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Linux Game Sales Statistics From Multiple Developers

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I reached out to a number of developers to see how their sales are doing across different operating systems, here are the results for you.

This was done after Simon Roth, the developer of Maia, commented that Linux was outselling Mac for him. Upon seeing this, I decided to dig a little deeper. I hope that at the start of 2015 I can do the same and compare the numbers, so make sure to mark it on your calendars to remind me.

This may only be part 1, if I can get hold of more developers I will do a part 2.

They are ordered from best to worst performing games sales wise for Linux, might be time to show the lower end some love?

85.9% Windows
8.3% Mac OSX
5.8% Linux

On asking the developers of continue if they plan to keep supporting Linux:

QuoteIt's worth it because otherwise I don't get those sales.

So it's very simple for this developer.

Puppy Games
89% Windows
6% Mac OSX
5% Linux
Statistics for all of their games on Steam over the last 12 months, Supplied to us in January 2014

Broken Rules - Statistics for Secrets of Rætikon
73% Windows
22% Mac OSX
5% Linux
All units sold since their Steam release on 7th January 2014

Steamworld Dig
87% Windows
9% Mac OSX
4% Linux

On asking the Steamworld Dig developers what they think of the numbers:


Brjann Sigurgeirsson, Image & FormIf you only see the figures, on the surface it may seem that we are unhappy with how the Linux version is performing. However, we're not - we think Linux is the ultimate kind of indie, and so we are happy to bring the game to Linux. It's always good to have one extra happy community than one that gets passed up the whole time.


Phr00t's Software
89% Windows
7.18% Mac OSX
3.74% Linux

91% Windows
6% Mac
2.7% Linux
Percentage given is for the share of revenue between platforms.

When asking Phr00t if the sales numbers put him off Linux ports he had this to say:

Phr00tWell, my main development machine is Linux, so it is pretty important I support Linux :-D I love knowing I'm using all free software & as much free content as possible to make my games. However, I do pay for services & content as needed (artists, models etc.)

Loren Amazon Princess
93% Windows
4% Mac OSX
3% Linux
Steam version since release.

When asking Winter Wolves about keeping Linux ports they said:

Winter Wolves GamesWell I always wanted to support Linux, especially with the incoming SteamOS, but my game worked on Linux since 2008. It helps when you use a great cross-platform lib built in python of course.

Defenders Quest
94.61% Windows
2.74% Mac
2.65% Linux
Since February 2013 when Linux support launched.

I also asked Lars the developer of Defenders Quest how he felt about support Linux in future:

QuoteI'm ideologically* committed to Linux regardless of how big the sales are -- and I choose cross-platform targets that make supporting Linux almost cost-free. There's a little extra support, but it's cheap enough that the extra sales are basically just gravy. Also the fact that I support Linux has helped me above and beyond the sales I get directly from Linux customers -- being included in the steam linux sale (and getting bonus windows sales), etc.

Steam is pushing linux HARD. It's clear that's where they want things to go in the future. So regardless of how things look now, even if I wasn't a Linux booster, where Steam goes, I follow.

Now if only GOG would start supporting Linux :)

*For instance, Windows just freaked out on me this very morning insisting that I had a counterfeit copy, and I lost an hour talking to Microsoft support to fix it.

Democracy 3
85.2% Windows
13% Mac OSX
1.8% Linux
Steam statistics since release.

When asking the developer if it dissuades him from future Linux ports:

Cliff HarrisNo, I think it will grow, due to steambox.

NEO Scavenger
90.7% Windows
7.6% Mac OSX
1.7% Linux

On asking the developer if he will continue with Linux ports:

Daniel FedorOn one hand, the Linux crowd has been super appreciative of my supporting their OS. I get a lot of praise for it, and even some nice shout-outs from both users and publications. Plus, I think it makes admission into certain programs easier (e.g. bundles and other events for cross-platform-only titles)

On the other hand, supporting Linux has pretty severely hobbled my options in NEO Scavenger. I'm using Flash/AS3 as my development language, which was fine on Linux back in 2011.

However, Adobe dropped the Flash projector format in 2012, which was my main way to create desktop versions of the game. This wouldn't have been an issue on its own, since they created AIR for this exact purpose.

The issue arose when Adobe also dropped AIR support for Linux, which is now frozen at an old and unwieldy version.

Moving forward, I expect my next game will be using Haxe/OpenFL and maybe HaxeFlixel. In theory, it should allow me the same ease-of-programming I'm used to, with all the power of first-class desktop applications (file system access, networking, hardware-enabled performance).

I just want to make games. If the platforms are easy enough to support, then they have my support!

92% Windows
7% Mac OSX
1% Linux

On asking David Rosen if they plan to continue supporting Linux:

David Rosen, WolfireWell, 1% of our Steam sales is actually a lot more than it costs to have a game professionally ported to Linux, so it's still a net win financially! But there are many other reasons to support Linux aside from raw direct sales, and aside from the principle of supporting free software. For example, Valve is putting their weight behind Linux as a new major gaming platform, and it was fun to see the Linux version of Overgrowth pre-installed on some of their demo boxes at Steam Dev Days. Also, as alway, it seems like Linux users are much more vocal on the internet than most users. I don't have hard data for this, but I would bet that they are also disproportionately represented among modders, detailed bug reporters, and participants in our community forums and chat rooms.

Rust - From the studio behind Garry's Mod
96.6% Windows
3% Mac OSX
0.4% Linux
Overall sales statistics from the Steam release.

My Thoughts
The numbers don't look very good overall if you directly compare it to Windows, but like with everything Linux I am personally pinning my hopes on Steam Machines & SteamOS giving us the boost we so deserve. We aren't that far off Mac numbers which is encouraging at least.

When you consider that just over a year ago Linux sales for developers on Steam would have officially been 0%, it's actually quite encouraging that after such a short time we are already making up 5% of sales for some of them.

What are your thoughts on these statistics then guys? Does it paint a good or bad picture for you?

Final note, a big thank you to all the developers covered here who took the time out of their busy developer lives to chat to me even for a moment on this topic.

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I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly.
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AoC 21 Jan, 2014
I would say we (Linux gamers) outspend any other base per user. That is one graph I would love to see if it's true. I buy many games I have no interest in just to support the devs

Look at HiB we usually spend close to what mac users do but we usually give >$1 more.

Linux users are disproportionate everything =)
Cui bono 21 Jan, 2014
Thanks for the great survey and thanks to the devs! (They now we love them :) )
HadBabits 21 Jan, 2014
Definitely encouraging :) Thanks for the investigative journalism, Liam ;)
Apopas 21 Jan, 2014
QuoteDavid Rosen, Wolfire
Well, 1% of our Steam sales is actually a lot more than it costs to have a game professionally ported to Linux
This says a lot!
Komek194132 21 Jan, 2014
Interesting, nice job.

I often buy my games under Windows 7, but actually play them under Linux. 
Pretty sure many people do that too; dual-booting is still very common among regular gamers, especially newcomers to Linux (like myself).

Don't despair, this is just the beginning. 
oldrocker99 21 Jan, 2014
Obviously, Paradox saw encouraging enough results from their Linux version of Crusader Kings II, that they released their flagship title Europa Universalis IV for Windows, Mac and Linux on the same day, and have released Linux ports of both Cities in Motion games.

I had predicted 2013 as The Year of Linux Gaming a year ago, and I think I underestimated just how big Steam's push would be. Certainly the Humble Bundles opened quite a few eyes.

2014 is going to be Very Special, with Wasteland 2 and Pillars of Eternity finally reaching download status, not to mention the still-beta Planetary Annihilation.
Cheeseness 21 Jan, 2014
Quoting: Quote from Maquis196I'd love to hear from Paradox Interactive on numbers.

Keep an eye out - Paradox are intending to share stuff very soon.

Quoting: Quote from RadegastI'd be really interested in what Frozenbyte have to say about their linux sales.

I reached out to them on Liam's behalf over the weekend, but haven't heard back yet. When we had them on SteamLUG Cast last year, we were told that Linux had outsold Mac for them on Steam.

I was surprised by the figures in this article. Aside from Wolfire, I wasn't aware of a developer with a decent commitment to Linux support who had had higher Mac than Linux sales.

Most of the developers that I regularly interact with have talked about numbers in excess of 10% for Linux users, and those who didn't had either actively done something which (justifiably or otherwise) didn't sit well with the Linux gaming community (such as PuppyGames pulling out of Desura, or Garry's cheeky jibes) or just didn't have Linux versions of their games available to buy outside of special promotions.

I'm hoping that a follow up to this article with responses from more developers will reveal a different landscape, but even the figures here do highlight that supporting Linux gaming is commercially viable, and that's really positive.
manny 21 Jan, 2014

yea I have a similar feeling about "early access" or alphas at the moment.

All those games are on my wishlist indeed so they're going to get purchases anyway, am just waiting a bit for maturity.

I mean devs are getting better at supporting linux, but a number of games still have bugs or don't install properly.

Also I have a big back catalogue that am trying to play, I mean we linux users got all these games all of the sudden that we happily purchased so is time to start enjoying them too :)

Anyway we need to grab more users from windows / consoles, so hopefully Valve's efforts will help a lot in these upcoming years.
tiger 21 Jan, 2014
To be fair, I don't own any of those games because IMHO they are bad. Obviously they will have bad sales on linux.
Mike Frett 21 Jan, 2014
To play devils advocate: If I were looking at those numbers trying to decide if I wanted to port my Game to Linux; I would be pretty discouraged right now and would probably decide not to.

As for my personal opinion: Windows is a majority of the Market, most people don't know what Linux is nor do they care if Windows has an NSA backdoor or if Windows killed their Cat. Generally people are ignorant and afraid of change even if it's good. Unfortunately, I don't think Steam Machines is going to change their mind.

If any Developers are reading this: We Linux users are the ones who woke up from our nightmare in the Matrix, we broke free from the chains of slavery. We are grateful that, while you may still live in the Matrix, you can see the light on the other side and are supplying us with the tools we need to wake more up from their nightmare. Thank you.
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