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Steam's latest Hardware Survey is out, shows Linux at 0.84%

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The latest Steam Hardware Survey is now available and if you take it at face value it doesn't look so good for Linux. I am remaining positive as always about it. I'm not going to give it some sensationalist headline about it being terrible or anything like that, I will simply give you some thoughts on it.

First up, the facts:
Linux is currently at 0.84%, which doesn't sound like a lot and there is a drop over last months 0.90%.

Now, onto some thoughts:
The key thing to remember is Steam overall is always growing, so a lower overall percentage of Linux users doesn't necessarily mean there are less Linux users on Steam (it could actually be more, but dwarfed by also having even more Windows users on Steam). An older article from Cheese states this:
QuoteFirst up, it can be easy to miss that percentages are ratios. When looking at changes over time, an increase or decrease in percentages doesn't necessarily mean that there is a corresponding increase or decrease in the population represented by that percentage.


Before reading this next part, I should remind you this is an editorial. These are my personal thoughts on it and I could be wrong. I accept that, but I think it's interesting anyway.

You can make it appear by simply having different hardware or a different operating system. It seems to detect when you change things, as if it knows it needs to check on you again. This is by design of course, as the entire point of it is to show what people are currently using, so if you've changed something it wants to know about it and send it along. This is one reason why people keep saying they see it when they boot into Windows after not using it for a while, of course you will, that's a change in your setup. This is another reason why I dislike it, as that can create an unintentional bias in the results. This bias isn't against Linux though, as it would work the same the opposite way around of course. This is why I feel the results were actually a lot higher for Linux initially, as it did a survey for a big bunch of Windows/Mac users trying it and submitting it on Linux before moving back to Windows/Mac.

A good bit of reading was a recent editorial titled "A different approach to calculating the popularity of Linux gaming on Steam" which will help put your mind at ease.

I would also like to point out that I personally feel things are still looking good, as I wrote in a recent editorial.

Also remember, we have our own statistics page which is currently in BETA. Would love more feedback on that, seems people like it so far! Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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42 comments
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Cybolic 2 Jun, 2016
I run Steam in Big Picture constantly to better enjoy my Steam Controller, and I suspect most who have the controller are doing the same. Before I got the controller, though, I hadn't had the survey in.... years?

In any case, it's a hardware survey; no one should be using it to count Linux users.


Last edited by Cybolic on 2 June 2016 at 1:38 am UTC
Skully 2 Jun, 2016
I have 5 Linux machines in the house, and each one gets the survey approximately once every 3 months. No hardware changes or os changes. I found that my main gaming machine almost never got the at first. The only difference with that machine was it auto started steam minimized to the tray icon on boot up. After turning that off it started getting them. You also don't get the pop up with the news feed thing steam has if you have it auto start.

Edit: I have recently started dual booting the main gaming rig. And it now gets the survey in both windows and linux once every 3 months aprox.


Last edited by Skully on 2 June 2016 at 2:22 am UTC
GNUzel 2 Jun, 2016
I don't get the survey on Windows, Linux or OS X.
Guest 2 Jun, 2016
I dont ever get surveys on linux anymore.
peterp771 2 Jun, 2016
Right now, lets be honest and say there's no reason for the average Windows user to switch to Linux.

There are still many AAA games on Windows that are not on Linux. And overall, the performance on Windows is better than Linux due to things like better driver support and the fact that most games are written to run on Windows with Linux versions ported later. While companies like Feral and VP have done a fantastic job porting big games to Linux, in many Window's users minds, the performance difference may still be significant for them.

Clearly it's going to take time. Hopefully, with better driver support (Vulkan adoption will help) and with more big titles being ported/released on Linux these numbers will inevitably change.
wolfyrion 2 Jun, 2016
Well DOOM and Dark Souls 3 released previous month so it was obvious that people would want to play these games.

This month is Total War:Warhammer

So dont expect the Linux gaming community to rise its numbers at any given time...
Adinimys 2 Jun, 2016
As Valve ever said something about these problems ?
The survey not showing in Big Picture mode, a hardaware survey used for the OS and the strong impression that it shows way more on Windows ?
Maybe it's efficient as a hardware survey so they left it like this and forgot to think about the effect on Linux numbers perception ?

What about us Linux users emailing them in group ? Or using GOL social media channels to start spreading the word of the issue ?
I have the impression that outside the world of Linux, people are not aware of this problem so we might as well qtarting talking about it son't you think ?
FredO 2 Jun, 2016
Quoting: wolfyrionWell DOOM and Dark Souls 3 released previous month so it was obvious that people would want to play these games.

This month is Total War:Warhammer

So dont expect the Linux gaming community to rise its numbers at any given time...

This is it. Just look at the number of concurrent users playing Total War: Warhammer since release - it's a crazy number. If they had had a day one release on Linux too, these numbers may have looked a bit different this month.
jasondaigo 2 Jun, 2016
no surveys seen in years + i buy at g2a. i ruin it continously maybe :-)
logge 2 Jun, 2016
I got the survey yesterday. But I do have steam enabled every day. But yes, its my fault. Didn't play too much last month.
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