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Valve have put out their usual monthly Steam Hardware Survey, which shows a bigger decline than usual for the Linux marketshare.

Last month, Linux was sat at 0.60%, but as of October it has dropped to 0.35% which is a sharper drop than usual. It's worth noting, that Mac had an even bigger drop.

It's easy to see why though, China is now the biggest market on Steam according to their survey. Simplified Chinese has increased by +26.83% making their share of Steam's market at 56.37%. That's a huge influx of users from that region, which can easily account for the reason Linux has been dropping recently.

When you look at it even further, Windows specifically has 57.45% (an increase of +26.99%) using Simplified Chinese as their language. Compare that with Linux, and only 0.53% (a drop of -0.11%) use Simplified Chinese. Linux just isn't popular in that region, so again, the drop does make sense and can be accounted for.

A large portion of that increase has likely been fuelled by PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS, which is not available on Linux and is the most played game on Steam right now. There's also rumours of it being banned in China, which has likely caused another surge in people taking a look at it.

I should remind you, that a drop in the marketshare doesn't mean less users. It likely means that Windows growth here due to the two above points has just dwarfed any possible increase in Linux gamers on Steam.

I don't see this as any reason to panic, at all. Once the hype around PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS starts to vanish, the numbers will likely start to even out again.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: Steam
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Grazen 2 Nov, 2017
The numbers don't make sense and are likely wrong. There's no other datapoints anywhere (outside of the survey) indicating a huge increase in Windows 7 use. In past surveys Windows 7 declined relative to Windows 10, so yes, this looks like a huge surge in reported users. It would be nice if Valve released the total user base in addition to the percentages. I haven't looked closely at the rest of the numbers, but I wonder if there's also a measurable shift in the average machine / processors and GPU. Will check. Note that this would represents somewhere in the order of an additional 20,000,000 PUBG players if it's accurate, in one month, and there's no evidence that the game has grown that much either online or via released statements.
hardpenguin 2 Nov, 2017
Quoting: peterp771(...)

If the Steam survey didn't count the hordes of Windows users in China, I reckon the Linux share could well be around 4% by now.
Actually, I took some time to calculate that using data from Steam survey and the proportions method (https://www.mathsisfun.com/algebra/proportions.html)

If users using Steam in Simplified Chinese are 56% of overall userbase (according to the survey), then 44% are non-Chinese users (I skipped users using Traditional Chinese, since they represent a tiny fraction).

Using proportions:

0.35 - 44
x - 100


Then x is 0.79 percent. That would be Linux share on non-Chinese markets.

But most of Linux users use Steam in English. English users are currently 21% of Steam userbase, according to the latest data. Then we can easily calculate:

0.35 - 21
x - 100


x is 1.6%. That is Linux share on English language market.


Last edited by hardpenguin on 2 November 2017 at 2:20 pm UTC
Eike 2 Nov, 2017
Quoting: hardpenguinBut most of Linux users use Steam in English.

I doubt this.

As hardpenguin pointed out below, it's a stunning 90%.


Last edited by Eike on 2 November 2017 at 3:20 pm UTC
hardpenguin 2 Nov, 2017
Quoting: Eike
Quoting: hardpenguinBut most of Linux users use Steam in English.

I doubt this.
You don't have to. We have the data:
Brisse 2 Nov, 2017
Quoting: Eike
Quoting: hardpenguinBut most of Linux users use Steam in English.

I doubt this.

I did as well, but then I checked which language my Steam install was. I use it daily and I didn't even realize it was in English. :)

No English is not my first language nor is it the language of my Ubuntu install.
x_wing 2 Nov, 2017
Quoting: hardpenguin
Quoting: peterp771(...)

If the Steam survey didn't count the hordes of Windows users in China, I reckon the Linux share could well be around 4% by now.
Actually, I took some time to calculate that using data from Steam survey and the proportions method (https://www.mathsisfun.com/algebra/proportions.html)

If users using Steam in Simplified Chinese are 56% of overall userbase (according to the survey), then 44% are non-Chinese users (I skipped users using Traditional Chinese, since they represent a tiny fraction).

Using proportions:

0.35 - 44
x - 100


Then x is 0.79 percent. That would be Linux share on non-Chinese markets.

But most of Linux users use Steam in English. English users are currently 21% of Steam userbase, according to the latest data. Then we can easily calculate:

0.35 - 21
x - 100


x is 1.6%. That is Linux share on English language market.

Your numbers are correct if you accept that there are no chinese linux users (which is almost true) and that 100% Linux steam users speak english (which is not so true).

My biggest problem of the montly results of Steam is that the Chinese users got to nearly a half of all users account, but if I see concurrent connected users stats, I don't see such increase in numbers. In fact (and what is more extrange), the peak of concurrent users didn't move from Western timezones. I mean, if there really are more users in Asia, why we didn't see a grow in concurrent users for prime time of eastern timezones? Definitely the biggest grow up comes from multi-account users...


Last edited by x_wing on 2 November 2017 at 2:51 pm UTC
Samsai 2 Nov, 2017
Quoting: x_wingMy biggest problem of the montly results of Steam is that the Chinese users got to nearly a half of all users account, but if I see concurrent connected users stats, I don't see such increase in numbers. In fact (and what is more extrange), the peak of concurrent users didn't move from Western timezones. I mean, if there really are more users in Asia, why we didn't see a grow in concurrent users for prime time of eastern timezones? Definitely the biggest grow up comes from multi-account users...
Some people have formed a theory which states that a significant portion of the Chinese PUBG players get their accounts banned through either cheating or scamming and just setup new accounts. Each of those newly registered accounts would probably have a fairly high chance of being counted in the Steam survey. I am not sure how well that theory holds up but I guess it's something to consider.
Aimela 2 Nov, 2017
Huh, I guess that also explains all the spam in the Steam forums that are either in Chinese or the username is in Chinese and the only game owned for those accounts is PUBG.


Last edited by Aimela on 2 November 2017 at 3:47 pm UTC
Kimyrielle 2 Nov, 2017
Quoting: Guest
Quoting: FredOWhile the number of Chinese users is exploding on Steam, Gabe Newell has quietly moved into the top 100 rich list in the U.S
That's pretty amazing considering his company doesn't seem to finish off many of their projects :D

They do. Just many of us won't live long enough to see them completed.
MintedGamer 2 Nov, 2017
Quoting: peterp771This article makes a lot of sense and confirms what many of us suspected for a long time.

I never did believe the arguments that Linux Steam market share is low because of driver issues or not enough games or performance issues etc as others often say. Linux started off at 2% and drivers today are much better than they were in 2013 and we have lots more games including several AAA titles. Linux gaming has made huge strives since then and to go backwards in marketshare makes no sense, unless you count all the new Chinese users coming online.

If the Steam survey didn't count the hordes of Windows users in China, I reckon the Linux share could well be around 4% by now.

This. It just proves the Steam stats are inaccurate if they can change by 26% / millions of users at the drop of a hat.
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