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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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rkfg 8 February 2018 at 10:03 am UTC
liamdaweTo 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 noticed that survey usually asks for things that can't be detected reliably enough, like your connection speed, microphone use, Steam Link ownership and such. I now strongly believe the survey has nothing to do with calcualting the market shares. As a developer, why would you show a user a survey only to account for their platform? It's already known to the Steam binary! So I think the survey itself is overrated and if you haven't got it even once in years it doesn't mean a thing.
Pompesdesky 8 February 2018 at 11:11 am UTC
liamdaweTo 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.

My experience has been different, I got the survey each time I installed a distro from scratch (even got it once after upgrading Mint to a newer version) or when I changed some hardware. I also got it last week out of the blue
Beamboom 8 February 2018 at 12:17 pm UTC
I too receive the survey once or twice a year, and I haven't upgraded anything in a long time.
Purple Library Guy 8 February 2018 at 5:50 pm UTC
rkfg
liamdaweTo 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 noticed that survey usually asks for things that can't be detected reliably enough, like your connection speed, microphone use, Steam Link ownership and such. I now strongly believe the survey has nothing to do with calcualting the market shares. As a developer, why would you show a user a survey only to account for their platform? It's already known to the Steam binary! So I think the survey itself is overrated and if you haven't got it even once in years it doesn't mean a thing.
As to what the Steam binary "knows"--I work in a university library. Our thing is to keep track of a few million books, journals, DVDs, electronic resources of all sorts and so on. To do this we have an extremely complex and pretty damn expensive software system. And in my job I frequently come face to face with the strong distinction between what "the system knows" as in, the information is definitely in there somewhere, and what "the system knows" as in what there is any way for me to retrieve. Doesn't help that our current system kind of sucks, but it's a general problem with complex software.
So the Valve people may or may not actually know the platform information that the Steam binary must obviously have. Someone could surely code a way to retrieve that information, but whether they have actually done so or whether they just rely on the survey because it's there, we don't know. All we know is, the only data they're telling anybody is the stuff from the survey. Which may or may not be accurate, because they're also not telling us how the dang thing works.

Thinking of the survey, I think I've gotten it like once in the last few years. I don't even get it when I buy a new computer, install Linux on it and start gaming fresh. OK, my /home gets installed on the new computer from backup, but still. Not much surveyage here.


Last edited by Purple Library Guy at 8 February 2018 at 5:52 pm UTC
no_information_here 8 February 2018 at 8:05 pm UTC
Purple Library GuySo the Valve people may or may not actually know the platform information that the Steam binary must obviously have.
Yeah, it is too bad that Valve is so short on cash and no software developers want to work for them. Otherwise, a more tech-savvy company could hire someone for a week to write something into the client.

/s
Purple Library Guy 8 February 2018 at 8:30 pm UTC
Really, from a "promoting Linux gaming" perspective I'd probably be more interested in Valve stats of how much money is spent buying games from the different platforms.
wolfyrion 9 February 2018 at 7:46 am UTC
Actually I beleive that the main reason was that some WINDOWS 10 users were unable to boot there PCs after Microsofts emergency Meltdown-Spectre patch!


Last edited by wolfyrion at 9 February 2018 at 7:47 am UTC
razing32 9 February 2018 at 9:13 am UTC
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wolfyrionActually I beleive that the main reason was that some WINDOWS 10 users were unable to boot there PCs after Microsofts emergency Meltdown-Spectre patch!

I've seen a few PCs bricked at work , my boss's included.
slaapliedje 10 February 2018 at 9:53 am UTC
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razing32
wolfyrionActually I beleive that the main reason was that some WINDOWS 10 users were unable to boot there PCs after Microsofts emergency Meltdown-Spectre patch!

I've seen a few PCs bricked at work , my boss's included.

This brings up what I was thinking. I have talked many times with coworkers about using Linux for work and general desktop use. All of them still have this mentality it is crap. They love it for servers, but think it is not useful for general computing, let alone gaming. And I can't help but think that most of this is fed to them through the push by most IT limiting their supported platforms to Windows or macOS.

Back in 80s, it was said many times, things like "no one was ever fired for buying IBM." What people used at work typically is what people use at home, and I thonk that still partially holds true.

If we could get more companies to support using Linux on company provided laptops, the desktop market share would also go up.

More users there, the more gaming that goes on there.
razing32 10 February 2018 at 10:46 am UTC
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slaapliedjeIf we could get more companies to support using Linux on company provided laptops, the desktop market share would also go up.

Actually , I used to work for a company related to IBM , and the IBM-ers I spoke to told me they had a choice of Windows or Red Hat since they used Lotus Notes at the time for mail/chat.

Not sure if this still holds true today though.
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