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After initially showing the decrease as an increase, it seems Valve have now corrected the Steam Hardware Survey results for October 2018.

Originally, it showed as a 0.05% increase even though the figure in October 2018 for Linux is 0.72% compared to September's 0.78% so it's a decrease of 0.06% for people to argue over. This is after Valve fixed a rounding error for small distributions that they reported on October 4th. Keep in mind, they may adjust this figure again like they have a few times.

As a reminder, we have a dedicated page tracking various details including the reported Linux market share on Steam.

It's worth noting, again, that Steam is always growing. As an example of this, Valve reported in April 2018 that they had 43 million daily active users. However, Valve did a presentation back at the Melbourne Games Week last month where they reported that daily active figure to now be 47 million. So, between April and October they had an increase of 4 million daily active users. They're also now up to 90 million monthly active users, which is 23 million more than last year (source).

To give you some fun data points:

  • Linux daily active users around: 338,400.
  • Linux monthly active users around: 648,000.

The amount of growth Valve is getting is pretty incredible really. They don't seem to have given out a new total active amount of users for a while, but considering their growth it seems like it could be quite a lot compared to the 125 million figure they gave out back in 2015.

So do keep in mind, that while the share is lower overall, the figure it actually represents in terms of actual Linux users is quite likely to be still growing but being outpaced by new Windows users on Steam at the same time. I imagine it's going to take a lot for our growth to ever outpace Windows and push the reported share higher to a point where it's notable. Hopefully when Steam Play matures it might help, but it's far too early to tell.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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39 comments
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mylka 2 November 2018 at 2:25 pm UTC
dannielloSorry to say that, but Valve surveys are not reliable. If they do not know how to count/interpret surveys - perhaps they should outsource it to someone more reliable like steamdb.info.

But some data are sure without surveys - Linux gaming market is very small (almost no AAA new native titles plus abandon Linux port by many Indie developers means that even this virtual 648000 monthly Linux users it is not worth native port).

Linux native games even with Steam Proton is simply not enough to convince "average Windows/Mac user" to learn how to install Linux on his/her computer. Without some "big company" involved (Dell Steam Machines 2?) - I do not think that situation will change...

what is the problem with installing linux? its pretty simple
it takes time. win7 support ends and maybe some developers will use VULKAN for game they just started to program.


but i dont think valve needs surveys. steam records everything. playtime, when u played the last time, OS, etc. why do they need surveys anyway?
Comandante Ñoñardo 2 November 2018 at 2:50 pm UTC
I just checked and I see:
Windows -0.02
OSX -0.03
Linux +0.05
cprn 2 November 2018 at 3:57 pm UTC
We need Ellon Musk to start give away free top-notch hardware to anyone who signs the paper saying they'll game solely on Linux for a year.
Dedale 2 November 2018 at 4:32 pm UTC
In short. It is too early to draw conclusions because they are still having rounding error troubles !?
danniello 2 November 2018 at 5:00 pm UTC
mylkawhat is the problem with installing linux? its pretty simple
it takes time. win7 support ends and maybe some developers will use VULKAN for game they just started to program.
There is no problem at all - for "power users". "Average user" will not reinstall system. In fact most users do not care what is on his/her computer - they are using what was prepared by manufacturer.

Users that in 2020 still will be using Windows 7 probably will not be game developers target. Even so - probably they will stay with Windows 7 anyway.

The real change could be done only by "big company" that will start selling hardware with Linux. Example: Nintendo Switch it is rather new console. Even that there is already many AAA titles - old and new ones. Valve should cooperate with someone and do the same.
Cestarian 2 November 2018 at 6:26 pm UTC
Whew, that's like almost twice the population of my country.
jens 2 November 2018 at 7:11 pm UTC
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dannielloSorry to say that, but Valve surveys are not reliable.

Because it does not show what you want to see? I think the numbers from the survey are much more realistic than one would think. I remember reading here that developers more or less confirmed these numbers in their sales.

Sure, less than 1% is far from cool, but I guess that is indeed our position.


Last edited by jens on 2 November 2018 at 7:13 pm UTC
Darcalus 2 November 2018 at 7:31 pm UTC
i haven't had a steam survey since i transitioned when they released proton. they should allow people to opt-in if they want to contribute.
nadrolinux 2 November 2018 at 7:56 pm UTC
I had steam survey yesterday (first time since a year+). In october I replaced ssd in my PC, so I think that it may be a reason.
stretch611 2 November 2018 at 8:03 pm UTC
dannielloBut some data are sure without surveys - Linux gaming market is very small (almost no AAA new native titles plus abandon Linux port by many Indie developers means that even this virtual 648000 monthly Linux users it is not worth native port).

Linux native games even with Steam Proton is simply not enough to convince "average Windows/Mac user" to learn how to install Linux on his/her computer. Without some "big company" involved (Dell Steam Machines 2?) - I do not think that situation will change...

Lets face the truth here...

How many people actually switched to linux because they are an avid gamer and want the best games? Unless you are trying to be funny, or are completely delusional, I am sure the answer is none; even on this site dedicated to linux gaming.

You switched to linux for a different reason; whether that is you didn't want to pay for a windows license, or were fed up with telemetry, or crashes, viruses, or had a crash and no install disks. You may be using linux for educational or work reasons as well. Or, someone that helps you with computers decided to install linux for you. Possibly some specific app might have caused you to use linux. But as I said, you did not come to linux for games...

That being said, regardless of your reason for coming to linux, you want to use it now, and play games on it.

WINE/Proton will never in itself cause people to migrate to linux. NEVER. Why would someone on windows which can run all the windows games without the need for WINE switch to linux to use WINE? As wonderful as WINE/Proton is, it does not work with everything and you have a better chance of support with native windows than with WINE under linux.

However, WINE/Proton does help in one very big aspect... It allows people who choose to switch to linux to minimize any need to go back. It allows people to play games they already have without needing to reboot to windows. But even with this, the point is that some other reason caused someone to switch to linux, not linux gaming.

This is not likely to change any time soon either... The big AAA titles draw people to gaming, but the publishers are not going to limit themselves to a market so small. Until something else creates a mass migration to linux, the big game companies will be supporting windows.
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