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GOL Survey Results: October

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Valve have released the Steam Hardware Survey results for October, so it is also time to release our own survey results. 857 people completed the survey, making our sample size 187 people larger than last time, so thanks everyone!

The changes in the questions seemed to have worked well and the data should hopefully be far more accurate this time. There are still a few minor things to iron out, but the questions will mostly remain the same so we can see trends developing a few months down the line.

I will not compare results with those from the first “experimental” survey since many of the questions have changed now that the survey has taken a more permanent form - mostly the fact that the first survey was not time-specific. For now, you can either check out the previous survey results and try and draw your own conclusions, or wait until next month when comparisons can be done.

There were also two comments sections which yielded mixed results (mostly not being used for what they were intended) however, many comments give interesting insights so I’ll also make a few observations about those, but will get rid of them for the new survey.

Do you currently use Linux as your primary PC gaming platform?
Did you exclusively buy Linux-supported games last month?
What proportion of games did you play through Wine last month?
What proportion of PC games did you play on your Windows partition last month?
If you stopped using Windows last month completely for gaming, please state your reasons why (ie. a new game release, realised you never use it, etc.)

Unfortunately, this section was filled with "windows is crap" type comments which - although true - makes it very difficult to distinguish whether or not the people commenting stopped using Windows or not last month. This will therefore be replaced with a "did you stop using Windows last month?" and "if so, why?" style question where you have to respond to the first part to be able to respond to the latter.

However, some of the most common reasons cited for stopping Windows usage altogether were the release of Civilization V, XCOM: Enemy Unknown and Dota 2. Getting the format of this question right may mean that we see spikes in people leaving Windows altogether that coincide with big releases - like CS:GO and Borderlands 2 last month.

What distribution do your primary Linux gaming PC?
What Desktop Environment do you use on your primary Linux gaming PC?
This was a new question for this survey, and it has yielded some very interesting results. Although distributions seem to be mostly Debian-based, Desktop Environments are a completely mixed bag. The most popular was Unity, suggesting many out there are using vanilla Ubuntu.

These results sort of sum up the DE situation at the moment, with many major DEs having changed their design radically over the last few years and many more having appeared as a result - usage is completely fragmented over all of them. The "other" responses are mainly people who don't use a DE and use windowing managers like i3, FluxBox and OpenBox - so I will add none as an option.

Did you change your primary Linux gaming distribution last month?
What graphics card do you use on your primary Linux gaming PC?
Which drivers do you use for that graphics card?
This was another new question. Open Source drivers (AMD, Intel and Nvidia combined) made up just 18% of the total. I have heard that the Open Source AMD drivers are quickly catching up to the proprietary ones in terms of performance, so this may quickly change.

There were also comments suggesting that "updated" and "official" drivers can be quite subjective depending on the distribution, so this will now be limited to two choices (Open Source and Proprietary).

Personally the reason I don't use Open Source drivers is that I paid a good amount of money for my graphics card so want to get the most performance out of it possible, however if the nouveau drivers get within a 10% performance margin of the proprietary ones some day, then I will most likely switch. Why do you use the drivers you use? I'm quite curious.

What CPU do you use on your primary Linux gaming distribution?
Which of these retailers did you use to buy your Linux games last month?
How many Linux games did you buy last month?
Unique question - Have you bought Tropico 5?
Not surprising that it was quite low considering strategy isn't the biggest of markets. If you are still on the fence about this one, I recommend getting it! The campaign was very enjoyable and the game really did a lot to add replay value which previous iterations didn't have. However, if you have either Tropico 3 or 4, I would recommend getting this one on sale since although the changes are plenty, they are quite subtle and gameplay is essentially an improved version of the same thing.


The results were certainly interesting and more refined than last time. I think one issue which this survey has shown is some pretty major differences with Valve's survey. For instance, the AMD CPU market share is 8% higher on our survey and they don't seem to show GPU manufacturers on there. Like Valve's survey, ours isn't perfect either and obviously gaming websites as a whole tend to have a certain demographic as a readership (ie. less "casual" gamers) so such differences could be attributed to people playing a few 2D games on their integrated card simply not reading GOL. Nevertheless, this gives us the best insights into Linux gamers we have at the moment.

The new Survey for November is available here - so please fill that in if you have the time. Article taken from
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About the author -
After many years of floating through space on the back of a missile, following a successful career in beating people up for not playing Sega Saturn, the missile returned to earth. Upon returning, I discovered to my dismay that the once great console had been discontinued and Sega had abandoned the fight to dominate the world through 32-bit graphical capabilities.

After spending some years breaking breeze blocks with my head for money and being mocked by strangers, I have found a new purpose: to beat up people for not playing on Linux.
See more from me
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WorMzy 2 Nov, 2014
Looking good. :)

There's a small typo in the third question (did you use wine) -- games has an extra 's'.

I'm not convinced that the windows partition question is quite right. I think a better question would be:
Do you have a Windows partition which you use for gaming
  • Yes

  • No -- I deleted it last month

  • No -- I deleted it over a month ago

  • No -- I don't use it for gaming

It'd give it a bit more scope, while retaining the same the same focus.

Just my thoughts.

I use propriety nvidia drivers because nouveau was always buggy for me. It'd break every alternate kernel update, and bug reports never seemed to go anywhere. Now that gaming has taken off on Linux, I don't think I'll be switching away from propriety drivers fro a while.
Sabun 2 Nov, 2014
Filled in. Looks like something I'll be looking forward to monthly now :)

On that note, Intel + Nvidia seems to be the defacto hardware for gaming on Linux (and for good reasons too). What did surprise me is that KDE DE users almost rival Unity users (at least for the sample that took this survey).
EKRboi 2 Nov, 2014
Arch <3

Sort of surprised and yet not surprised at the same time that Unity is the "winner" for DE's. Are people using it because they like it? or they just don't know there are other flavors of *buntu? I've played with it, and I can use it, but it is just far too unintuitive IMO. I pretty much feel the same way about Gnome3 too. So what is it you guys like about them? I may just be old and resistant to much change.. the "normal" desktop type environment works for me.

I think the rest of the stats are pretty much about what I expected them to be. I like these monthly surveys so keep up the good work. Off to do the Nov. survey!
Hamish 2 Nov, 2014
Nice work with the charts and everything Segata. :)

I am glad to see as many people using the FOSS drivers as there are, even if it only came to 18%.
Segata Sanshiro 2 Nov, 2014
QuoteI'm not convinced that the windows partition question is quite right. I think a better question would be:
Do you have a Windows partition which you use for gaming

No -- I deleted it last month
No -- I deleted it over a month ago
No -- I don't use it for gaming

I've still been tinkering with it a bit this month... Basically I wanted to reduce the amount of options overall because the survey was quite bloated and there was a lot of useless info (sorry to the 2 people who play games exclusively through WINE).

The reason I split up the question and have it the way it is was to keep it simple and to avoid junk responses on the "have you stopped using Windows in the last month" question. But if it looks like it isn't working or there's a lot of people that still don't like the format, then I'll change it next month.

QuoteWhat did surprise me is that KDE DE users almost rival Unity users

Kind of surprised too. I'm actually a KDE user myself and I'm surprised at the amount of flac KDE4 has gotten over the years - I find it very solid and very consistent and much more responsive than Unity. Really looking forward to KDE5 being default - it looks amazing, been testing it a bit. Only reason I use XFCE for gaming is because that machine is for gaming only so don't really want anything complex or resource hungry.

I am more surprised at Unity coming out on top though... I personally despise it and stopped using vanilla Ubuntu as soon as it came out (10.10?). Even in more recent encounters with it I have found it to be slow, laggy and counter-intuitive - not really any fanboyism on my part, I just really hate the whole experience of it and thought most gamers would too.
minj 2 Nov, 2014
Last survey actually motivated me to move to a new distro. Switched to Manjaro. Was worth it :)

Another thing I gathered from this is I buy way too many games (I have little to no time to play them anyway). Although I still think bundles counted as 1 purchase would give a better picture.

What surprises me is that more than 50% people are using 'heavy' DEs. For sure, my primary rig is a desktop-replacement laptop but performance is not the only reason I use LXDE.

In short, this project has already 'payed off' in my eyes. Thanks for starting it and I hope you keep maintaining it for the foreseeable future.
Metallinatus 2 Nov, 2014
I am so proud of this community for the answers on the Windows and Wine parts :' )
And I liked the Unique Question 2.... it will be interesting to see the answers!
Oh, and the reason why I don't use FOSS drivers on my current GPU is simply this:
mattyy1hp 2 Nov, 2014
Sorry for this stupid question but I need to ask As a Debian user should I select "Debian-based" or "other" ? I was really confused so I selected "other" because Debian is not based on Debian.
Xpander 2 Nov, 2014
Quoting: mattyy1hpSorry for this stupid question but I need to ask As a Debian user should I select "Debian-based" or "other" ? I was really confused so I selected "other" because Debian is not based on Debian.

yeah i had same with arch.. and arch-based

it should be
-arch, arch-based
-debian, debian-based


so it would be more clear to some.

anyway nice to see

and according to this survey there are more amd cpu users (which is nice to see) than steam hw survey reports.

i myself think that amd cpu is still the best on the 120-200€ price range when it comes to multitasking and multithreading performance...
Segata Sanshiro 2 Nov, 2014
Haha come on guys, clearly Arch-based and Debian-Based also apply to the original distros. I'll clarify it in the next one though.
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