After waiting a while to see if Valve issued any corrections, it seems that the latest Steam Hardware & Software Survey for March 2023 is staying as it is, with a huge surge of Simplified Chinese. The last time we saw such a thing, it was an error in the Steam Survey, as it was over-counting cyber cafe customers. This time, maybe not then.
Looking at the latest details it shows users with Simplified Chinese as their language now at 51.63% (+25.35%), knocking down English to 22.83%. That's the kind of increase that certainly raises a few eyebrows.
Due to the influx, it also caused the Linux user share to go from 1.27% in February to 0.84% in March. Quite a stark drop, since Linux isn't particularly popular in Asia and again, we've seen that happen before a few times when Simplified Chinese as a language choice on Steam goes up, the Linux share goes down with it.
The biggest winner on the survey is Windows 10 64 bit, which went up to 73.95% (+11.62%). Filtering it over to just the Linux details, these are the most popular distributions for March 2023:
- SteamOS Holo 64 bit 21.20% + 0.15%
- Arch Linux 64 bit 10.36% + 0.19%
- Ubuntu 22.04.2 LTS 64 bit 9.61% + 9.61%
- Freedesktop.org SDK 22.08 (Flatpak runtime) 64 bit 7.10% - 0.17%
- Manjaro Linux 64 bit 6.95% + 0.45%
- Other 44.79% + 8.33%
The question is of course: what's going on? What do you think has happened?
More can be seen over time on the GOL Steam Tracker.