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Linux share on Steam bounces back to nearly 2% for March 2024

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Thanks to all of Valve's effort with Proton, Steam Deck and their funding of people working on various other bits of Linux code like GPU drivers - the Linux share on Steam as of March 2024 bounced back to a near multi-year high.

After an odd dip in February, where we saw a rise in Windows 10 and Simplified Chinese, Linux has jumped up a little again. Although the details are still a bit odd with Windows 10 seeing a bump again, but we saw both Simplified Chinese and English as overall languages each rise for March as well.

Overall the stats are:

  • Windows 96.67% -0.24%
  • Linux 1.94% +0.18%
  • macOS 1.38% +0.06%

Clearly thanks to the Steam Deck, Linux as a whole is now quite a bit more popular on Steam than macOS.

You can see the Linux stats over the past few years on the GOL Steam Tracker.

The most popular Linux distributions on Steam are:

  • SteamOS Holo 64 bit (Steam Deck) 44.22% +0.67%
  • Arch Linux 64 bit 7.66% -0.49%
  • Freedesktop SDK 23.08 (Flatpak runtime) 64 bit 5.97% +0.45%
  • Ubuntu 22.04.4 LTS 64 bit 5.54% +5.54%
  • Linux Mint 21.3 64 bit 3.77% +0.21%
  • Manjaro Linux 64 bit 3.42% +0.07%
  • Other 29.41% -1.37%

See more on the Steam Survey.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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10 comments

Ooo. It's real close. And the number of Chinese users hasn't completely come back down either. I think we're gonna sling shot past 2% soon.
Romlok Apr 2
I think the chart would tell an even more impressive story if there were a "Linux growth before Steamdeck" trend line (ie. extrapolating using only data prior to the announcement/release), and then a "Linux growth since Steamdeck" line branching off from that - to the moon!

Perhaps not supported in the graph generator used for this, but that's nothing a box of crayons couldn't fix!
CatKiller Apr 2
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Quoting: RomlokI think the chart would tell an even more impressive story if there were a "Linux growth before Steamdeck" trend line (ie. extrapolating using only data prior to the announcement/release), and then a "Linux growth since Steamdeck" line branching off from that - to the moon!

https://www.gamingonlinux.com/2024/03/steam-survey-for-february-2024-shows-a-big-bump-in-simplified-chinese/comment_id=258957

If you want the post-Deck trend, shift the red trend up and then steepen it by the gradient of the green trend.

You can, of course, pick whichever date range you're interested in on the Steam Tracker to see the data and trend for that period.


Last edited by CatKiller on 2 April 2024 at 2:14 pm UTC
skinnyraf Apr 3
Quoting: CatKillerhttps://www.gamingonlinux.com/2024/03/steam-survey-for-february-2024-shows-a-big-bump-in-simplified-chinese/comment_id=258957

If you want the post-Deck trend, shift the red trend up and then steepen it by the gradient of the green trend.

You can, of course, pick whichever date range you're interested in on the Steam Tracker to see the data and trend for that period.

So desktop Linux usage growth pretty much stopped around the release of the Steam Deck? We're still around 1.0-1.1%. All the growth can be attributed to new Steam Deck users.

It might mean though that some users of Linux desktops no longer play on their PCs, but on their Decks, so no growth on Steam doesn't mean no growth in general.
Quoting: skinnyraf
Quoting: CatKillerhttps://www.gamingonlinux.com/2024/03/steam-survey-for-february-2024-shows-a-big-bump-in-simplified-chinese/comment_id=258957

If you want the post-Deck trend, shift the red trend up and then steepen it by the gradient of the green trend.

You can, of course, pick whichever date range you're interested in on the Steam Tracker to see the data and trend for that period.

So desktop Linux usage growth pretty much stopped around the release of the Steam Deck? We're still around 1.0-1.1%. All the growth can be attributed to new Steam Deck users.

It might mean though that some users of Linux desktops no longer play on their PCs, but on their Decks, so no growth on Steam doesn't mean no growth in general.
Yeah, 'cause it seems like outside the Steam universe, Linux growth in "computers used to access the web" is pretty robust, so it would be weird if at a time when gaming on Linux works better than it ever has, none of those new probably-desktops were used for gaming.
Marlock Apr 4
Quoting: skinnyrafSo desktop Linux usage growth pretty much stopped around the release of the Steam Deck? We're still around 1.0-1.1%. All the growth can be attributed to new Steam Deck users.
in % you're possibly right...

...but keep in mind that the total number of steam users is also growing fast, so seeing the same 1% as before already means a lot of new linux steam gamers in an actual headcount (which Valve has sealed lips about but we can do some math and educatedly guess at it)

...and keep in mind those steamdeck users might end up using Steam Deck's desktop mode for more than gaming and/or they might replace windows for linux on another machine but use steam more on the deck so get the survey only on the deck, etc

ps: i feel for apple gamers... their feudal lord seems to hate pc gaming with a vengeance
eg: deprecating opengl, not supporting vulkan, banning apps from the apple store if they don't adhere to ever-changing criteria, etc... as much as the new development criteria may make sense, games aren't normal utility apps... only some games receive ongoing attention from their devs for years after being released


Last edited by Marlock on 4 April 2024 at 12:49 am UTC
Quoting: Marlock
Quoting: skinnyrafSo desktop Linux usage growth pretty much stopped around the release of the Steam Deck? We're still around 1.0-1.1%. All the growth can be attributed to new Steam Deck users.
in % you're possibly right...

...but keep in mind that the total number of steam users is also growing fast, so seeing the same 1% as before already means a lot of new linux steam gamers in an actual headcount (which Valve has sealed lips about but we can do some math and educatedly guess at it)

...and keep in mind those steamdeck users might end up using Steam Deck's desktop mode for more than gaming and/or they might replace windows for linux on another machine but use steam more on the deck so get the survey only on the deck, etc

ps: i feel for apple gamers... their feudal lord seems to hate pc gaming with a vengeance
eg: deprecating opengl, not supporting vulkan, banning apps from the apple store if they don't adhere to ever-changing criteria, etc... as much as the new development criteria may make sense, games aren't normal utility apps... only some games receive ongoing attention from their devs for years after being released
I'm actually finding the Steam stats pretty weird when contrasted with the stats from this GoL article from a couple of months ago. Like, why the hell is non-Deck Linux pretty static on Steam at around 1%, when apparently desktop Linux in the wider world is rising fast and closing on 4%?
We need better information.


Last edited by Purple Library Guy on 4 April 2024 at 2:12 am UTC
Marlock Apr 4
Quoting: Purple Library GuyI'm actually finding the Steam stats pretty weird when contrasted with the stats from this GoL article from a couple of months ago. Like, why the hell is non-Deck Linux pretty static on Steam at around 1%, when apparently desktop Linux in the wider world is rising fast and closing on 4%?
We need better information.
I didn't run the numbers, but i bet it makes sense...

The total amount of PC users isn't growing fast like the total amount of steam users... instead this is either stagnant (everyone already uses a windows PC) or decreasing (people abandoning PCs for smartphones and tablets)

meanwhile some are moving to linux, so in this math expression...

Linux PC users / Total PC users*
*= Windows + Linux + Mac

...the "linux" part is growing while the "total" part is not... that becomes visible % increase
30/1000=3%
40/1000=4%

wereas for...

Linux Steam Gamers / Total* Steam Gamers
*= windows + linux + mac

...the total steam gamers number is growing very fast (not everyone in the world uses steam yet), so a fast-growing steam linux number may look rather stagnant

1/100=1%
2/200=1% (same percentage but double as many people... actually it's a proportionally faster speed of growth over time than the growth of the total number of linux pc users)

we'll always want/need more data to be sure, but this is the general idea why those two percentage growth trends might not be coinciding right now


Last edited by Marlock on 4 April 2024 at 2:56 am UTC
Quoting: Marlock
Quoting: Purple Library GuyI'm actually finding the Steam stats pretty weird when contrasted with the stats from this GoL article from a couple of months ago. Like, why the hell is non-Deck Linux pretty static on Steam at around 1%, when apparently desktop Linux in the wider world is rising fast and closing on 4%?
We need better information.
I didn't run the numbers, but i bet it makes sense...

The total amount of PC users isn't growing fast like the total amount of steam users... instead this is either stagnant (everyone already uses a windows PC) or decreasing (people abandoning PCs for smartphones and tablets)

meanwhile some are moving to linux, so in this math expression...

Linux PC users / Total PC users*
*= Windows + Linux + Mac

...the "linux" part is growing while the "total" part is not... that becomes visible % increase
30/1000=3%
40/1000=4%

wereas for...

Linux Steam Gamers / Total* Steam Gamers
*= windows + linux + mac

...the total steam gamers number is growing very fast (not everyone in the world uses steam yet), so a fast-growing steam linux number may look rather stagnant

1/100=1%
2/200=1% (same percentage but double as many people... actually it's a proportionally faster speed of growth over time than the growth of the total number of linux pc users)

we'll always want/need more data to be sure, but this is the general idea why those two percentage growth trends might not be coinciding right now
Well, maybe. Seems a bit thin. Why would the growing percentage of Linux users not be moving to Steam at the same rate as the not-growing not-Linux users? There's something screwy going on.
Marlock Apr 4
Quoting: Purple Library GuyWell, maybe. Seems a bit thin. Why would the growing percentage of Linux users not be moving to Steam at the same rate as the not-growing not-Linux users? There's something screwy going on.
The whole point of my last post was to show you why the actual number of linux gamers might double yet look like the same 1%, while the actual number of linux pc users might grow slower yet have this growth clearly visible in their percentage of pc users.

The issue here is that the number we have is this:
Linux Steam Gamers / Total Steam Gamers

You are hoping that to behave like this:
Linux Steam Gamers / Entire world pop

But it doesn't, because "Total Steam Gamers" is also growing, steam hasn't reached the whole world yet

Even if linux steam pc gamers drops from 1,1% to 1% it might represent more linux steam pc gamers now than before, if the total amount of steam gamers grows faster.

1,1 million linux steam pc gamers / 100 million total steam pc users = 1,1%
>>
1,2 million linux / 120 million total = 1%

that means a 9,09% growth of linux Steam users in this hipothetical period, but hidden under a faster expansion of total steam users in the world, of 20%

that's not screwy, that's exactly what's expected with steam making headways into china: huge growth, almost all of those new users currently running windows

the fact that the proportion of linux steam pc users is growing, despite the well known fast increase in total steam users, is awesome!


Last edited by Marlock on 4 April 2024 at 12:27 pm UTC
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