9 Best Linux distro for gaming in 2020

9 Best Linux distro for gaming in 2020

9 best Linux distro for gaming

When we talk about PC gaming, the OS or Operating system comes in our mind is Windows. No doubt windows is the most popular OS for general purpose use case.

That’s why game publisher and developers target the windows first and sometime also macOS for popular gaming franchises.

Linux is no way near consideration when talking about gaming. But not today, Linux is now quite popular and even grows much more from the last couple of decades. Today we pick 9 Best Linux distro for gaming you can install on your PC.

Although, there are so many Linux distribution available in market, but all have their sole purpose. Good thing is there are options available for gaming too. Let’s see the 9 best Linux distro for gaming in 2020

Quick list Best Linux distro for gaming

Let’s have a quick look at 9 Best Linux distro for gaming

1. Steam OS
2. Lakka OS
3. Ubuntu game pack
4. Game Drift Linux
5. SparkyLinux – Gameover Edition
6. Manjaro Gaming Edition
7. Solus
8. Fedora games spin
9. batocera.linux

Why choose Linux over windows?

Before listing our 9 Best Linux distro for gaming, we need to talk about why do even bother to use Linux for gaming instead of windows?

There are so many reason to use Linux over windows.

1. Secure

Linux is more secure then windows. In fact Linux is the most secure OS in market right now. 

2. Perfect for developers

If you are a developer or programmer, chances are you already have Linux on your system or you are planing to install one.

Don’t worry you still play your games on Linux

3. Low hardware requirements

Linux can run easily on low hardware PC. If you have low end PC or a very old computer. You can still boot Linux on your system.

4. Customization

Customization is one of the most interesting feature you can have on Linux. Unlike windows where you are limited to customize your environment, Linux gives you countless options to do that.

5. It's free

Last, but not least, Linux is completely free to use. You don’t need spend a single money on it.

10 Best Linux distro for gaming in 2020​

1. Steam OS

9 best Linux distro for gaming
SteamOS Desktop
  • Base: Debian 8
  • Desktop Environment: GNOME
  • Latest Stable Release: 2.195

Start with first in our list is SteamOS. As it’s name suggest, it was developed by the Steam creator Valve Corp.

SteamOS is based on Debian 8. The OS is build on to p of Debian core. Being Linux an open platform, it gives you full control over the operating system.

By default SteamOS come preinstalled with steam client or if you planing to get a steam machine.

Although, you can manually get SteamOS and install it, but it can quite difficult for non-technical user.

Unfortunately you can not run SteamOS on a very old computer. This OS do have some requirement. In order to run properly SteamOS in your machine, you must have…

  1. 64-bit processor(Intel or AMD)
  2. Minimum of 4GB RAM
  3. 200GB or larger hard drive
  4. A dedicated or integrated GPU. For AMD RADEON 8500 and later is recommended.
  5. Latest UEFI firmware installation

2. Lakka OS

  • Base: RetroArch
  • Desktop Environment: RetroArch
  • Latest Stable Release: 2.3.2
  • RetroArch version: 1.8.4
9 Best Linux distro for gaming in 2020
LakkaOS Desktop

For all the retro gamers out there, Lakka is one of the options you have. Lakka is lightweight linux distribution built on top of RetroArch emulator.

Lakka is not like other Operating system, instead it emulates a wide-verity of consoles in your PC. Basically it is like console in a PC. Lakka has some really useful feature like automatic joypad recognition, netplay, rewinding, and shaders.

Lakka is so much light-weight that you don’t need to have a high-end PC. Even It can easily run on old computers. In fact a Raspberry Pi can easily run Lakka OS.

3. Ubuntu Game Pack

  • Base: Ubuntu
  • Desktop Environment: GNOME
  • Latest Stable Release: 18.04
9 Best Linux distro for gaming in 2020
Ubuntu Game Pack

Ubuntu game pack is a another Linux distro for gaming. It is based on top of Ubuntu, which is a distribution of Linux.

Like Lakka and SteamOS, Ubuntu game pack doesn’t come with games pre-install. However it does comes with some really useful tools such as Steam client, itch, wine, Lutris and PlayOnLinux.

Lutris allows you to play games from Origin, Uplay, Battel.net and more. There are more than 55,977 games available on this platform, which is huge.

On top that it also support Oracle Java and adobe flash. That mean you can also enjoy online multiplayer games. Ubuntu game pack also have a dedicated repository to install games.

4. Game Drift Linux

  • Base: Ubuntu
  • Desktop Environment: Mate
  • Latest Stable Release: 1.2.1
9 Best Linux distro for gaming in 2020
Game Drift Linux Desktop

Game drift linux is a linux distro for gaming based on Ubuntu. Game drift Linux is optimize for the best possible gaming experience on Linux.

Out-of-box it support windows games, linux games and also have built-in app store with high quality games.

Game drift linux has built-in CrossOver games technology support. Because of that it can play more then 1200 popular windows games.

Though Game drift can run on a decent computer in 2020, but for some high quality games it may require more computing power.

The recommended requirement for this OS is…

  1. 1-2 Ghz processor (32 or 64 bit)
  2. 1-2 GB memory
  3. 4 GB hard disk drive for Game Drift Linux
  4. ATI, NVidia or Intel graphics adapter
  5. LAN/Internet

5. Sparky Linux GameOver Edition

  • Base: Debian 8
  • Desktop Environment: xfce
  • Latest Stable Release: 5.12
9 Best Linux distro for gaming in 2020
SparkyLinux Gaming Edition

Sparky Linux GameOver Edition is a another linux distribution. Sparky Linux is fast, lightweight, and fully customizable OS. This is based on Debian GNU/Linux operating system.

Out of the box it supports large number linux open source games. Moreover, it also has of steam for steam games and Lutris, wine, and few more to support other windows software and games.

Sparky Linux comes with a special tool called APTus Gamer. This tool allows you to download and install various game emulators for retro console such as Sega MegaDrive, Game boy Advanced, Atari system and much more.

6. Manjaro Gaming Edition

  • Base: Arch
  • Desktop Environment: xfce
  • Latest Stable Release: 18.0.3
9 Best Linux distro for gaming in 2020
Manjaro Gaming

Manjaro is more suitable for programmers or developers rather gamer. Although the base version is pretty decent in terms of gaming. There is a special Edition is available for gaming, called Manjaro Gaming Edition.

Manjaro Gaming Edition is more focus towards content creation with gaming. This comes with some useful software specially designed for content creation like Audacity, screenshot tools, chatting software, streaming apps, and more.

Manjaro Gaming Edition comes with pre-install graphics driver, which are not only just updated also optimize for better gaming.

On top of that this OS offers you application like PlayOnLinux, wine, Lutris etc. It also has bunch of emulators such as DOSbox, Kega Fusion, PPSSPP, PCSX2, FCEUX,  RetroArch, PCSX and more.

7. Solus

  • Base: GNU/Linux
  • Desktop Environment: GNOME/Mate/Budgie/Plasma
  • Latest Stable Release: 4.1
9 Best Linux distro for gaming in 2020
Solus Budgie Desktop

So far in our best linux distro for gaming list, every OS is based on top of a Linux based Operating system. But Solus is not like others.

Unlike any other distro Solus is not based on Ubuntu or Arch or Debian, instead this OS made from complete scratch, which made this OS quite unique in our list.

The amazing thing about this OS is that it offers you 4 different desktop environment. Budgie, GNOME, Mate, and Plasma. There is no major difference among these so you can choose which ever you like.

Out of the box it come with pretty much all useful software you may need for like general usage, browsing as well as gaming. Also you can find more software from it’s software center.

Talking about gaming on Solus, installing a tool called Linux system integration(LSI) gives you some really advantages. LSI optimize the performance of the games and also can fixes some possible bugs.

8. Fedora games spin

  • Base: Fedora
  • Desktop Environment: xfce
  • Latest Stable Release: 32
9 Best Linux distro for gaming in 2020
Fedora Games Spin

Fedora games spin is a version of fedora specially designed for gaming on fedora OS. Fedora offers you XFCE desktop environment with minimal design. Fedora games spin is fast, stable and also lightweight.

As it is made for purely gaming, it comes with more than thousand of games pre-install such as first-person shooter, real-time, turned based strategy games and more.

Unfortunately to keep things minimal, this distro doesn’t comes with Steam games, Wine, PlayOnLinux pre-install by default. Though you can manually install those application.

Since it purely focus on games, it doesn’t have any driver install. In order play AAA titles you need Steam to install also the graphics driver for GPU. By far this is distro you might looking for.

9. batocera.linux​

  • Latest Stable Release: 5.26
9 Best Linux distro for gaming in 2020

Bactocera.linux is another great distro heavily focused on Ratro gaming. Bactocera is so much lightweight that it can easily run on regular to very old PC. In fact it can easily run on a Raspberry Pi like we talked about Lakka OS.

Batocera can emulates verity of game consoles such as Sega Master, Atari, NES, and much more. But you can’t play games right away. You need to own them, because the distro doesn’t include any games.

Final words

We’ve listed 9 best Linux distro for gaming you should consider in 2020. Though is up to you, which one you choose. All have some their own pros and cons.

As a gamer you should know what is your interest and which type of games you like to play. If you like to games on emulator, LakkaOS or Batocera are available options.

If you like to more steam games, in that case SteamOS, Ubuntu game pack, or Solus would be a good option.

However if you focused on content creation for youtube or twitch through live streaming or screen recording, Manjaro Gaming Edition you should consider.


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