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Valve have put out another of their monthly Steam Hardware & Software Survey and it puts the Linux market share figure on Steam at 0.52%. In comparison the month before was at 0.57%.

I said before, I won't write about this every month, so I wanted to touch on it again today. To get this out the way first, as a reminder we're tracking the Linux share on Steam on a dedicated page right here. Obviously, it doesn't paint a very positive picture when you simply take the percentages at face value—which you simply shouldn't do.

However, this leads me onto an important point, Valve recently did a presentation where they showed quite a large amount of overall growth:


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Nearly 4 million first-time users each month, actually buying something on Steam. Their figures always blow me away, it's just an insane amount of people we're talking about overall here. This seems to be a constant too, every time Valve talk about it, they've grown tremendously.

Considering the constant growth rate of Steam, especially in markets where the primary language is Chinese, it's not surprising the Linux overall share drops. Valve's own survey shows that for Linux users, Simplified Chinese as a language option only makes up 0.95%, so when you think about how Steam is growing and in markets where it seems Linux isn't popular, it will bring down our overall market share. This is shown pretty clearly on our dedicated page, where you can pretty easily see the correlation between the Linux share dropping as the overall share of Simplified Chinese across the whole of Steam rises. 

Taking all that into account, while the Linux market share on Steam has dropped, we're always talking about a percentage based on an overall number that's constantly growing. I would imagine the overall number of Linux users has increased, but to know that for sure we would need Valve to be more forthcoming about their total active users more regularly.

There's still a lot of ways Linux gaming needs to improve of course. It seems pulling in users from Asia would probably help quite a lot, but for that we need the heavy-hitting titles they seem to love like PUBG. Virtual Reality is one of the big ones right now, which Valve have been investing in getting it to work well on Linux, so eventually that side of things should improve.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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madpinger 2 July 2018 at 8:56 am UTC
Well, whilst you need, lets say grade school level math to comprehend that the % going down can actually rep growth depending on the base that percentage applies to, there will still be articles popping up about the death of linux gaming. *shrugs*
skinnyraf 2 July 2018 at 9:01 am UTC
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madpingerWell, whilst you need, lets say grade school level math to comprehend that the % going down can actually rep growth depending on the base that percentage applies to, there will still be articles popping up about the death of linux gaming. *shrugs*

You don't need articles. It's enough to have developers, who decide not to dedicate development time to serve 1 potential gamer, when they can spend that time to improve the game in a way that will benefit all other 199 potential gamers at the expense of that one.
kellerkindt 2 July 2018 at 9:04 am UTC
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Am I the only one thinking a separate listing per country would be neat?
aFoxNamedMorris 2 July 2018 at 9:05 am UTC
Wouldn't that mean roughly 19,500 new Steam users on Linux per month? That's no small number.
Ehvis 2 July 2018 at 9:10 am UTC
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aFoxNamedMorrisWouldn't that mean roughly 19,500 new Steam users on Linux per month? That's no small number.

Not necessarily. Back when Steam had about 125 million users, about 1% was on Linux. Now it must be going to about 200 million with 0.52% on Linux. Accounting for some statistical variation, that is about the same. Seems to me that Steam Linux users are fairly stable at just above a million.
TheSHEEEP 2 July 2018 at 9:12 am UTC
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I am currently learning Chinese and yes, the Linux support for Chinese typing is simply much worse on it than on Windows.
That just makes it that much harder to gain any ground in China. Not really sure how that could change other than with some serious financial backing. Windows is such a standard in China, I don't think much ground is to be gained there, tbh.


Last edited by TheSHEEEP at 2 July 2018 at 9:14 am UTC
cprn 2 July 2018 at 9:25 am UTC
Ehvis[...] Seems to me that Steam Linux users are fairly stable at just above a million.

Maybe but improbable. There are new Linux users every day registering on forums, asking stack questions and getting counted in the linuxcounter.net project. It would be weird of none of them were gamers. Even weirder if none of them had Steam account. I can agree as long as fairy stable means growing slowly but otherwise I just can't believe it.
Ehvis 2 July 2018 at 9:41 am UTC
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cprnI can agree as long as fairy stable means growing slowly but otherwise I just can't believe it.

Could very well be possible. I don't think the data is accurate enough to clearly show something like 10% growth of Linux users over that period of time.
muell 2 July 2018 at 10:08 am UTC
> I would imagine the overall number of Linux users has increased

> I can agree as long as fairy stable means growing slowly but otherwise I just can't believe it.

Can you all just stop that bullshit? All the data suggests that there is no growth. This is nothing where your believes are somehow relevant. Linux gaming doesn't grow whereas other platforms do. That's bad news. Stop trying to spin it any other way.
Purple Library Guy 2 July 2018 at 10:22 am UTC
As usual, I don't really have much faith in the Survey. As usual, I think that for game developer information what would be most useful is figures for just what percentage of $$$ get spent on Linux games, and I'm sure Valve have that somewhere in the guts of their system. It's fine to have ten gajillion new Chinese Steam users, but if they all only ever buy PUBG they're not too relevant to any developers who didn't develop PUBG.

Linux should, however, improve support for Chinese typing if it's bad. Fundamentally I think open source should be just as good for Asians as for everyone else; piracy only solves one problem with Windows. It would be nice to see them turning on to the advantages of Free Software.
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