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Linux market-share on Steam dropped 0.08% in December 2016

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Something I forgot to write up, was that the latest Steam survey is out. Linux dropped by 0.08% according to the figures.

I always leave it a few days to cover it, as Valve tends to finalize the statistics a few days after it's put out. Originally it said we dropped by 0.01% which wasn't right.

December 2016
Windows 95.75% + 0.35%
OSX 3.31% - 0.28%
Linux 0.80% - 0.08%

I know a lot of people don't have faith in it, but from all the chats I've had with developers it's pretty accurate actually. If it wasn't, we would be seeing vastly different sales figures from developers.

The key thing to remember though, is that a lower percentage does not mean less Linux users. You have to remember that Steam is constantly growing, and every time they talk about the amount of active Steam accounts it has grown by a large amount. Only recently Steam passed 14 million concurrent user accounts online at a time.

To use our own survey as an example here. For the latest results from our Survey Ubuntu-based distributions gained +57 people, but the overall share for Ubuntu-based dropped by 0.69%, this is because all the other distributions gained +82 together, meaning their growth together outpaced Ubuntu-based.

Why is this important to know? Well, it's highly likely the amount of Linux users on Steam is growing, but it's probably dwarfed by Windows (and likely Mac too) growth at the same time so it brings down our market-share.

Nothing to worry about, so if anyone writes about it like it's Linux gaming doomsday, don't believe them. It would be something to worry about if developers started coming along noticing a drop in sales from Linux, but not a single developer has said so.

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I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly.
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1xok 15 Jan, 2017
Today I started steam over wine (for Doom 2016) since a long time and got promptly a survey. :)

Coincidence I think but can't remember when my last survey was. After all wine is recognized by steam as wine.

Last edited by 1xok on 15 January 2017 at 12:49 am UTC
GustyGhost 15 Jan, 2017
Oh, we must be back on the "Steam survey is inaccurate" side of the pendulum this month.
t3g 15 Jan, 2017
I haven't gotten a survey in over a year now. Why is Valve still basing this on a rare survey and not actual login and usage stats?

It hurts us and it hurts Valve too when it makes our platform look weak and on life support.
lucinos 15 Jan, 2017
Something other about how fast is steam growing these years that needs to be said.

Steam has now more linux games than it had windows games in 2013.

I believe that the "steam growth problem" that linux has is about how fast steam is growing now in Asia and apparently in Asia there are relatively less linux gamers.

Last edited by lucinos on 15 January 2017 at 4:35 am UTC
Kimyrielle 15 Jan, 2017
Well, it's certainly not doomsday, but I'd still have thought the large supply of Linux games we got in the past two years would have at least helped us to grow -at pace- with the other platforms. But our market share doesn't seem to change at all. One of these days we need to break though the threshold of marginality if we want more publishers to support us. I would think dev studios not supporting Linux are watching our market share - but if we stay below 1% forever, they won't see a good reason to change their attitude.
Nor Mantis 15 Jan, 2017
I don't pay attention to what Steam says. But in my personal life I had more people ask me about Linux in 2016 than any year before. That is a big sign for me when people ask me on their own.
Liam Dawe 15 Jan, 2017
Quoting: AnxiousInfusionOh, we must be back on the "Steam survey is inaccurate" side of the pendulum this month.
What? I'm saying it is accurate, have been saying that for quite some time.
lucinos 15 Jan, 2017
Quoting: GuestI don't know if it was already discussed or brought up before, but how does Steam take into account Steam users / accounts who dual-boots with Windows and Linux? Do they count it as Windows user?

I think Valve should have a separate statistics for Windows users who also dual-boots with Linux. There are probably Linux gamers who use Windows for games only available on Windows.

If you dual boot, Valve sees that you have two different computers (one windows and one linux). If you dual boot two linux distros, also sees that you have two different computers. I do not know how it weights people who use multiple computers but in principle it is not different to have two computers than to have dual boot.

If you use wine, that is also a different computer that counts as windows but provided by wine, not microsoft.

Last edited by lucinos on 15 January 2017 at 5:33 am UTC
GustyGhost 15 Jan, 2017
QuoteWhat? I'm saying it is accurate, have been saying that for quite some time.

Not directed at you. Just the inevitable responses to any time this number goes down.

Last edited by GustyGhost on 15 January 2017 at 5:35 am UTC
Salvatos 15 Jan, 2017
Quoting: Nor MantisI don't pay attention to what Steam says. But in my personal life I had more people ask me about Linux in 2016 than any year before. That is a big sign for me when people ask me on their own.
Windows 10 is starting to bear fruit :) Several of my friends don't want to "upgrade" and are hearing horror stories about those who did. Meanwhile when I troubleshoot their Windows problems I just jokingly remind them that I don't have those kinds of problems on Linux, without being an ass about it (after all, we have issues of our own). Over time they get curious and start asking me about Linux on their own. I think for many people, trying Linux is too much of a bother, but if the alternative is bad enough and they have someone to guide them through it they'll go for it. And right now the alternatives to Linux are pretty damn awful.

Last edited by Salvatos on 15 January 2017 at 5:51 am UTC
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