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

Posted by , / 15806 views

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?
Comments
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cRaZy-bisCuiT 5 December 2017 at 11:55 pm UTC
MohandevirPitoiset strikes again!
I'll definitely watch that one!!!!
ageres 6 December 2017 at 9:24 am UTC
KetilThe 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.
From expanding the user base. More Steam users get Steam machines ⇒ they buy games on Steam for PC instead of those filthy consoles ⇒ more money for Gabe. Also, more Steam machines ⇒ more interested in Linux ports game publishers ⇒ more games for us. Maybe if Steam machines were $300-$400, we would already have GTA V on Linux. I wish Valve gave another chance to Steam machines, released new cheap but powerful enough versions, and sponsored porting of some big titles.
etonbears 2 years 6 December 2017 at 4:26 pm UTC
Purple Library Guy
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.

Yep, that's the main driver; those few people that have huge piles of cash are struggling to find anything to do with it, since QE has trashed bond yields and "normal" debt interest. So they invent/reinvent dubious "instruments" and boost their prices until they can get the mainstream investors ( pensions, for example ) to think the "instruments" are worth buying at a higher price. Sometimes called the "Greater Fool Theory" of investing, but it seems to work if you have enough money and time to sucker people in.
Dunc 6 December 2017 at 4:36 pm UTC
Kuduzkehpan
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 ?
The freedom to distribute copies of free software (and charge for them if you wish), that you receive source code or can get it if you want it, that you can change the software or use pieces of it in new free programs, and that you know you can do these things. To coin a phrase.

Quotefreedom 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.
So You think the PRC respects freedom? “Lolz”.

But yeah, way off-topic.
Purple Library Guy 6 December 2017 at 7:46 pm UTC
Kuduzkehpan
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.
And what does any of that have to do with China? It's capitalist through and through. It just happens to be capitalist and overtly authoritarian, unlike us who are capitalist and covertly authoritarian. Not a great choice but I wouldn't say they were better. The best thing you can say about China is that at least they're committed to building infrastructure; hardly a whole different system.
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