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Linux usage on Steam is better than people think

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The latest Steam Hardware Survey is out, and as usual some websites are claiming the death of SteamOS. We are here with a better outlook.

February 2016
Linux: 0.91% - 0.04%

If you only take the latest stats at face value alone, you are of course going to see articles containing things like this:
PC WorldValve's considerable efforts on behalf of Linux-based gaming just aren't paying off.

Source - I actually like a lot of PC World's stuff, but this article needed a little more research which I hope they do in future.

There's some key things here that people just aren't covering (or they just aren't aware which is possible).
- The first and most important thing is that SteamOS and Steam Big Picture just don't show a survey, and that's a fact we actually covered.

- Linking into that above fact, for all we know a bunch of people are now using a SteamOS machine rather than their desktop for gaming (or the PC linked to their TV now uses SteamOS rather than another distribution which is what I did), so they aren't tracked at all by this survey. I might have even been one of them, since I use mine regularly.

- The third important thing to remember is that the Steam user-base is constantly growing, and at a rather decent pace too. This growth in general means that even if the Linux percentage on Steam is shown as slightly lower it's actually bigger overall. It's just that Steam's growth is outpacing Linux growth by itself to show a positive uptake on the Steam Hardware Survey.

I would also like to just point out in general, that the percentages we are talking about here are so low it could even be put down to statistical anomalies. We're not only talking below 1% here, we're talking a 0.04% drop over last month, that's a tiny percentage.

Honestly, I think Valve are starting to do more damage month after month having the Operating System (software) in a Hardware survey. I wish they would do something to fix this. It's a hardware survey after all, and you can trigger it easily with a change of hardware or operating system so it's not a great measure to use. How many of you have said about seeing it in Wine, or booting into Windows to see it pop up? I see lots of comments on that.

Linux is actually doing quite well overall looking at the games we have gained, and the games we will be getting. We also have Vulkan coming along which could offer a performance boost for the heavier games.

We also now have well over 1900 games available on Steam for Linux and that number is growing at a great pace. We have Feral Interactive about to announce what looks like two titles too, here and here.

You can also see on SteamDB how many games are likely to come to Linux in future too (quite a lot), and that's only games that have bits stored on Steam. Plenty of games still manage to hide from it before release.

So remember to stay strong, and keep buying those Linux games. Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: Editorial, Steam
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About the author -
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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. Find me on Mastodon.
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49 comments
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lucinos Mar 5, 2016
Quoting: PeciskWe don't need 2000 games on Steam playable on Linux - I want to know how much are recommended, I want to read good reviews

I agree but in fact things are even better in this regard! As I have pointed out the _average_ quality of linux games is in fact HIGHER than the average quality of windows games.

In averages things are actually very good. The problems are
a) linux games are a subset of windows games, so for someone going from windows to linux it seems he has less games
b) linux games are not evenly distributes across the genres. The result is that some people will find out that most of their games do support linux and other will find that most of their games do not support linux even though both categories did not buy any game with linux support in mind, it does happen because of the different genres people love. For some genres all good games support linux and for other too few support linux.
bubexel Mar 5, 2016
Half life 3 dont must be exclusive, it should be optimitzed same in linux than in windows, and show windows player that linux have bigger perfomance. It's the most fair and best option.
ertuqueque Mar 5, 2016
I switched to Linux a year and a half ago, I use Steam almost everyday and not even once I've received a Steam Survey... Every month I check the "netmarkedshare" webpage to see more or less the Linux usage. I find it more realistic and "close to real world" usage: http://www.netmarketshare.com/operating-system-market-share.aspx?qprid=9&qpcustomb=0

For February, it showed a 1.78% Linux usage... an increase over January (1.71%).

Is not Steam usage, I know, but I think it reflects better the Linux usage ratio in Steam that the actual Steam Survey crap.


Last edited by ertuqueque on 5 March 2016 at 11:41 am UTC
Pecisk Mar 5, 2016
Half-Life 3 if it comes could have some extra things for SteamOS - similar to collection edition, etc. However I don't believe Valve specially plans for these things and Half-Life 3 is still somehow a inception, although I believe they are working on it (or at least they are propping up Source 2 engine for it).
Mohandevir Mar 5, 2016
Since when does PCWorld cares about Steam Hardware survey?

Wierd timing, it happens at the same time of Tim Sweeney (Epic Games) public attack against UWP (Windows Store).

This is a subject in which they seemed quite biased when covering it too. They used lots of easy shortcuts to discredit Tim Sweeney.

I'm beginning to have doubt about PCWorld's objectivity.


Last edited by Mohandevir on 5 March 2016 at 12:07 pm UTC
toor Mar 5, 2016
Here: http://www.jeuxvideo.com/news/461763/linux-et-le-jeu-video-un-beau-roman-d-amitie-qui-ne-fait-pas-recette-sur-steam.htm
The most famous french video game website also just released an article about how "failure steam is with linux". Claiming that it's not going well at all and will disappear.
Do you think microsoft is getting major video game medias to give a bad image of steamOS ? :þ
Cybolic Mar 5, 2016
Quoting: ertuquequeI switched to Linux a year and a half ago, I use Steam almost everyday and not even once I've received a Steam Survey... Every month I check the "netmarkedshare" webpage to see more or less the Linux usage. I find it more realistic and "close to real world" usage: http://www.netmarketshare.com/operating-system-market-share.aspx?qprid=9&qpcustomb=0

For February, it showed a 1.78% Linux usage... an increase over January (1.71%).

Is not Steam usage, I know, but I think it reflects better the Linux usage ratio in Steam that the actual Steam Survey crap.
I've been running Steam daily on Linux since 2013 and have received the survey exactly once. During the brief period where I used Steam through Wine (to play Batman and Deus Ex), I received it about 3 times, in the period of about two months, so yeah, you're not alone.

I really, really, really wished people would learn what the individual words in "hardware survey" mean so we can end this ridiculousness.
Mal Mar 5, 2016
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Quoting: toorDo you think microsoft is getting major video game medias to give a bad image of steamOS ? :þ

? Ofc they do.
amonobeax Mar 5, 2016
Boss I 100% agree that there're missing data.

That said, saying the missing data will change considerably is a assumption without any grounding.

Let's not forget we're not at the same page as Windows feature wise. Many linux users don't care, but we're talking about ppl coming from the Windows ecosystem their racionality might differ from ours.

One thing I'd like to know which are happening the most: (I) ppl switching OSes OR (II) ppl adding a new device - like steambox - with a new OS without abbandoning the windows ecosystem.
Valve has covered both possibilities with SteamOS/Linux development and the SteamBoxes.


Last edited by amonobeax on 5 March 2016 at 3:28 pm UTC
Eike Mar 5, 2016
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Quoting: toorThe most famous french video game website also just released an article about how "failure steam is with linux". Claiming that it's not going well at all and will disappear.
Do you think microsoft is getting major video game medias to give a bad image of steamOS ? :þ

I'll never ever believe they would take money for such artices, but I do need to mention:
Renowned German (paper) computer magazine "c't", AFAIK the computer magazine with most subscribers in whole Europe, has written a slating review about "disastrous" XCOM 2 Linux port (they've use the bad nvidia driver...):
http://www.heise.de/ct/ausgabe/2016-5-XCOM-2-Vergleich-mit-Windows-Linux-und-OS-X-3104587.html
http://www.heise.de/ct/artikel/Strategie-Hit-XCOM-2-Port-ist-Mord-3098163.html
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