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Looks like the Linux market share on Steam went up in January

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I waited a bit longer than usual on this, since last time Valve adjusted their numbers from positive to negative for the Linux market share. It seems as of last month, the Linux market share on Steam went up a bit. You can see them on Steam here.

When I say "went up", I don't mean we actually increased. Well, we did, but we're still not at the levels we were before PUBG's (PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS) release on Steam. Anyway…the January 2018 market share on Steam for Linux was 0.41% (+ 0.15%).

That's certainly better than a continual downward trend that we had been seeing, but as I said in a previous article on this, I fully expect it to bounce around until the incredible interest around games like PUBG subsides.

I've gone and updated my previous charts to highlight what's been happening for those interested. First up, the Linux market share on Steam just by itself to see what's been happening recently.

Now, to get some perspective on why the sudden drop, take a look at the choice of languages on Steam, the battle for the most used language.

Finally, here's a look at what would happen if we took out Simplified Chinese as a language and when we look at just English as a language in relation to the Linux market share on Steam.

You might have questions as to what's going on for January to bounce back a little, well, it could be a simple case of "1,044,000" PUBG players being banned by BattlEye.

I know many of you question the validity of the numbers from the Steam Hardware Survey, but as far as Valve are concerned they're accurate. Here's what a Valve developer said about them about a year ago:

Actually, the real login numbers are usually a bit lower than the reported survey numbers due to the noise of random distribution. The system works as intended.

Just something to think about, for all the people who think it's unfair in some way.

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34 comments
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Purple Library Guy 7 February 2018 at 5:58 pm UTC
Still don't put much faith in the survey. Valve may think it's fit for purpose, but I have no way of knowing why, and it tends to be out of step with most other data I see about Linux usage.
The one major thing I take from the data lately is simple: Chinese people don't use Linux. It would be good if something were done about that.
x_wing 7 February 2018 at 6:01 pm UTC
And February will keep this raise as I finally was able to install a Linux distro in my girlfriend notebook (thanks W10, without your persistent ability to get slow it would have never been possible ). One more for the team!

Would be nice to know which is the spent average on buying games for each tier. I have the theory that a great percent of the Windows accounts are just dummy accounts or F2P.
no_information_here 7 February 2018 at 6:43 pm UTC
GustyGhostIf it doesn't matter to you when it's going down, then why does it matter when it's going up?
Well, to be consistent with my comment that you quoted, it is still statistical garbage. Never trust statistics that you can't check yourself. There is a reason that science is peer-reviewed.
razing32 7 February 2018 at 6:56 pm UTC
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FinalizerThe future is made for the linux machines. I know it because terminator t-101 model works on linux kernel 4.5 It will be a doom for windows 10 based robots because they need to boot themselves every time they need an update! And imagine that happens in the middle of the battle. Not a good vision for windows 10! Mankind will game on linux....hopefully. Anyway back to earth. It's a long way to linux get even 10% marketshare of operating systems when it comes to playing. One can hope it will happen in a couple of years when win7 support ends.Hopefully

Wouldn't be too hopeful.
I was visiting an ophthalmologist last year and I noticed out of the corner of my eye he was still using XP.
Once Win7 support dies some people will still cling to it. But given the free upgrade to win 10 many have already leaped.
Still would be nice to see increased Linux marketshare in corporate and personal.
Purple Library Guy 7 February 2018 at 8:31 pm UTC
razing32
FinalizerThe future is made for the linux machines. I know it because terminator t-101 model works on linux kernel 4.5 It will be a doom for windows 10 based robots because they need to boot themselves every time they need an update! And imagine that happens in the middle of the battle. Not a good vision for windows 10! Mankind will game on linux....hopefully. Anyway back to earth. It's a long way to linux get even 10% marketshare of operating systems when it comes to playing. One can hope it will happen in a couple of years when win7 support ends.Hopefully

Wouldn't be too hopeful.
I was visiting an ophthalmologist last year and I noticed out of the corner of my eye he was still using XP.
There's a lot of little specialty bits of software that people got used to using, that may have no real modern equivalent, and which only run on old Windows (or, ahem, maybe Wine). Understandably increases resistance to change.
scaine 7 February 2018 at 10:22 pm UTC
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You can't beat anecdotal evidence for this stuff. I gamed on Steam from 2004'sh to 2013 on Windows and it felt like I got the Steam survey every couple of months, certainly in the mid-2000's, when Valve established Steam as more of a gaming platform and less of a "sell Half-Life" vehicle. Then, I moved to Linux on beta Steam in 2013 and since then - two (maybe three?) surveys since. Total. In around four years.

Valve engineers can tell me that this is working "as intended" until they're blue in the face. Doesn't change my experience of the system.

I only care about this because I'm worried about the picture it paints to developers. And I'm optimistic (overly so, I admit) that there's a damn-sight more Linux users out there than this survey suggests, with or without PUBG trends.

So, I love the dev interviews Liam conducts with their sales figures. These often (not always, but often) show a MUCH higher percentage of Linux sales over the established "1%". Hopefully that continues to be the case in the future.

Either way though, I've pitched my tent. No going back for me. It's the been the Year of the Linux Desktop in this household for over four years.


Last edited by scaine at 7 February 2018 at 10:23 pm UTC
Leopard 2 years 7 February 2018 at 10:34 pm UTC
scaineYou can't beat anecdotal evidence for this stuff. I gamed on Steam from 2004'sh to 2013 on Windows and it felt like I got the Steam survey every couple of months, certainly in the mid-2000's, when Valve established Steam as more of a gaming platform and less of a "sell Half-Life" vehicle. Then, I moved to Linux on beta Steam in 2013 and since then - two (maybe three?) surveys since. Total. In around four years.

Valve engineers can tell me that this is working "as intended" until they're blue in the face. Doesn't change my experience of the system.

I only care about this because I'm worried about the picture it paints to developers. And I'm optimistic (overly so, I admit) that there's a damn-sight more Linux users out there than this survey suggests, with or without PUBG trends.

So, I love the dev interviews Liam conducts with their sales figures. These often (not always, but often) show a MUCH higher percentage of Linux sales over the established "1%". Hopefully that continues to be the case in the future.

Either way though, I've pitched my tent. No going back for me. It's the been the Year of the Linux Desktop in this household for over four years.

Yep , last time i got a survey was 1.5 years ago.
liamdawe 8 February 2018 at 12:19 am UTC
To add my own experience, on Linux I've seen the survey maybe 3 times in 3 years and yes I also saw it a lot more on Windows. I don't know what that says, I don't know their methods or how they do their sampling.

I shall continue to talk to developers to see their sales stats, sadly the latest round of emails and social messages has resulted in zero developers replying. Shall continue until some do for part 6 of my sales stats articles.
DanNeely 8 February 2018 at 12:49 am UTC
razing32
FinalizerThe future is made for the linux machines. I know it because terminator t-101 model works on linux kernel 4.5 It will be a doom for windows 10 based robots because they need to boot themselves every time they need an update! And imagine that happens in the middle of the battle. Not a good vision for windows 10! Mankind will game on linux....hopefully. Anyway back to earth. It's a long way to linux get even 10% marketshare of operating systems when it comes to playing. One can hope it will happen in a couple of years when win7 support ends.Hopefully

Wouldn't be too hopeful.
I was visiting an ophthalmologist last year and I noticed out of the corner of my eye he was still using XP.
Once Win7 support dies some people will still cling to it. But given the free upgrade to win 10 many have already leaped.
Still would be nice to see increased Linux marketshare in corporate and personal.

Win 7 isn't going to be going away anytime soon. It's phaseout is running behind XPs. Which probably means that even though they haven't said anything publicly, MS will be forced to extend its supported lifespan for a few years to avoid avoid inflicting a massive foreverday apocalypse on the internet as a whole.
skinnyraf 8 February 2018 at 9:22 am UTC
So this significant increase puts us back on the general downwards trend that has been ongoing for more than a year now?

Windows 10 S is our only hope now ;)
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