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Linux market share on Steam drops again as Steam continues to grow

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Another month and another Steam Hardware Survey, despite what some out there are saying, there is no cause for alarm.

Here's the latest statistics from Valve (from here):

  • Windows: 98.33% +0.29%
  • Mac: 1.35% -0.21%
  • Linux: 0.27% -0.05%

While I've seen people disappointed with the numbers, it really can't be helped right now. To be clear, this in no way means there's suddenly less Linux gamers than a few months ago, not at all. Steam itself is growing rapidly in markets where Linux isn't currently popular. One market growing, doesn't mean another is shrinking if you're adding more to the total. Not only that, but it's being fuelled a lot by PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS which is not on Linux or Mac. Mac is actually seeing the biggest losses over the past few months due to this.

Steam is practically exploding with "Simplified Chinese" now taking the biggest share of users at 64.35% (+8.23%) on Windows. On Linux, Simplified Chinese only has a share of 0.63%, so you can easily link up what's happening.

Once the bubble has burst over the mass hype around PUBG, I fully expect the numbers to move back towards what they were before. It will happen too, all bubbles eventually burst, it will probably happen again in future and in reality nothing has actually changed.

When speaking to game developers, they often show sales from Linux games being around the 1% mark and higher. Most recently, in part 5 of my article series of talking to developers about sales of their Linux games, we were seeing numbers well above what Valve have been showing recently. I've spoken to another few developers over the last few weeks, while trying to arrange part 6 in the series and I can already tell you that Linux gaming is not in a sudden decline in terms of sales numbers.

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Tags: Editorial, Steam
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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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Liothe 2 Dec, 2017
ElectricPrism 2 Dec, 2017


razing32 2 Dec, 2017
With support built into major engines I don't think we are in a decline anytime soon.
In any case I think judging by how many pages GOL has already , I think we have enough games for a lifetime at least :)
kalin 2 Dec, 2017
There is no point in such news/drama. Linux user base is insignificant enough to no one give a shit if our numbers drop
qptain Nemo 2 Dec, 2017
So basically good support for PUBG in Wine + a distro with good Chinese support and we win. (. ‿ . )
Liam Dawe 2 Dec, 2017
kalinThere is no point in such news/drama. Linux user base is insignificant enough to no one give a shit if our numbers drop
I would argue against that. I care, as I'm sure the vast majority of Linux gamers care about how well we're doing. Why wouldn't we care?

Some places end up talking about the numbers as if they're some kind of absolute, to show Linux use falling. An example of this is PC World, I spoke to the editor of that article telling them to look a bit deeper, so they did. It's a problem when people just take the number at face value, without looking into any of the reasons behind it, or even realizing that it's a ratio and not actually showing the number of Linux users falling (as explained in my article here). If people see large sites claiming things like that, they believe it and parrot it and so it spreads that Linux gaming is falling (when we don't know that).

I believe it's important to be clear about the situation and explain the reasons behind such changes, whether it's a positive or negative outlook.
Kiba 2 Dec, 2017
China numba wan
Boogiepop_Phantom 2 Dec, 2017
Unfortunately our numbers are still insignificant. Probably it's more profitable now to make Chinese localizations than port games to Linux.

Last edited by Boogiepop_Phantom on 2 December 2017 at 8:03 pm UTC
1xok 2 Dec, 2017
And Windows 10 drops again by 4.97%.
slaapliedje 2 Dec, 2017
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qptain NemoSo basically good support for PUBG in Wine + a distro with good Chinese support and we win. (. ‿ . )

This is what I'd read as well. It isn't so much that there are less people playing on Linux, but an influx of non-Linux playing people in China?

That makes more sense. Let's just get an actual PORT of PUBG. I bought it because someone said it was cool... but then I decided I'd only allow myself to boot into Windows for Elite: Dangerous. :P
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