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Linux remains above macOS on the Steam Survey for January 2024

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The monthly Steam Hardware & Software Survey is here for January 2024, and while there was a drop for both Linux and macOS we're still seeing Linux be firmly in second place on Steam now. Interestingly, this month we saw both English and Simplified Chinese (the two most popular languages on Steam) fall with Russian seeing the biggest language jump (+0.60%).

Here's the operating systems overall:

  • Windows 96.52% +0.12%
  • Linux 1.95% -0.02%
  • macOS 1.54% -0.09%

With our updated graph found on our Steam Tracker:

Who honestly thought it would happen so soon? A couple of years ago it was thought to be impossible to see Linux overtake macOS. Of course, then we had the Steam Deck come along - which has a full Linux desktop mode, which has been what's pushing the numbers up.

Here's the most popular Linux distributions on Steam:

  • SteamOS Holo 64 bit 42.12% +1.59%
  • Arch Linux 64 bit 7.76% -0.09%
  • Ubuntu 22.04.3 LTS 64 bit 6.80% -0.24%
  • Freedesktop SDK 23.08 (Flatpak runtime) 64 bit 5.82% +0.60%
  • Linux Mint 21.2 64 bit 3.63% -1.07%
  • Manjaro Linux 64 bit 3.48% -0.16%
  • Pop!_OS 22.04 LTS 64 bit 2.76% -0.27%
  • Other 27.64% -0.35%

From the survey we can also see that 70.49% of people on Linux use an AMD processor, and 42.18% on Linux use the Steam Deck so the majority have stuck with SteamOS but it seems a few are using a different Linux distribution on their Deck.

See more on Steam's Survey.

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. Find me on Mastodon.
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55 comments
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Eike Feb 2
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Quoting: Liam Dawe
Quoting: EikeThe linear approximation to the curve really needs to be split into two parts! (somewhere in 2021?)

... or the software could come up with something non-linear?
Why?

Because the linear approximation systematically overestimates all of the oldest points and underestimates all of the youngest points (except a single one we would attribute to some measurement error, probably located in the far east). The line doesn't fit, and this not in a "jumpy" way (as to be to be expected), but in a systematical way. The curve to be approximated isn't linear, at least not over the whole time.

So we could either try two linear curves, or some curve with a slope (slightly) increasing over time.
Venkarian Feb 2
It would be interresting to get the average age of the devices depending on the systems.
const Feb 2
My take on some of the arguments here:

1. Chromebooks are pretty much an US thing. I know no one who owns a Chromebook here in Germany and when I looked for their prices, I know why. You get a pretty good Business Laptop for the price of a cheap tablet with a bad keyboard.

2. Not so sure about the Appstore. I can see that for single player titles, but for multiplayer? I really don't know. My guess is Apple Users tend to prefer console gaming.
Quoting: damarrin
Quoting: pleasereadthemanual'm not sure if there are incentives to use the App Store over Steam. It seems like they get the same cut. I know macOS programs from the App Store tend to be gutted compared to programs distributed outside of it because of restrictions (DaVinci Resolve being one such example, Affinity Suite being another).

Well, the App Store is there on every Mac, you don't need to install it by yourself. Plus, users with iPhones will already know it's the place to get all software and Apple will actively steer people towards it. Also, IIRC, it would hide software that wouldn't run on your Mac (a simple check for OS version and 32/64 bits, nothing fancy like checking gfx card requirements).

There's a strong dislike for the built-in store on Windows AFAICT, this isn't the case on the Mac. People love it. And I'm sure devs who make software for the Mac do as well (except for the likes of Epic). After all, as we Linux users all know, hunting the web for programs and downloading installers is the silliest thing ever.

Plus, "tend to be gutted" is much too strong of a statement. Yes, software will need to be modified in some instances (like years ago LibreOffice not being able to be on there because of their Java dependecy, IDK if this has changed or not), but I'd say the vast majority is made with with Mac and App Store in mind from the start.

As for Steam, Valve doesn't need the Mac and Apple doesn't need Valve.
I can only speak for myself: I tried to use the App Store, but when I realized the functionality I needed to use in the software just didn't exist seemingly because of some weird App Store regulations, I gave up on it. I had a sample size of 2 programs, and they were both lacking something from memory. Of course, I didn't use it at all after that, so I can't say anything for other programs. I say this as someone who used an iPhone for 10 years and macOS for a little longer. It also doesn't have a great selection compared to say, homebrew. I think this is partly because open source programs aren't allowed on the App Store.[^1]

But in principle I agree with all your points. What better marketing strategy is there than to have your program displayed in the App Store, directly accessible compared to trying to find the developer's website? That's certainly reason enough to list your program in the App Store.

[^1]: I've tried to look into the situation. The developer for Raivo OTP claims the app can't be open source because Apple won't accept it. The FSF said 10 years ago that only the GPL/LGPL family of licenses weren't accepted. I don't really know what's going on here, but I'm assuming open source programs aren't allowed for some reason.
Liam Dawe Feb 2
Quoting: Eike
Quoting: Liam Dawe
Quoting: EikeThe linear approximation to the curve really needs to be split into two parts! (somewhere in 2021?)

... or the software could come up with something non-linear?
Why?

Because the linear approximation systematically overestimates all of the oldest points and underestimates all of the youngest points (except a single one we would attribute to some measurement error, probably located in the far east). The line doesn't fit, and this not in a "jumpy" way (as to be to be expected), but in a systematical way. The curve to be approximated isn't linear, at least not over the whole time.

So we could either try two linear curves, or some curve with a slope (slightly) increasing over time.
Sadly, even the current trend-line is a Chart JS plugin, as it doesn't support trend lines at all.

Maybe I should look for one that does it better...
Quoting: const2. Not so sure about the Appstore. I can see that for single player titles, but for multiplayer? I really don't know. My guess is Apple Users tend to prefer console gaming.
If you're curious about what Mac users think, you could try checking /r/macgaming. This post, for example.

I thought this comment was enlightening:

QuoteINSTALL STEAM FAST. STAY AWAY FROM APP STORE.

There is no reason to use the Mac app store unless you also have an Ipad or Iphone that can run these games - otherwise you are paying full price for games that are not full price on any other retailer. Anywhere else you will get a license for Mac + Windows but through Apple you only get the Mac license as well.

Go to GOG. Go to Steam. Go to Humble. All of these retailers often have games for 50%+ off. You will get a significantly better deal shopping anywhere but the app store. (I just got Pathfinder Wrath of The Righteous marked down from $60 to $9 this weekend, the App store will never do that! This game might not even be on the App store tbh.)

Also it will be easier for you to find games that you are interested in because all these other store fronts are way easier to navigate.

It seems like you're right about multiplayer games on the App Store. I can't find any mention of multiplayer games available there, though I'm sure I heard about one a while ago...
Eike Feb 2
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Quoting: Liam Dawe
Quoting: Eike
Quoting: Liam Dawe
Quoting: EikeThe linear approximation to the curve really needs to be split into two parts! (somewhere in 2021?)

... or the software could come up with something non-linear?
Why?

Because the linear approximation systematically overestimates all of the oldest points and underestimates all of the youngest points (except a single one we would attribute to some measurement error, probably located in the far east). The line doesn't fit, and this not in a "jumpy" way (as to be to be expected), but in a systematical way. The curve to be approximated isn't linear, at least not over the whole time.

So we could either try two linear curves, or some curve with a slope (slightly) increasing over time.
Sadly, even the current trend-line is a Chart JS plugin, as it doesn't support trend lines at all.

Maybe I should look for one that does it better...

I try to avoid JS wherever I can :D , but which plugin is it you're using?
(But I guess there's people here with more knowledge in this field than me.)
F.Ultra Feb 2
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Quoting: constMy take on some of the arguments here:

1. Chromebooks are pretty much an US thing. I know no one who owns a Chromebook here in Germany and when I looked for their prices, I know why. You get a pretty good Business Laptop for the price of a cheap tablet with a bad keyboard.

2. Not so sure about the Appstore. I can see that for single player titles, but for multiplayer? I really don't know. My guess is Apple Users tend to prefer console gaming.

Chromebooks are quite popular to hand out in schools here in Sweden.
Quoting: constMy take on some of the arguments here:

1. Chromebooks are pretty much an US thing. I know no one who owns a Chromebook here in Germany and when I looked for their prices, I know why. You get a pretty good Business Laptop for the price of a cheap tablet with a bad keyboard.

2. Not so sure about the Appstore. I can see that for single player titles, but for multiplayer? I really don't know. My guess is Apple Users tend to prefer console gaming.

1. Chromebooks are also sold in Europe. Schools attempt to force them on students. My first dedicated school laptop was a Chromebook(and shit), my younger family members interact with unfortunate Chromebook using classrooms everyday. Yes, those things are hot garbage and for half the price I can get a superior machine in every way from the second hand market and 3 quarters the price I can get a superior machine new, but with enough pressure from teachers thousands of Chromebooks get leased every year.
(Sorry, for the rant. Chromebooks really frustrate me. They don't work well, they're being actively targeted at children, they're actively locking people in and they've shown me deep teacher computer illiteracy.)

2. The trick is much easier. The multiplayer games that get launched on Mac don't use store dependent hosting and rely on the user restrictions of MacOS to protect them against online cheating. This only works for the big studios, but the small studios couldn't afford to launch anything on MacOS anyway.
CatKiller Feb 2
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Quoting: EikeBecause the linear approximation systematically overestimates all of the oldest points and underestimates all of the youngest points (except a single one we would attribute to some measurement error, probably located in the far east). The line doesn't fit, and this not in a "jumpy" way (as to be to be expected), but in a systematical way. The curve to be approximated isn't linear, at least not over the whole time.

So we could either try two linear curves, or some curve with a slope (slightly) increasing over time.

It's not a fit to a curve. It's not supposed to be a fit to a curve, and it's not trying to be a fit to a curve. It's a trend line: a line which demonstrates the trend over time.
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