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Recently we put up an article highlighting a possible issue with how Valve were counting Steam Play Proton sales, here's a full correction and more information.

In the previous article, it referenced a Reddit post and Valve's quick statement at the time that Steam Play Proton might not have listed Linux as the platform for a game sale. We also added an update to that article today, after speaking to a developer whose Windows-only title was purchased by myself (and others) as they had told us they saw no Linux sales which seemingly confirmed there was an issue.

As it turns out, the system is working correctly but there was a filtering issue.

Valve reached out today to GOL to issue this statement:

Hi Liam,

We've looked at the issue and don't believe there's a platform tracking problem.

On the reporting side, there are two different ways that partner track how their
game is doing on Steam. There's a per-game summary page; that one gets updated fairly quickly. There's also a detailed monthly financial reports breaking down all the payments made to a publisher, with some amount of delay.

While Linux sales were tracked properly throughout, there was filtering in place that did not separate "Linux Units and Revenue" from "Total Units and Revenue" on the per-game summary page. This would only occur when an application was not launchable via Linux, and was purely a display issue. As can be noted by checking any of the previous monthly financial reports, these transactions were separated out into Windows/Mac/Linux for all applications (regardless of their supported platforms) at the time of payment. We have made a change to the summary page to also show Linux units when they exist for an application; I expect it should help reduce confusion around this situation.

Thanks for bringing this to our attention,
 - Pierre-Loup

It's really great to see Valve keep on top of this, communicate with us on it and act so quickly to ensure there's no more confusion for developers going forward. Hopefully then, it means this issue can be put to rest and everyone gaming on Linux can continue enjoying whatever they like.

Confused on what Steam Play and Proton are? Be sure to check out our simple guide.


Update 26/02: Got a reply today from Valve to clarify other sales. The Steam Desktop client takes the initial platform, then two weeks playtime to count. All others (Android, Browser) default to Windows and then two weeks playtime. So of you buy games outside of the Linux Steam client, ensure you're loading them up for a bit otherwise it's a Windows platform sale.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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scaine 26 February 2020 at 12:22 pm UTC
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Almost exclusively browser-purchases here too, and since my backlog is insane, it can take me months to play my purchases. So depressing.

Just editing to add - there are MANY times I've bought a (admittedly low value) game just to show the dev a Linux sale and with no intention, or even desire, to play it. That they all counted as Windows sales because Steam can't be bothered to check a user agent is really, really painful.

Valve have a simple solution to this too - just let us note our "platform of choice" in preferences. Not the filtering option for store purchases, just an option to say "I play on this platform".

But it seems they can't risk pissing off the Windows status quo...


Last edited by scaine on 26 February 2020 at 12:25 pm UTC
Cybolic 26 February 2020 at 1:38 pm UTC
scaine[...] there are MANY times I've bought a (admittedly low value) game just to show the dev a Linux sale and with no intention, or even desire, to play it. That they all counted as Windows sales because Steam can't be bothered to check a user agent is really, really painful.[...]
Same here; even bought some "AAA" titles that I don't really care about all that much, but where I wanted to show that there's a paying Linux audience.
It hadn't even crossed my mind that a user with only Linux selected in their preferences, using exclusively the client for Linux and purchasing using a browser identified as running on, yet again, Linux, might actually count as Windows.
scaine 26 February 2020 at 3:51 pm UTC
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Cybolic
scaine[...] there are MANY times I've bought a (admittedly low value) game just to show the dev a Linux sale and with no intention, or even desire, to play it. That they all counted as Windows sales because Steam can't be bothered to check a user agent is really, really painful.[...]
Same here; even bought some "AAA" titles that I don't really care about all that much, but where I wanted to show that there's a paying Linux audience.
It hadn't even crossed my mind that a user with only Linux selected in their preferences, using exclusively the client for Linux and purchasing using a browser identified as running on, yet again, Linux, might actually count as Windows.

I've only done that once, for Dirt Rally, and luckily it was via Feral's store, so I think I'm okay on that front! Infuriating though.
Eike 26 February 2020 at 3:53 pm UTC
scaineI've only done that once, for Dirt Rally, and luckily it was via Feral's store, so I think I'm okay on that front! Infuriating though.

Feral's store is perfect. I even bought a game there for a friend only running Windows.
Shmerl 26 February 2020 at 4:41 pm UTC
Liam DaweGot a reply today from Valve to clarify other sales.

Desktop client takes the initial platform, then two weeks playtime to count. All others (Android, browser) default to Windows then two weeks playtime.

Why is it so hard to analyze the user agent in case of the browser?
Comandante Ñoñardo 2 March 2020 at 4:33 pm UTC
What about gifts?
If I purchase a proton game as a gift via my Linux Steam client? How it will count?
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