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Linux use on Steam ends 2023 with a multi-year high (thanks Steam Deck)

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Valve's latest Steam Hardware & Software Survey is out now for December 2023, and it shows that Linux and Steam Deck overall finished 2023 on a very positive note.

Something I continue showing over time on our Steam Tracker, we can see that December 2023 is the highest it's been in multiple years. Only just beating the previous high of July 2023 by 0.01%! This is all largely thanks to Valve's Steam Deck that ships with SteamOS Linux, and Proton that continues to help tens of thousands of games be playable on Linux systems.

Here's the December 2023 overall operating system results:

  • Windows 96.40% -0.16%
  • Linux 1.97% +0.06%
  • OSX 1.63% +0.10%

And just on the Linux side the most popular Linux distributions for gaming on Steam are:

  • SteamOS Holo 64 bit (Steam Deck) 40.53% -2.46%
  • Arch Linux 64 bit 7.85% +0.04%
  • Ubuntu 22.04.3 LTS 64 bit 7.04% +0.37%
  • Freedesktop SDK 23.08 (Flatpak runtime) 64 bit 5.22% +5.22%
  • Linux Mint 21.2 64 bit 4.70% +0.45%
  • Manjaro Linux 64 bit 3.64% -0.15%
  • Pop!_OS 22.04 LTS 64 bit 3.03% +0.35%
  • Other 27.99% +1.51%

It's worth noting that the Steam Deck has been a top seller over the last few weeks too. For the week starting Tuesday, November 14th it went back to 1st place globally on Steam (in supported regions obviously) and remained number 1 until Tuesday, December 19th where it dropped to 2nd place and has remained 2nd the following week up until today. So clearly Valve are still shifting plenty of units.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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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.
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31 comments
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Dorrit Jan 2
Somehow I feel comfortable mingling in a niche community.
Good enough to be above Apple.
I bought the newer OLED Steam Deck.

I sold my younger, not very technical, brother my LCD Steam Deck a month or so ago.

Other than explaining it to be “like a Nintendo Switch, but plays PC games” I didn’t elaborate on anything else.

He’s not technical and doesn’t understand why I “have some weird OS on my computer”.

Asked him recently how he liked the Deck:
“It’s awesome, no issues!”

One day I’ll tell him more about the “weird OS” 😂
Obligatory "the Steam Deck still isn't sold in Australia/New Zealand two years on" comment. Even though I'm not going to buy it because I already own enough Linux machines.

On another note, I've been a Linux user for four years this month. On the one hand, I never thought I would stay, but now I can't imagine going back.
nlborlcl Jan 3
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Quoting: pleasereadthemanualI already own enough Linux machines.

(confused unga bunga) <meme>
JRayLamb Jan 3
Quoting: pleasereadthemanualObligatory "the Steam Deck still isn't sold in Australia/New Zealand two years on" comment. Even though I'm not going to buy it because I already own enough Linux machines.

On another note, I've been a Linux user for four years this month. On the one hand, I never thought I would stay, but now I can't imagine going back.

I don't know if I want to humble brag or not. I started in late 1994 with the Yggdrasil release with kernel 0.99pl13. X was a seperate download and compile which took a looooong time on that 486DX50 with 4mb of RAM.

I spent New Years Eve installing Gentoo on one machine and trying to kdesrc-build the lastest Plasma 6 beta on another. It got me to thinking how bloody far the Linux ecosystem has come since 1995.
ageres Jan 3
What is "Freedesktop SDK 23.08 (Flatpak runtime) 64 bit" and why has it risen from 0 to 5%? Was it some SteamOS update that changed something and affected the Steam Deck statistics?
CatKiller Jan 3
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Quoting: ageresWhat is "Freedesktop SDK 23.08 (Flatpak runtime) 64 bit" and why has it risen from 0 to 5%? Was it some SteamOS update that changed something and affected the Steam Deck statistics?
It's Flatpak Steam. It has a new version number, which is why that entry is new and the previous entry has dropped off the list. Exactly the same as the versioned Ubuntu entries, but unlike the unversioned Arch entry.
CatKiller Jan 3
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Quoting: Purple Library GuyAt any rate, in an odd way a good sign. I mean, I'm happy the Deck exists and believe it has led increased Linux adoption for gaming. But, if overall Linux is up despite Steam OS within that being down, that means overall Linux is clearly growing. That's a happy thing for me, since I want to see continued growth of desktop Linux in general, along with growth in use of the Steam Deck in particular; it wouldn't be so great if the Steam Deck became huge but the rest of desktop Linux shrank and became an irrelevant appendage.

Of course, caveats as usual given the bounciness of polls and the unknown nature of Steam sampling--none of this data is necessarily that real. But taken at face value, it's nice.
Agreed. My preferred scenario is that the Deck never grows to more than half of the Linux market and they both grow in tandem. Proton and the Steam Linux Runtime are very useful abstractions for developers to target all of Linux without worrying about specific details, but I wouldn't want my desktop machine to be forced under the limits of the Deck because that's the only Linux they're considering.
Quoting: nlborlcl
Quoting: pleasereadthemanualI already own enough Linux machines.

(confused unga bunga) <meme>
I've probably said it before, but I don't have a use for the Steam Deck. I don't play games when I go outside, and if I did, I'd prefer access to a computer with a real keyboard, like a laptop. Same goes for going overseas. I can take my laptop with me around the house, and even take it to my bed if I want. And most of the games I play are not from Steam. And I'm usually jumping between a web browser, Anki, and the game I'm playing frequently, which is hard on a handheld device.

I don't think I'd care much for the desktop experience of SteamOS, either.

I'm happy the Steam Deck's success has meant more investment in Gamescope, Wine, DXVK, VKD3D, HDR, and tons of other things from Valve. I don't really understand the Steam Deck from where I'm sitting (nor do I understand owning a modern console), but I also understand I'm not the target audience.

Quoting: JRayLambI don't know if I want to humble brag or not. I started in late 1994 with the Yggdrasil release with kernel 0.99pl13. X was a seperate download and compile which took a looooong time on that 486DX50 with 4mb of RAM.

I spent New Years Eve installing Gentoo on one machine and trying to kdesrc-build the lastest Plasma 6 beta on another. It got me to thinking how bloody far the Linux ecosystem has come since 1995.
Don't take this the wrong way, but I'm glad I only got into Linux recently

I'm excited for Linux in 2024 in a way I haven't been before. Please work out, NVK...
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