ARM-based machines like the Raspberry Pi.

This Distro allows you to use a wide variety of keyboards, including wireless Xbox 360 controllers, PS3, and PS4 controllers. All you need is a proprietary dongle. RetroArch comes with a useful autoconfig feature that allows controllers to work automatically out of the box. That means the keys do not need to map the keys manually. 

Lakka Documentation comes with some useful solutions for unusual steps. The OS usually ships without pre-installed games for copyright reasons. However, you can get legal copies of precompiled ROM arcade game files or ISO images of your game CDs. You can check the internet archive, which contains some public domain ROMs.


  • Allows emulation of multiple consoles
  • Works on multiple platforms


  • Supply own games

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4. SparkyLinux GameOver 

Sparky Linux is another excellent Debian-based distro for gaming. The latest Sparky Linux Game Over has many new features, such as the fantastic Lutris gaming platform. It also includes a custom tool that initiates the installation of a web browser. This feature allows you to play online games.

With Sparkilinux GameOver, you can play games on any platform. In addition to Lutris, there are several tools in the GameOver version, such as the Aptus gamer. This tool allows you to download multiple game emulators so you can relish those old console classics, but you’ll need to download them elsewhere. You get free and open-source games like Robots and Wesnoth.

The Distro comes with pre-installed gaming apps like Wine, Steam, and Linux Play. With these applications, you can run older Windows and DOS games such as Sim City 2000 on Linux.


  • Comes with pre-bundled gaming software like Wine, Steam, etc
  • Supports online games


  • No pre-installed console emulators.

5. Ubuntu Game‌Pack

The Ubuntu GamePack was created by Ukrainian developers UALinux. It comes with proprietary codecs, drivers, Steam, and Lutris gaming platforms. With these systems, you can access and install many games on your Ubuntu machine.

Ubuntu GamePack provides access to thousands of apps and games for DOS and Windows. Emulators like DOSEmu and DOSBox are pre-installed, similar to the Windows Emulator crossover. Ubuntu GamePack does not come with pre-installed games, but it has both Plays on Linux and Vine; you can quickly run your existing games. This Distro supports Java and Adobe Flash, so you can also play online games.


  • Based on Ubuntu LTS for stability
  • Supports Steam, PlayOnLinux Linux, and more


  • No pre-installed games

Read More; Linux Mint vs. Ubuntu [Detailed Comparison]

Best Linux Distro for Beginners

As a new user, you need a Distro that is easy to install and use. Distro should have suitable hardware and software with available packages. Without wasting much time, here are some of the best Linux distros for first-timers.

1. Linux mint cinnamon

Best Linux Distro for Gaming

Linux Mint is a great distro, which has been number one on Distrowatch for years. It offers a seamless computing experience and is one of the most suitable Linux distros for beginners in the market. Linux Mint has a cinnamon desktop environment that provides a user-friendly interface. It is not difficult for new Linux users to get acquainted with Linux software.

This Distro makes all software accessible by grouping them into categories. This may not be the main feature, but it is beneficial for users who are not yet familiar with Linux software’s names. Linux Mint is very fast and works well on older computers. It is built on the original Ubuntu base and shares the same software collection as Ubuntu.

Ubuntu tests their software extensively before pushing it out for use. For the above reasons, users do not have to worry about frequent unforeseen interruptions and crashes in some new software. This Distro is well compatible with Windows 7, so if you are a Windows 7 lover, you will love Linux Mint. The Linux Mint desktop has many similarities with the Windows 7 desktop, such as the toolbar, menu, and tray icons.

All of these features are set to make Windows users more comfortable with Linux Mint. If you are new to Linux’s world, it is a good idea to go for Linux Mint because Linux Mint attracts its users with many useful features. Therefore, Linux Mint should be included in the list of the best Linux Distro for beginners. You can check it out and go for the cinnamon version.

2. Ubuntu

Best Linux Distro for Gaming

When researching Linux Distro on the Internet, you will most likely find Ubuntu – one of the best Linux distributions out there. It is the perfect choice for new customers in the gaming world. Some users refer to it as Linux for humans because of its attempt at universal use. Ubuntu has a user-friendly heart interface, so you do not need to be technically advanced to use it.

Ubuntu makes the Linux command line seamless and is one of the main reasons they are so popular today. It has a very convenient installation process. The installer allows you to select English or any other primary language you want. You can also test Ubuntu before going through the installation process.

The installer gives you simple options for removing the old OS or installing Ubuntu with Windows or any other OS you have (you have the option on every startup to choose the OS to boot). As a new user, you should choose the second option if you do not know what to do. Ubuntu uses GNOME, a productive but straightforward interface that allows you to search for anything from apps to files by pressing the Windows key. Ubuntu has a hardware detector, so you do not have to worry about driver installation issues. This tool finds, downloads, and installs the right drivers for your computer. Additionally, the installation includes essential software such as a music player, office suite, video player, and games.

Ubuntu’s documentation and community support are excellent and ask for Ubuntu and Ubuntu forums. This community gives you quality support for almost everything about Ubuntu. It will be likely that you may already found the answer to the questions you wanted to ask. You will also find answers beginner-friendly. You can check and download Ubuntu from the official site.

3. Zorin OS

Best Linux Distro for Gaming

Most PC users have Windows computers, and when they get Linux, they need to understand a lot before you go. You will notice that many functions are fixed in muscle memory. For example, whenever you launch an app, the mouse moves to the bottom left corner of the screen (start). So, if you can find anything in Linux that reduces these issues, you have won the battle. Enter Zorin OS.

Zorin OS has an Ubuntu base and is a very elegant Linux distro designed for Windows users. Although almost all Linux distros are useful to everyone, most people do not like to use Distro if the desktop looks weird. You do not need to worry about this as it is similar to Windows in terms of view. Their package managers may seem foreign to Linux first-timers. Because of this. Zorin OS has an extensive list of pre-installed software. Whatever you need, there is a good chance that it is already installed on Zorin OS. Zorin also offers pre-installed Wine and Play on Linux, so you can run your Windows software and all the games you like.

Zorin OS includes the excellent theme engine ‘Zorin Look Changer. It offers some huge customization options with presets to make it look like Windows 7, XP, 2000, or Mac, making you feel at home. These features make Zorin OS the best Linux distro for beginners. More information about the OS can be downloaded from the ‘Zorin OS website.


Gone are days where gaming on Linux was just a thought. Linux Distros allows you to enjoy a great gaming experience. However, if you are looking for the best ones on the market, you should go for SteamOS. Overall, make sure you choose the best Linux distro for the gaming experience.