I reached out to a number of developers to see how their sales are doing across different operating systems, here are the results for you.
This was done after Simon Roth, the developer of Maia, commented that Linux was outselling Mac for him. Upon seeing this, I decided to dig a little deeper. I hope that at the start of 2015 I can do the same and compare the numbers, so make sure to mark it on your calendars to remind me.
This may only be part 1, if I can get hold of more developers I will do a part 2.
They are ordered from best to worst performing games sales wise for Linux, might be time to show the lower end some love?
8.3% Mac OSX
On asking the developers of continue if they plan to keep supporting Linux:
QuoteIt's worth it because otherwise I don't get those sales.
So it's very simple for this developer.
6% Mac OSX
Statistics for all of their games on Steam over the last 12 months, Supplied to us in January 2014
Broken Rules - Statistics for Secrets of Rætikon
22% Mac OSX
All units sold since their Steam release on 7th January 2014
9% Mac OSX
On asking the Steamworld Dig developers what they think of the numbers:
Brjann Sigurgeirsson, Image & FormIf you only see the figures, on the surface it may seem that we are unhappy with how the Linux version is performing. However, we're not - we think Linux is the ultimate kind of indie, and so we are happy to bring the game to Linux. It's always good to have one extra happy community than one that gets passed up the whole time.
7.18% Mac OSX
Percentage given is for the share of revenue between platforms.
When asking Phr00t if the sales numbers put him off Linux ports he had this to say:
Phr00tWell, my main development machine is Linux, so it is pretty important I support Linux :-D I love knowing I'm using all free software & as much free content as possible to make my games. However, I do pay for services & content as needed (artists, models etc.)
Loren Amazon Princess
4% Mac OSX
Steam version since release.
When asking Winter Wolves about keeping Linux ports they said:
Winter Wolves GamesWell I always wanted to support Linux, especially with the incoming SteamOS, but my game worked on Linux since 2008. It helps when you use a great cross-platform lib built in python of course.
Since February 2013 when Linux support launched.
I also asked Lars the developer of Defenders Quest how he felt about support Linux in future:
QuoteI'm ideologically* committed to Linux regardless of how big the sales are -- and I choose cross-platform targets that make supporting Linux almost cost-free. There's a little extra support, but it's cheap enough that the extra sales are basically just gravy. Also the fact that I support Linux has helped me above and beyond the sales I get directly from Linux customers -- being included in the steam linux sale (and getting bonus windows sales), etc.
Steam is pushing linux HARD. It's clear that's where they want things to go in the future. So regardless of how things look now, even if I wasn't a Linux booster, where Steam goes, I follow.
Now if only GOG would start supporting Linux :)
*For instance, Windows just freaked out on me this very morning insisting that I had a counterfeit copy, and I lost an hour talking to Microsoft support to fix it.
13% Mac OSX
Steam statistics since release.
When asking the developer if it dissuades him from future Linux ports:
Cliff HarrisNo, I think it will grow, due to steambox.
7.6% Mac OSX
On asking the developer if he will continue with Linux ports:
Daniel FedorOn one hand, the Linux crowd has been super appreciative of my supporting their OS. I get a lot of praise for it, and even some nice shout-outs from both users and publications. Plus, I think it makes admission into certain programs easier (e.g. bundles and other events for cross-platform-only titles)
On the other hand, supporting Linux has pretty severely hobbled my options in NEO Scavenger. I'm using Flash/AS3 as my development language, which was fine on Linux back in 2011.
However, Adobe dropped the Flash projector format in 2012, which was my main way to create desktop versions of the game. This wouldn't have been an issue on its own, since they created AIR for this exact purpose.
The issue arose when Adobe also dropped AIR support for Linux, which is now frozen at an old and unwieldy version.
Moving forward, I expect my next game will be using Haxe/OpenFL and maybe HaxeFlixel. In theory, it should allow me the same ease-of-programming I'm used to, with all the power of first-class desktop applications (file system access, networking, hardware-enabled performance).
I just want to make games. If the platforms are easy enough to support, then they have my support!
7% Mac OSX
On asking David Rosen if they plan to continue supporting Linux:
David Rosen, WolfireWell, 1% of our Steam sales is actually a lot more than it costs to have a game professionally ported to Linux, so it's still a net win financially! But there are many other reasons to support Linux aside from raw direct sales, and aside from the principle of supporting free software. For example, Valve is putting their weight behind Linux as a new major gaming platform, and it was fun to see the Linux version of Overgrowth pre-installed on some of their demo boxes at Steam Dev Days. Also, as alway, it seems like Linux users are much more vocal on the internet than most users. I don't have hard data for this, but I would bet that they are also disproportionately represented among modders, detailed bug reporters, and participants in our community forums and chat rooms.
Rust - From the studio behind Garry's Mod
3% Mac OSX
Overall sales statistics from the Steam release.
The numbers don't look very good overall if you directly compare it to Windows, but like with everything Linux I am personally pinning my hopes on Steam Machines & SteamOS giving us the boost we so deserve. We aren't that far off Mac numbers which is encouraging at least.
When you consider that just over a year ago Linux sales for developers on Steam would have officially been 0%, it's actually quite encouraging that after such a short time we are already making up 5% of sales for some of them.
What are your thoughts on these statistics then guys? Does it paint a good or bad picture for you?
Final note, a big thank you to all the developers covered here who took the time out of their busy developer lives to chat to me even for a moment on this topic.