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Steam Play Proton is correctly tracking Linux sales, a statement from Valve

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Recently we put up an article highlighting a possible issue with how Valve were counting Steam Play Proton sales, here's a full correction and more information.

In the previous article, it referenced a Reddit post and Valve's quick statement at the time that Steam Play Proton might not have listed Linux as the platform for a game sale. We also added an update to that article today, after speaking to a developer whose Windows-only title was purchased by myself (and others) as they had told us they saw no Linux sales which seemingly confirmed there was an issue.

As it turns out, the system is working correctly but there was a filtering issue.

Valve reached out today to GOL to issue this statement:

Hi Liam,

We've looked at the issue and don't believe there's a platform tracking problem.

On the reporting side, there are two different ways that partner track how their
game is doing on Steam. There's a per-game summary page; that one gets updated fairly quickly. There's also a detailed monthly financial reports breaking down all the payments made to a publisher, with some amount of delay.

While Linux sales were tracked properly throughout, there was filtering in place that did not separate "Linux Units and Revenue" from "Total Units and Revenue" on the per-game summary page. This would only occur when an application was not launchable via Linux, and was purely a display issue. As can be noted by checking any of the previous monthly financial reports, these transactions were separated out into Windows/Mac/Linux for all applications (regardless of their supported platforms) at the time of payment. We have made a change to the summary page to also show Linux units when they exist for an application; I expect it should help reduce confusion around this situation.

Thanks for bringing this to our attention,
 - Pierre-Loup

It's really great to see Valve keep on top of this, communicate with us on it and act so quickly to ensure there's no more confusion for developers going forward. Hopefully then, it means this issue can be put to rest and everyone gaming on Linux can continue enjoying whatever they like.

Confused on what Steam Play and Proton are? Be sure to check out our simple guide.

Update 26/02: Got a reply today from Valve to clarify other sales. The Steam Desktop client takes the initial platform, then two weeks playtime to count. All others (Android, Browser) default to Windows and then two weeks playtime. So of you buy games outside of the Linux Steam client, ensure you're loading them up for a bit otherwise it's a Windows platform sale.

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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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beko Feb 20, 2020
Liam doing the good work again
scaine Feb 20, 2020
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That's honestly a huge relief! And now it should be more obvious to devs too. Great result!
herbert Feb 20, 2020
Hope this will catch the attention of Windows only games devs ! "Why the f*** do I have Linux sales ? I thought it was for servers only !"

Last edited by herbert on 20 February 2020 at 1:04 am UTC
Shmerl Feb 20, 2020
Liam: That's indeed very good communication from them. Impressive! May be you can try contacting GOG too, to find out, why lately their Linux support is plagued with so many problems? But they might not want to answer something like "we cut support to below bare minimum".

Last edited by Shmerl on 20 February 2020 at 1:27 am UTC
Purple Library Guy Feb 20, 2020
Well, hurrah!
That really is good--issue found, issue clarified, issue fixed, process communicated. Nails it.

Last edited by Purple Library Guy on 20 February 2020 at 3:03 am UTC
areamanplaysgame Feb 20, 2020
So, do we actually know the rules now? Let's say I buy a Windows-only game on a Linux machine, but I don't install or play it for a few weeks. Is it counted as a Linux sale, or does it default to Windows?

I'm asking because I accidentally did this with Divinity: Original Sin 2. I mean, I didn't accidentally buy it, but I accidentally didn't install it soon enough. Life gets in the way.

Last edited by areamanplaysgame on 20 February 2020 at 4:24 am UTC
Salvatos Feb 20, 2020
I was hoping it would be something like this - i.e. they kept track as intended but weren’t properly reporting it. Glad this was caught and made clearer for developers.
alexbrrsclnt Feb 20, 2020
Now It would be valuable to check if the same Windows game dev could try to look again in his sales summary if the change was applied and now sees Liam's and other linux sales in his game.

Last edited by alexbrrsclnt on 20 February 2020 at 6:57 am UTC
sub Feb 20, 2020

Btw, since you have direct contacts to Valve, did you ever received
a word from them concerning HL:Alyx and Linux?

I understand that if you got an answer you either not allowed to share it
or don't want to.

But did they answered at all?

*sigh *This is really very unsatisfaying. :/
coolbober Feb 20, 2020
Liam. Well done.
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