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A note on using Steam Play Proton and counting the sales for Linux

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Back in August 2018, Valve announced their new Steam Play feature with the Proton software in the Linux Steam client to play Windows-only Steam games on Linux. A little note about what platform is counted for sales.

When we spoke to Valve originally back then (shown in an update to our original article), we asked about how the sales would show up for developers and this was the response:

Hey Liam, the normal algorithm is in effect, so if at the end of the two weeks you have more playtime on Linux, it'll be a Linux sale. Proton counts as Linux.

It seems that there might be some issues where it's not correctly counted, so it shows up as a normal Windows sale as a user noted on Reddit. Since reaching out to Valve, developer Pierre-Loup Griffais has released this quick and simple statement on Twitter for all to read:

That doesn't seem like intended behavior, we'll look into it. At this early stage, the team's focus is still on compatibility and performance, so it might take a little bit.

As with anything new and in constant development there's going to be teething issues. Hopefully this hasn't been too widespread though.

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66 comments
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Sonata 13 February 2020 at 5:41 pm UTC
SalvatosBut I know almost no one that actually likes Windows. A lot of people hate it and love to complain about it, but just believe that they’re stuck with it, the only alternative being overpriced Macs that aren’t compatible with anything.

My mom actually wants me to install Linux on her computer, since she's fed up with windows' update system now that she knows there is a workable alternative. But yeah, I think you're right about people feeling to be "stuck" with it, especially since most machines you buy come pre-loaded with it.
Also I think the "beginner distros" (if you wanna call them that) have come far enough you could easily give them to your grandmother or someone who only needs a laptop/computer for light office work and browsing the web.


Last edited by Sonata on 13 February 2020 at 5:41 pm UTC
Purple Library Guy 13 February 2020 at 5:45 pm UTC
Eike
LinuxwarperIt isn't now you should be judging Proton harshly.

I understand that it's the rescue for some (many) Linux gamers. I fear that it's hindering Linux native ports (while others think it's the possibility for Linux gaming to lift off to get more native ports on the long run). It's an astonishing piece of software for sure. So, mixed bag for me.

What I mainly wanted to say is that I don't feel it will succeed in lifting off Linux gaming, unfortunately.
That's certainly the big-number-of-dollars question. I'd have to agree that I don't think, no matter how good it becomes, that Proton can without anything else happening cause Linux marketshare to grow hugely. That takes preinstalls of some sort, and we don't have 'em, and that's that.
But. I think without anything else happening, Proton does have the potential to grow Linux (desktop) marketshare some, and gaming marketshare slightly more as it allows dual-booters to dump that Windows partition. Heck, a plausible argument might be made that Proton has something to do with the decline in Linux Steam user share having for the moment stopped. Perhaps more importantly, Proton (if it gets anti-cheat running and generally reaches a point where it Just Works for a big proportion of AAA games) could be a big piece in the puzzle for enabling potential Linux-based plays to work and be profitable. However, those plays may or may not materialize, and even if they do, they might not succeed.

So yeah, maybe it'll get things somewhere, maybe it won't. It may indeed end up doing more harm than good. But I don't see anything else on the horizon capable of beating certain chicken-egg problems, so thus far I'd rather see it than nothing.
Salvatos 13 February 2020 at 6:25 pm UTC
SonataAlso I think the "beginner distros" (if you wanna call them that) have come far enough you could easily give them to your grandmother or someone who only needs a laptop/computer for light office work and browsing the web.
Can confirm that my mother has been using Mint for a few years now and there’s no functional difference for her except not having to deal with Microsoft’s egregious bullshit I just run software updates for her once in a while (not that she wouldn’t be able to do it herself if she bothered) and whenever she needs tech support it’s usually for software-specific bugs, nothing too specific to using Linux rather than Windows.

Heck, even when her system had issues returning from screensaver mode (not sure if it was lmdm, lightdm or something else) and I gave her a command line fix to restart her session, she said she didn’t mind having to type a few words in a console every so often compared to using Windows. That was a shock.
clatterfordslim 14 February 2020 at 9:49 am UTC
So if we really want Windows games straight from the developers, to play from release day one we who are playing their games through Proton should be getting in contact with the developers, to say hey we are able to play your game here in Linux, with better performance than in Windows. Any chance you could add some Vulkan to the code so we can have it natively? Then leave them names of Linux Porters Feral Interactive for instance. We as players of these games should be doing something too and not just leaving it to the likes of Steam, as they are working so hard already making Proton work with every game under the sun. The question is though. Would developers actually listen and take note to what Joe Bloggs has to say and ask?? But this was the whole idea of Proton anyway, however it was going to show to developers, being played on Linux?
Eike 14 February 2020 at 11:43 am UTC
SonataCorrect me if I'm wrong, but I think that's partially one of the reasons a lot of indie games actually have a linux port because tools like GameMaker do allow for "exporting a linux version" of the game they're making alongside the obvious Windows port.

That's right. Some even don't have a Linux installed to test it. X)
Linuxwarper 14 February 2020 at 12:26 pm UTC
clatterfordslimSo yeah, maybe it'll get things somewhere, maybe it won't. It may indeed end up doing more harm than good. But I don't see anything else on the horizon capable of beating certain chicken-egg problems, so thus far I'd rather see it than nothing.
Right? If Linux could or would have become popular without Proton's existance, but simply with native ports, why didn't it the last decade? I am so sure that if Proton wasn't around Linux would be seriously choked out. Xbox Game Pass, XCloud and Play anywhere from Microsoft and changes made to Windows 10 since initial period are pretty good!

clatterfordslimSo if we really want Windows games straight from the developers, to play from release day one we who are playing their games through Proton should be getting in contact with the developers, to say hey we are able to play your game here in Linux, with better performance than in Windows. Any chance you could add some Vulkan to the code so we can have it natively? Then leave them names of Linux Porters Feral Interactive for instance. We as players of these games should be doing something too and not just leaving it to the likes of Steam, as they are working so hard already making Proton work with every game under the sun. The question is though. Would developers actually listen and take note to what Joe Bloggs has to say and ask?? But this was the whole idea of Proton anyway, however it was going to show to developers, being played on Linux?
No. I don't mean to be cynical but many developers have already made up their mind or/and are also restricted by other factors such as their employers or software licenses. It's also been said it's not the porting that's costly it is the fact you have to maintain it. What you can do is ask developers or companies that show interest, because believe me many don't care because of business (with the 1% marketshare in mind), who favor Vulkan over D3D to maybe consider porting their games. Even games that primarily uses Vulkan (DOOM) are hard to get ported to Linux because developers don't can't bother with maintaining the port after release. Even after a game has been ported to Linux you can't be certain well done or/and it will be maintained (Metro Last Light). EDIT: Indie developers are a exception. Their games are smaller in scope and they are largely independent, so I'd ask for port for such games.

What you should do is promote cross platform tech such as Vulkan. Not only is it effortless for developers, as they don't have to maintain a Linux version, but it will run close to native through Proton. I have seen numerous posts of people asking for Linux release for many, many games. Developers don't listen for whatever reason. I have strong belief that Vulkan adoption and Proton's getting better will bring many more people to Linux. Remember, a game that uses Vulkan that runs through Proton does not use DXVK nor D9VK so the code is run natively and with negligable performance penalty. Word of mouth is a powerful marketing. But as I pointed out earlier, Linux is less feasible for more people until anticheat and VK3D support is finalized.


Last edited by Linuxwarper on 14 February 2020 at 12:29 pm UTC
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