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

Posted by , / 4408 views

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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neowiz73 3 December 2017 at 1:23 am UTC
64.35% of all steam users are Chinese speaking. English is only 17.02% that is an interesting statistic in of itself. with Chinese at a growth of 8.23% and english at a decline of -4.25%. with the increase of windows 7 almost in the same proportions and the drop of windows 10 similar to english speakers. if you make a game on steam it should have Chinese translations be designed for dx11 as a prereq if you want the largest market. interesting times indeed...
g000h 3 December 2017 at 1:29 am UTC
neowiz7364.35% of all steam users are Chinese speaking. English is only 17.02% that is an interesting statistic in of itself. with Chinese at a growth of 8.23% and english at a decline of -4.25%. with the increase of windows 7 almost in the same proportions and the drop of windows 10 similar to english speakers. if you make a game on steam it should have Chinese translations be designed for dx11 as a prereq if you want the largest market. interesting times indeed...

Well, that in itself should be good for developers adopting Vulkan... and knock-on is better WINE gaming for Linux users, and easier Linux Ports.
Salvatos 3 December 2017 at 6:17 am UTC
To be quite honest, I don't see the point of rehashing this article every month just to reiterate that the numbers don't mean jack and that the Chinese are taking over Steam. Might as well not talk about the surveys at all if they're meaningless and we're meant to disregard them.

Just my opinion, no offense.
logge 3 December 2017 at 6:53 am UTC
The numbers won't bring me back to windows gaming.
Areso 3 December 2017 at 9:48 am UTC
razing32With 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
Today it's cheaper to deliver a game to Linux, but not charge-free.
Porting has issues with graphics drivers (they are not completely broken, but have a numerous arthifacts), audiosubsystem (hello Pulse/Alsa), testing (on bunch of distros, x86 and 64 platforms), building and so on.
And now the question is:
1) Would I make more money if I deliver more content (or content of better quality) in my game
or
2) Would I make more money if I deliver my game to whose, who cannot afford to buy even OS?
If previously there are was about 1-1.5% and Valve stands behind, but now percentage drops in few times and Valve playing themselves with VR (which are more niche than Linux gaming itself), I doubt it.
Areso 3 December 2017 at 9:51 am UTC
SalvatosTo be quite honest, I don't see the point of rehashing this article every month just to reiterate that the numbers don't mean jack and that the Chinese are taking over Steam. Might as well not talk about the surveys at all if they're meaningless and we're meant to disregard them.

Just my opinion, no offense.
Probably we should tell Chinese about advantages of Linux (i.e. Linux gaming)?
They have Kylin (which are official Canonical Ubuntu derivative for Chinese) and they still use pirated Windows after all.
razing32 3 December 2017 at 10:53 am UTC
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Areso
razing32With 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
Today it's cheaper to deliver a game to Linux, but not charge-free.
Porting has issues with graphics drivers (they are not completely broken, but have a numerous arthifacts), audiosubsystem (hello Pulse/Alsa), testing (on bunch of distros, x86 and 64 platforms), building and so on.
And now the question is:
1) Would I make more money if I deliver more content (or content of better quality) in my game
or
2) Would I make more money if I deliver my game to whose, who cannot afford to buy even OS?
If previously there are was about 1-1.5% and Valve stands behind, but now percentage drops in few times and Valve playing themselves with VR (which are more niche than Linux gaming itself), I doubt it.

Nobody says it's "free" , just that support is being integrated into major engines.
It still takes work , sure, but the option is now there.

I honestly doubt anyone thinks we cannot "afford" the OS. We are buying the games and asking for the privilege to buy them after all.
And yes if they do look at the percentage alone they may omit Linux as a platform but at the same time a simple google search will produce the article Liam posted from PC gamer that shows the percentages aren't that significant and there are still enough users that might buy the end product.

Also a spike in Windows users may relate to a trend for one game in particular(i.e PUBG) and that benefits only the devs of that game.
lucifertdark 3 December 2017 at 11:19 am UTC
Hands up anyone who has had the survey recently, anyone? no? There's your reason for the drop, hardly any Linux users are getting access to the survey.
Boogiepop_Phantom 3 December 2017 at 11:30 am UTC
QuoteAlso a spike in Windows users may relate to a trend for one game in particular(i.e PUBG) and that benefits only the devs of that game.

That benefit all windows devs, because all those people who came for PUBG can buy another game or two, or maybe 10 who knows.

Quotehardly any Linux users are getting access to the survey.

Yeah, grand scale conspiracy as usual.


Last edited by Boogiepop_Phantom at 3 December 2017 at 11:30 am UTC
sonic 3 December 2017 at 2:06 pm UTC
lucifertdarkHands up anyone who has had the survey recently, anyone?
Yep, yesterday (second time this year)
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