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Linux usage on Steam is better than people think

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The latest Steam Hardware Survey is out, and as usual some websites are claiming the death of SteamOS. We are here with a better outlook.

February 2016
Linux: 0.91% - 0.04%

If you only take the latest stats at face value alone, you are of course going to see articles containing things like this:
PC WorldValve's considerable efforts on behalf of Linux-based gaming just aren't paying off.

Source - I actually like a lot of PC World's stuff, but this article needed a little more research which I hope they do in future.

There's some key things here that people just aren't covering (or they just aren't aware which is possible).
- The first and most important thing is that SteamOS and Steam Big Picture just don't show a survey, and that's a fact we actually covered.

- Linking into that above fact, for all we know a bunch of people are now using a SteamOS machine rather than their desktop for gaming (or the PC linked to their TV now uses SteamOS rather than another distribution which is what I did), so they aren't tracked at all by this survey. I might have even been one of them, since I use mine regularly.

- The third important thing to remember is that the Steam user-base is constantly growing, and at a rather decent pace too. This growth in general means that even if the Linux percentage on Steam is shown as slightly lower it's actually bigger overall. It's just that Steam's growth is outpacing Linux growth by itself to show a positive uptake on the Steam Hardware Survey.

I would also like to just point out in general, that the percentages we are talking about here are so low it could even be put down to statistical anomalies. We're not only talking below 1% here, we're talking a 0.04% drop over last month, that's a tiny percentage.

Honestly, I think Valve are starting to do more damage month after month having the Operating System (software) in a Hardware survey. I wish they would do something to fix this. It's a hardware survey after all, and you can trigger it easily with a change of hardware or operating system so it's not a great measure to use. How many of you have said about seeing it in Wine, or booting into Windows to see it pop up? I see lots of comments on that.

Linux is actually doing quite well overall looking at the games we have gained, and the games we will be getting. We also have Vulkan coming along which could offer a performance boost for the heavier games.

We also now have well over 1900 games available on Steam for Linux and that number is growing at a great pace. We have Feral Interactive about to announce what looks like two titles too, here and here.

You can also see on SteamDB how many games are likely to come to Linux in future too (quite a lot), and that's only games that have bits stored on Steam. Plenty of games still manage to hide from it before release.

So remember to stay strong, and keep buying those Linux games.
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boltronics 5 March 2016 at 8:31 am UTC
It's also worth noting that Steam Machines and the controller is still marked as "Coming Soon" in many parts of the world, including my country. SteamOS still isn't running in top gear.

I just built myself a new GNU/Linux machine, which has no Windows install. Finally I should now be able to run Shadow of Mordor, Dying Light, Metro Redux, etc. Been looking forward to this day for a long time.

I also brought myself a Thrustmaster T.Flight Hotas X for Descent Underground, Overload (if it's successful in getting backed), etc. but saddened that the throttle behaves oddly and is basically unusable in it's current state. Everything else on the thing works 100%, so that's a real head-scratcher - especially since it's supposed to be a popular model.
Pecisk 5 March 2016 at 9:08 am UTC
Latest Microsoft news showed us what Valve knew already for all this time - they need SteamOS/Steam Machines, badly. It is not about Linux vs. Windows anymore, it is about Valve being able to manage their business model using PCs. Microsoft wants to take it away. Valve will use SteamOS/Steam Machine combo (along side with other gadgets) to carve out their own playground in long term.

This is long haul folks. Stop reading sensacional articles - or make ones. Let's concentrate on quality. We don't need 2000 games on Steam playable on Linux - I want to know how much are recommended, I want to read good reviews, I want everything to be visible to anyone buying Steam Machine, or installing Linux and Steam Client for first time.

As for Steam Survey goes considering how inconsistent it really is on Linux client I really doubt they are representative. Also actual numbers of Linux gamers *is* growing. It is visible everywhere. Companies keep porting games like crazy and cite good will from community and considerable stable numbers of sales. Now as OS X is dying is slow, painful death as PC gaming platform, Linux is really one and only alternative.
Nyap 5 March 2016 at 9:26 am UTC
I personally agree with winf*gs that linux should die. If linux took over, corporate greed would completely ruin it. Cuz there's no money in open-source and free
tony1ab 5 March 2016 at 9:26 am UTC
Some months ago it was the 0.90% of 80 millions and now is 0.90% of 110 millions of people.
They dont see this? Are they blind?


Last edited by tony1ab at 5 March 2016 at 9:27 am UTC
minj 5 March 2016 at 9:37 am UTC
http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/mar/04/microsoft-monopolise-pc-games-development-epic-games-gears-of-war

Normally I'd day Steam Survey is rubbish and those changes are insignificant anyway. Just so happens that I got the survey this time again after a year or more.
Caldazar 5 March 2016 at 9:50 am UTC
I kind of gave up on the pure concentration on those percentages. Partly because they are indeed underwhelming, let's face it, but more importantly, because I don't think anymore that they count for much right now.

While Steam is doing its thing, me and my Linux gaming machines went from being the butt of jokes to being a viable alternative in case Microsoft screws up. That is true with my friends as well as gaming community boards. No one is laughing anymore because half of them actually tried it.

And exactly this new first hand experience is what isn't represented with those percentages. "It's way easier than I thought" is a typical reaction of those who dipped their toe into the water for the first time.

They still use Windows of course, because for gaming it still is the better alternative. But they all know Linux is there and ready when they need it.
So does Steam, and I think that is the point of it all.
karincaanteni 5 March 2016 at 9:53 am UTC
Half life 3 absolutely must be time exclusive. maybe so that something good happens for linux.
Pecisk 5 March 2016 at 9:57 am UTC
So strap on, review games, recommend good games, report bugs and provide good criticism to developers and get ecosphere going. Linux is not going away as gaming platform. It will only get better. Case closed.
Pecisk 5 March 2016 at 9:58 am UTC
CaldazarI kind of gave up on the pure concentration on those percentages. Partly because they are indeed underwhelming, let's face it, but more importantly, because I don't think anymore that they count for much right now.

While Steam is doing its thing, me and my Linux gaming machines went from being the butt of jokes to being a viable alternative in case Microsoft screws up. That is true with my friends as well as gaming community boards. No one is laughing anymore because half of them actually tried it.

And exactly this new first hand experience is what isn't represented with those percentages. "It's way easier than I thought" is a typical reaction of those who dipped their toe into the water for the first time.

They still use Windows of course, because for gaming it still is the better alternative. But they all know Linux is there and ready when they need it.
So does Steam, and I think that is the point of it all.

Very good side note there. Linux/SteamOS being *viable* alternative is what Valve and gaming community needs. We have time to get this right, no need for panic. +1
Pecisk 5 March 2016 at 10:11 am UTC
tony1abSome months ago it was the 0.90% of 80 millions and now is 0.90% of 110 millions of people.
They dont see this? Are they blind?

I think it is worth when do reporting provide these numbers, and give approximate number of Linux players, not percentages.
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