Best Linux Distro For Gaming | Updated 2018 List For Gaming On Linux

Best Linux Distro For Gaming

Gaming on Linux?

Few years back, this would have been an alien concept for Linux. After all, Linux is known for coding. But as you may be aware, Linux has advanced and branched out to different fields with many distros for specific tasks. Today I’ll be covering the best Linux distros for gaming in 2018.

These Linux distros for gaming are in no particular order. So, you can go ahead and pick about just any one and be assured that they’ll do the job for you.

Top Linux Gaming Distros: 2018 List For Gaming on Linux

1. SteamOS

SteamOS is hands down one of the top Linux distro for gaming. To make a point, you’ll find on the list of every blog and article about best gaming distros in Linux.

SteamOS is a Debian 8 “Jessie” based Linux operating system developed by Valve. This Linux distro is specifically designed for Steam Games Lovers. While the whole system is open-source the pre installed Steam Client is proprietary.

With SteamOS, you can convert your laptop or PC into a gaming machine and enjoy a living room experience with your favorite games. This open Linux platform leaves you in full control of the system wherein you can also install other applications of your choice.

It also offers a GNOME desktop environment to use it as a regular OS. However, the recommendation is to use this OS for enhancing your Steam games experience.

Good news for Gamers!

SteamOS has an advanced Kernel and a great support for third-party drivers. Advanced graphics stack and custom graphics compositor promises to provide a seamless integration with Steam apps and games.

However, on the other side, it doesn’t have support for Wine and Plays on Linux Apps. Also, the hardware requirements for this Linux distro are pretty slick and older PCs will have to look elsewhere for support.

Minimum Hardware Requirements for SteamOS

  • Intel or AMD 64-bit processor
  • 4 GB RAM
  • 200 GB Hard Disk Space
  • NVIDIA Graphics Card
  • AMD Graphics Card
  • Intel Graphics
  • USB port for installation


  • A top Linux Distro for gaming on Linux
  • Steam Games integration
  • Third-party Drivers support
  • Advanced Graphics Stack
  • Desktop Application for everyday tasks
  • Exceptional Gaming Quality


  • Wine and Play on Linux Apps not supported
  • Known to have a few hiccups with installation
  • High-end Hardware requirements

Download SteamOS here

2. Lakka OS

“Lakka is a lightweight Linux distribution that transforms a small computer into a full blown game console.”

Built on top of popular RetroArch Emulator, Lakka OS can convert even your old PCs with basic specs to a gaming console. If you loved playing games on your gaming consoles, Lakka is just the right choice for you.

This Linux distro supports multiple USB joypads and the software is optimized to run even on the lowest end computers. However, if you are on the lookout for a desktop/gaming distro, Lakka won’t work.

Key features in Lakka OS are quite similar to those included in your regular gaming consoles like Multiplayer, Savestates, Shaders, Netplay, and Rewind.

The primary objective of this Linux gaming distro is to convert your laptop or PC into a gaming console. Period.

If you love DIY, just get a Raspberry Pi and configure it with Lakka OS for a homemade gaming console for you.

Minimum Hardware Requirements for Lakka OS

  • 64-bit Intel or AMD Processor
  • 2 GB RAM
  • 50 GB Hard Disk Space
  • Intel HD Graphics Card/ Nvidia Graphics Card/ AMD Graphics Card/ VGA Graphics

Lakka OS can run on an array of devices including Raspberry Pi, WeTek Play and more. Just get the iso image on your USB or SD card and set it up on your ROM to experience gaming on your PC or laptop.

You can check the specific Hardware Support for Lakka here.


  • Easy to setup and install.
  • Lightweight and beautiful Interface (Resembling a gaming console).
  • USB joypads support.
  • Based on LibraELEC and RetroArch making it super powerful.
  • Can run even on low-end PCs and laptops.
  • Optimized software with a variety of emulators.
  • Multiple Graphics cards supported.
  • Stable & portable Linux distro for gaming purposes.


  • Doesn’t support Windows and Linux Games.
  • You can’t play Steam games.

Download Lakka Here

3. Ubuntu Gamepack

Created by a Ukrainian Company UALinux, this Linux distro aims to fill the gap there was in Linux gaming. With a strong backing from Ubuntu, this distro promises a guaranteed access across more than 22381 games.

More so, Lutris and Steam Client come preinstalled so you can easily benefit from playing games from the providers.

For Windows game lovers, you have Wine and Crossover platforms that can easily run Window compatible games for you.

Now with Ubuntu, there’s always more…

The Gamepack version also includes Sparky APTU Gamer to allow access for a multitude of gaming console emulators on your laptop/PC.

Also if you love to play games online, Gamepack won’t disappoint you. Oracle Java and Adobe Flash is also supported to enable browser-based games on your PC.

Minimum Hardware Requirements for Ubuntu Gamepack

  • 2Ghz Dual Core Processor
  • 2 GB RAM
  • 25 GB Hard Disk Space
  • DVD/USB Port for installation


  • Based on Ubuntu. Hence, a stable and reliable gaming distro.
  • Access to play both Linux and Windows Games.
  • Java and Flash Support for browser enabled games.
  • Sparky APTU installed for access to a number of Gaming Console Emulators.
  • Desktop Environment Mate for other everyday tasks.


  • Slightly slower as compared to other gaming distros.
  • Few hiccups with certain Graphics Drivers.

Download Gamepack here

4. Solus

“A modern operating system to power your daily needs. Install today, update forever.”

Solus is an independent Linux distro based on Linux OS. Designed for 64-bit systems, this distro comes with a visually appealing user interface which is also very easy to use and a great choice for beginners.

If you’re just starting out on Linux but love games, Go with Solus. Also, keep in mind that recently this year, Solus became a rolling-update distro guarantees regular patches and updates.

Now, talking about why we are here:

Games, of course! Solus ships with an official integration with Steam. So be assured of an easy setup and installation of steam games on your Linux system.

As a bonus, the homegrown flagship desktop environment Budgie is a delight to use. Still, if you love the variety you can always select from the other Desktop Environment it offers MATE, GNOME and obviously Budgie.

Minimum Hardware Requirements for Solus

  • 64-bit (x86_64) Processor
  • 2 GB RAM
  • 10 GB Disk Space
  • DVD/USB for installation


  • Multipurpose Linux Distro.
  • Official Integration with Steam.
  • Supports gaming platforms like Lutris,
  • Variety of gaming controllers and gamepads supported.
  • Beautiful flagship Desktop environment.
  • Optimized gaming runtime.
  • Easy setup minus the hassles.
  • Native support for many open-source games like Warzone 2100, Freeciv, Red Eclipse.


  • Bugs in Package inclusion policy.

Download Solus Here

5. Game Drift Linux

Are you serious about Gaming? Get Game Drift!

Based on Ubuntu Linux, Game Drift is a Linux distro dedicated and designed entirely for gaming. The overall display and environment of this gaming distribution are pleasing and impressive.

Also, it comes with out-of-the-box support for Windows Games and of course, Linux Games as well (duh-uh!). Crossover platform enables you to play Windows compatible games like Need-for-speed, Counter-strike, Hitman and many others.

For game lovers, there’s also a built-in game store with high-quality Linux games such as Amnesia- Dark Descent, Savage 2 and even old classics like StuntRally and AssaultCube.

Game Drift is one of the best Linux distros for gaming and optimized to give hardcore and new gamers, alike, a great gaming experience.

Further, there are new game titles updated regularly on the game drift Linux for you to explore.

Minimum Hardware Requirements for Game Drift Linux

  • 1-2 GHz Processor (32-bit/64-bit)
  • 1-2 GB RAM
  • 4GB Hard Disk Space
  • ATI, NVidia or Intel Graphics Adapter (dependent on the games you play)


  • Linux distro optimized for gaming.
  • Built-in Game Store with latest and classic high-quality Linux games.
  • Built-in support for Windows and Linux Games.
  • Preinstalled Crossover for Windows game support.
  • Works even on low-spec hardware.


  • Cross Over Trial expires after 30 days. For further use, you’ll have to pay.

Download Game Drift Here

6. SparkyLinux Gameover

SparkyLinux is a Linux distribution built on the “testing” branch of Debian. Game over is a special edition of SparkyLinux targeted specifically at gamers.

This lightweight Distro can even be run using a Live USB/DVD and embarks minimal yet powerful features.

With its lightweight desktop environments like E19, LXDE and Openbox and own custom tools, Sparky is also available in a rolling release edition that keeps the software updated regularly.

Moreover, it provides an out of the box Linux distro for gaming and other utility tasks.

That’s just the start!

Sparkylinux Gameover has built-in Steam, Wine, and PlayonLinux. So consider yourself sorted to play all favorite Linux and Windows games. To get you started, it also comes with pre-installed popular Linux games as well.

Additionally, there is also inbuilt Sparky APTUs Gamer for support of multiple gaming console emulators.

Just wait…

There’s more.

New Applications like Sparky Internet Archive (Sparky-ia) lets you launch and play online games easily from categories across Classic PC Games, Internet Arcade, and MS-Dos Games.

So if you love Linux and want to play both Linux and Windows Games, get yourself SparkyLinux Gameover edition. It is available for both 32-bit and 64-bit systems.

Minimum Hardware Requirements for SparkyLinux Gameover

  • i586 or AMD64 Processor
  • 256 MB RAM
  • 20 GB Hard Disk Space
  • DVD/USB for installation


  • Stable Linux Distro specially designed for gaming.
  • Preinstalled Linux Games.
  • built-in support for Steam, Wine and PlayonLinux
  • Sparky APTU Gamer for compatibility with a variety of gaming console emulators.
  • Stable and Rolling Release available


  • A little slower than other Linux distros

Download SparkyLinux Gameover here

7. Fedora Game Spin

“Play with Fedora Today”

Fedora Game Spin is a perfect example of the capabilities of Fedora. The main aim is to provide new and intermediate gamers with an out of the box Linux distributions with pre-installed thousands of games.

While it is not as good as the other Linux distros mentioned above, Fedora enthusiasts can definitely give this distro a try.

However, you’ll have to go around and install Steam, Wine and PlayonLinux manually in this distro. Furthermore, third-party drivers may have to be installed as well.

Talking about the positives, the range of games this spin offers is quite impressive.

“The Fedora Games spin offers a perfect show-case of the best games available in Fedora. The included games span several genres, from first person shooters to real-time and turn based strategy games to puzzle games. Not all the games available in Fedora are included on this spin, but trying out this spin will give you a fair impression of Fedora’s abilities to run great games.”

You’ll find games like Extreme Tux Racer, Wesnoth, BZFlag, Freeciv and many more on this Linux distro.

Minimum Hardware Requirements for SparkyLinux Gameover

  • 2GHz Processor
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 10 GB Hard Disk Space
  • DVD/USB for installation
  • Intel HD Graphics


  • Pre-Installed thousands of Games
  • Lightweight and stable interface.
  • Reliable Linux distro for gaming.
  • Runs on a Live USB


  • No out-of the box support for Steam, Wine or PlayonLinux.
  • Manual installation of third-party drivers.
  • Not an ideal choice for hardcore gamers.

Download Fedora Game Spin Here

Which is the best Linux Distro for Gaming Out There? – Final Verdict

As with most Linux distros, there is just no “best Linux gaming distros” out there. It depends entirely upon your gaming choices and experience for which distro you should go with.

As a personal recommendation, if you have a PC lying around forever and you loved playing on a Gaming console, go with Lakka OS. For Windows and Linux Games, you can opt for either Ubuntu Gamepack or SparkyLinux Gameover.

Whichever Linux distro you may pick, each has its own pros and a few cons as noted above. Just do a quick live run with each of these and go with the one that appeals you the most.

Also, you may check out this quick list of best Linux Distros for beginners if you’re just starting out with Linux. That’ll make all the difference.

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