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Here's another way to look at the Linux market share on Steam

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I'm always interested to see what happens with the Linux market share on Steam, especially the bigger picture. Here's an alternative look at the Linux market share on Steam.

Credit to GOL fan "hardpenguin" for his idea, to check on how the rise of "Simplified Chinese" as a market on Steam has directly affected the Linux market share. The results are—interesting.

I should state that, while obvious to some, people still get confused by all this (especially me, I'm only human after all). We are talking about percentages, not absolute numbers. We have no idea what the real numbers are behind this, only the percentages Valve give us by surveying a set of their user base.

First of all, let's take a look at what's happened to the overall Linux market share as shown by Valve in their hardware survey. It doesn't look good, but keep reading after.


As I said, that looks like an unhappy chart. Over that exact same time period, let’s look at what happened on Steam with “Simplified Chinese” as a language in comparison with English:

Well then—that’s some big growth you’ve got there. One month can be written off as an anomaly, but the trend is clear there. So what happens when you compare what Steam shows as the overall Linux market share, against that same market share when you take out Simplified Chinese and when you’re just looking at English:

So, from our experiment here, it shows Linux is currently in a decline in terms of "overall market share" on Steam. No need to sugarcoat it or hide from it, the data is there. However, it's nothing close to how bad it may seem, given that you should obviously see how Simplified Chinese rising sharply has directly affected it, it's clear as day when you simply remove it.

To mention an important fact, Steam is not just growing in Asia, as shown by Valve's own info. Before we get people looking at the lines without Simplified Chinese and thinking Linux is going down by itself anyway. It's just that Asia has grown more rapidly than others. It's quite clearly a Windows-orientated marked too, so even if Linux has actually grown during that time, it's just been massively outpaced. The point? It's not as bad as it seems.

Something to keep in mind, that I’ve mentioned before numerous times: Steam is constantly growing. We don’t know what the true numbers are, so it’s literally impossible to get the real picture. As mentioned at the start, we just don’t know what the total amount is each time they do the Steam Hardware Survey in terms of the amount of people surveyed and the total amount of registered Steam users.

The fact remains that a lower percentage for Linux one month, against a higher overall number of users, can end up as an increase in total numbers of Linux gamers on Steam. I'm not saying it is or it isn't though. For us to know if the real amount of people using Linux for gaming on Steam is higher or lower, we need Valve to release the actual numbers behind the curtains. Something many people have been repeatedly asking for.

What will be interesting to see, is how Linux bounces back once the hype around certain popular games begins to fade. I don't want to repeat what I've already said too much, but it will happen. I imagine it will be at least a year before we see that happen and how far will Linux progress behind the scenes in that time to be ready? The open source Mesa drivers have come along at a staggering pace to improve AMD performance on Linux, decent VR supporting is slowly coming along, we've got games being released all the time and more. What we need to think about, is preparing for the bubble bursting back in our favour.

This was an interesting way to spend a Saturday evening, I shall return to our normal Linux gaming news on Monday!

Note: All this data was manually gathered and sorted by me, using the data available from Valve. Credit would be appreciated it you pinch it.

19 Likes, Who?
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dirkdierickx 5 December 2017 at 9:03 am UTC
Purple Library GuyIt weirds me out that with the thousands of games around, many of them really good, the statistics can be pulled around so much by one or two top-selling games. Clearly everyone's buying the top game because everyone else is buying the top game, not because it's one they will intrinsically find fun. The mindset unsettles me.

marketing, those AAA games have so much more budget for advertising, nothing more, nothing less.
Eike 5 December 2017 at 9:19 am UTC
dirkdierickx
Purple Library GuyIt weirds me out that with the thousands of games around, many of them really good, the statistics can be pulled around so much by one or two top-selling games. Clearly everyone's buying the top game because everyone else is buying the top game, not because it's one they will intrinsically find fun. The mindset unsettles me.

marketing, those AAA games have so much more budget for advertising, nothing more, nothing less.

I don't think so. They are just pleasing many people. Otherwise, they wouldn't buy it a third, a fourth, ... time.

And PUBG, man, it just looks fun! I would totally want to play it!
etonbears 5 December 2017 at 9:43 am UTC
Purple Library GuyIt weirds me out that with the thousands of games around, many of them really good, the statistics can be pulled around so much by one or two top-selling games. Clearly everyone's buying the top game because everyone else is buying the top game, not because it's one they will intrinsically find fun. The mindset unsettles me.

A combination of herd instinct and effective marketing, I suspect.

On the whole, we have a strong recognition/memory of what we have presented/marketed to us most often; marketing has also become extremely sophisticated in its use of psychological triggers, and very good at generating aspiration in unwary minds.

With well funded games like Fallout 4 ( and, similarly, GTA V ), the publishers were willing to build up anticipation for 6 months and spend the equivalent of the entire development budget on marketing. Even when you know how marketing works and are a jaundiced, cynical, old curmudgeon, it can be difficult to remain completely uninfluenced in the face of blanket coverage. So consider how well it works on the main target audience - social youngsters with less world experience, and who strongly influence each other.


I probably find it even more disturbing to see the same sort of blanket influence/group-think behaviour where it crops up in the financial world. It is a root cause of the mass stupidity that gave us Tulip Mania, the South Seas Bubble, Collateralized Debt Obligations ( the result of which we are all still feeling ) and now looks like we will get it again with Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies...
Mohandevir 5 December 2017 at 1:37 pm UTC
etonbearsI was always unclear as to the exact audience for Steam boxes; small/value doesn't sit easily with powerful/upgradeable, and how many would spend £1000-£1500 on something that only really runs Steam Big Picture well...? I struggle to visualize a mass market.

This. Instead of buying a 1500$ console PC you can get similar performances with a laptop for the same price tag. On top of that, you still have the leisure of connecting your laptop to the TV with a relatively small footprint.

Console pc should be targeted to console users and the typical console user doesn't care about upgradability that much. This Dell and Zotac nailed it but the price tag... Ouch! Way too expensive. This is why I have the feeling that Valve is in a much better position to offer a cheaper solution partnering with AMD and, if it is not enough, sell it under cost. Afterall they already got the games catalog to absord the loss. PC gaming, as a whole, would benefit from a successfull Steam Machine campaign.

Edit: And with the XBox One X and PS4 Pro, Sony and Microsoft have created a new price tag in the console market where Valve might get an opportunity to be even more competitive.

But it's all just speculation. Time will tell.


Last edited by Mohandevir at 5 December 2017 at 5:12 pm UTC. Edited 2 times.
Ketil 5 December 2017 at 5:42 pm UTC
MohandevirConsole pc should be targeted to console users and the typical console user doesn't care about upgradability that much. This Dell and Zotac nailed it but the price tag... Ouch! Way too expensive. This is why I have the feeling that Valve is in a much better position to offer a cheaper solution partnering with AMD and, if it is not enough, sell it under cost. Afterall they already got the games catalog to absord the loss. PC gaming, as a whole, would benefit from a successfull Steam Machine campaign.
The money from selling under cost has to come from somewhere. For consoles it comes from the pricier games. If valve did the same with steam machines, then I am afraid the price of all steam games would increase, which would be bad for everyone except Valve.
Mohandevir 5 December 2017 at 5:58 pm UTC
Ketil
MohandevirConsole pc should be targeted to console users and the typical console user doesn't care about upgradability that much. This Dell and Zotac nailed it but the price tag... Ouch! Way too expensive. This is why I have the feeling that Valve is in a much better position to offer a cheaper solution partnering with AMD and, if it is not enough, sell it under cost. Afterall they already got the games catalog to absord the loss. PC gaming, as a whole, would benefit from a successfull Steam Machine campaign.
The money from selling under cost has to come from somewhere. For consoles it comes from the pricier games. If valve did the same with steam machines, then I am afraid the price of all steam games would increase, which would be bad for everyone except Valve.

Totally. But let's say Valve sells 10 millions of Steam Machines in an unbelievably successfull campaign... On the 150 millions+ users on Steam, do you think it would have that great of an impact on game prices?

It must be a little more as of today, but last time I checked, Sony sold 25 millions units (25+ millions users) and Microsoft 15 millions (15+ millions users).

I don't know the answer, I'm just trying to get the picture... This said, Valve might not need to sell Steam machines at a loss. Zero profit would already be great if the idea is to really push the platform.

Anyway, it's a decision only Valve can make. Like I said, speculation.
Purple Library Guy 5 December 2017 at 6:21 pm UTC
Ketil
MohandevirConsole pc should be targeted to console users and the typical console user doesn't care about upgradability that much. This Dell and Zotac nailed it but the price tag... Ouch! Way too expensive. This is why I have the feeling that Valve is in a much better position to offer a cheaper solution partnering with AMD and, if it is not enough, sell it under cost. Afterall they already got the games catalog to absord the loss. PC gaming, as a whole, would benefit from a successfull Steam Machine campaign.
The money from selling under cost has to come from somewhere. For consoles it comes from the pricier games. If valve did the same with steam machines, then I am afraid the price of all steam games would increase, which would be bad for everyone except Valve.
I wonder about that. The question is, first, would the money Valve made from game sales to Steam Machine buyers pay for the discount on them, and second, would jacking the prices up make any difference?
On the first question, I suspect it would unless it was a really big discount. Valve gets, what, 30%? Sure, some purchasers would just play the games they have on their PC anyway, only in front of a TV instead. But the main market they'd be going after isn't like that. I'm a pretty low spender and over a few years I've dropped a few hundred on games. It adds up. I'm sure they could do fine selling $100 or $200 below cost--they'd want to do a bit of market research on how much console users spend on games to get it right. They might not initially make much money doing that, maybe even take a loss in the first year or so, but I don't think cashflow is a huge problem for Valve. They'd make money in the medium term and improve their strategic position.
At the same time, I question whether increasing prices would make much difference. People in a broad sense have a budget for games; they buy when they can afford them. If I'm willing to blow around $200 in a year on games, it doesn't matter much to Valve whether it's 4 games for $50 or 8 games for $25. If they bump their percentage, sales will decline (and developers will find it a less attractive platform). They'd be better off pricing the boxes on the assumption of the game price structure staying the same.
Purple Library Guy 5 December 2017 at 6:25 pm UTC
etonbearsI probably find it even more disturbing to see the same sort of blanket influence/group-think behaviour where it crops up in the financial world. It is a root cause of the mass stupidity that gave us Tulip Mania, the South Seas Bubble, Collateralized Debt Obligations ( the result of which we are all still feeling ) and now looks like we will get it again with Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies...
Don't look now, but Collateralized Debt Obligations are back. I think they gave them a different acronym, but I read an article a while ago saying the same basic schtick is quietly making a sizable comeback. Gotta do something with all that Quantitative Easing cash.
Kuduzkehpan 5 December 2017 at 6:33 pm UTC
Dunc
AlveKattHowever, remember the whole "Firewall of China" thing? An OS that gives full control to the user might be heavily frowned upon by the rulers in China. People have been put in jail for less over there.
That's actually a really good point that I hadn't considered. We all love Linux because of the freedom. The Chinese authorities are likely to hate it for exactly the same reason.
freedom of what ? freedom of to live as the capitalists describes what is living heh ? Lolz. i prefer more logical describitions as in communism. no religions no radicals no money no mercanarys.

beyond off topics.
linux needs popular games playable under itself. Then it become popular. But as i mention before all this is based on politics around the globe.


Last edited by Kuduzkehpan at 5 December 2017 at 6:36 pm UTC
Mohandevir 5 December 2017 at 8:03 pm UTC
In other news...

https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=RADV-Vega-December-Fixes

Pitoiset strikes again!
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