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X-Plane user data shows Linux usage holding steady

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The developers of this rather robust flight simulator have shared the latest round of user data and it shows that Linux usage remains at the same level.

X-Plane 11 [Official Site] released earlier this year with same-day Linux support at launch and has since had a lot of updates, including a recent update that reworked how joysticks are recognized. This is a more serious sort of flight sim, where physics and flight models are carefully produced in order to provide an authentic experience. It’s got a very active modding community and all sorts of craft are available to take for a flight.

In the latest usage statistics, the developers have shared all sorts of interesting information about the game. Things like which types of craft are the most popular, user hardware and, most importantly to us, which operating systems users are running. The Linux figure sits at around 1.4%, which is about the same as the last series of statistics released earlier in the year. Unfortunately the developers haven’t shared actual numbers of users nor total sales, so all we can infer is that if there have been a growth in the user base, Linux numbers must have risen at the same rate.

Now, that may not sound like a lot, but we are still a rather niche market and I think it’s encouraging to see that we’ve kept apace proportionately with the other operating systems. It would be great if these figures were higher but it doesn’t seem that unusual when compared to sales data we’ve seen from other developers.

What’s more, this figure is higher than the typical percentage on Steam, overall. As you may recall from the latest Steam survey stats, Linux share has dropped in October. Liam presented a reasonable explanation as to why, mostly to do with the lack of popularity of Linux in China and Steam’s explosive growth in that region.

I used to be rather keen on flight simulators when younger but haven’t spent much time with the genre in recent years for various reasons. I played the demo for X-Plane but it was too brief to really get a feel for the game. So I guess I might as well ask: GOL readers who regularly play X-Plane, what keeps you coming back?

Thanks for the tip SuperTux

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g000h 14 November 2017 at 5:06 pm UTC
One little detail I feel like bringing up about Linux gamers: WINE compatibility layer.

It seems to me that plenty of Linux people who play games are not sticking to Linux to do it.

Some boot up consoles to play console-specific games (e.g. Horizon Zero Dawn on Sony PS4)
Some boot up to Windows to play Windows-specific games (e.g. Player Unknown Battlegrounds)
Some play Windows games via WINE on Linux (e.g. Witcher 3 or Skyrim)

My problem with the above is that it isn't helping Linux gain traction. All those Linux users, who play the above non-Linux games are bringing the Linux percentage down. It's not so big a deal if the game isn't sending usage analytics back to the game publisher or back to Steam, but when it is, then it is making Linux userbase smaller than it actually occupies. (i.e. If that Linux user was playing a Linux game instead of a Windows / WINE / console game.)

My feeling is that Linux user percentage worldwide could be as high as 3 to 4 percent. And, that userbase would play more games on Linux, if those games were available on Linux.


Last edited by g000h at 14 November 2017 at 5:10 pm UTC. Edited 2 times.
wojtek88 14 November 2017 at 5:58 pm UTC
@g000h While I love Linux and I love playing games on it, I am not going to forget about Sony titles. I have PS4, I play on it all the time. The only rule I have is: Never buy on PS4 games that are already released on Linux. I can't see how would I help Linux gaming if I weren't buying Uncharted series games...
g000h 14 November 2017 at 6:11 pm UTC
wojtek88@g000h While I love Linux and I love playing games on it, I am not going to forget about Sony titles. I have PS4, I play on it all the time. The only rule I have is: Never buy on PS4 games that are already released on Linux. I can't see how would I help Linux gaming if I weren't buying Uncharted series games...

Well... two obvious ways to me:

1) You spent your money on a PS4 game rather than an Linux game. One less Linux game being bought and going into the analytics.
[You don't feel you would be doing more Linux gaming, if you hadn't bought a PS4 and PS4 games to use on it?]

2) You're playing a PS4 game instead of a Linux game. Hours of Linux gaming being lost in the Steam/publisher analytics.
scaine 14 November 2017 at 6:28 pm UTC
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g000h
wojtek88@g000h While I love Linux and I love playing games on it, I am not going to forget about Sony titles. I have PS4, I play on it all the time. The only rule I have is: Never buy on PS4 games that are already released on Linux. I can't see how would I help Linux gaming if I weren't buying Uncharted series games...

Well... two obvious ways to me:

1) You spent your money on a PS4 game rather than an Linux game. One less Linux game being bought and going into the analytics.
[You don't feel you would be doing more Linux gaming, if you hadn't bought a PS4 and PS4 games to use on it?]

2) You're playing a PS4 game instead of a Linux game. Hours of Linux gaming being lost in the Steam/publisher analytics.

Possibly, but I'm in the same boat as wojtek88 and I'm lucky enough to have enough disposable income that what little money I spend in Sony's store won't affect my purchases on Linux.

I'll go even further and note that my PSN+ subscription gave me access to The Swindle and I liked it so much, I did some research and discovered a Linux beta was available - I bought the game again, for Linux.

And while I get your argument about dual-booting and Wine gaming and so on, you have to remember that many people wouldn't be using Linux at all if it weren't for those options. Everybody will find their own path to Linux and that's fine by me. I'll help and encourage them where I can, advocate its use, but not everyone will be bought into the ethos and prepared to sacrifice huge percentages of their games library when they embrace the penguin.
wojtek88 14 November 2017 at 6:43 pm UTC
g000h
wojtek88@g000h While I love Linux and I love playing games on it, I am not going to forget about Sony titles. I have PS4, I play on it all the time. The only rule I have is: Never buy on PS4 games that are already released on Linux. I can't see how would I help Linux gaming if I weren't buying Uncharted series games...

Well... two obvious ways to me:

1) You spent your money on a PS4 game rather than an Linux game. One less Linux game being bought and going into the analytics.
[You don't feel you would be doing more Linux gaming, if you hadn't bought a PS4 and PS4 games to use on it?]

2) You're playing a PS4 game instead of a Linux game. Hours of Linux gaming being lost in the Steam/publisher analytics.
In general I see your point. But I have an impression that you try to make players guilty in place where they aren't the ones you should blame. I am really pleased that you are Linux only gamer, but I don't think your attitude is helping in any way.
I rather spend the money on games that aren't on Linux in PS Store and for games that are on Linux on Steam than switch completely to PS4. (FYI reading comments like yours make me wanna leave Linux gaming at all, because main reason I spend money on Linux is because I want Linux gaming to grow, not because I think that current ports quality deserve the money).
Anyway, I don't think you should see people who play other platforms as people who are responsible for condition of Linux gaming (that according to what you said is not as good as you want it to be). I think that current condition of Linux gaming is slowed down because of few reasons:

1) Valve would be able to count Wine gaming as Linux gaming. If I recall correctly, Worms: Armageddon recognizes when you're using Wine, so I assume there is some information in Windows register, that would allow you to determine when you're using Wine.
Having that in mind - Steam could count marketshare in better way.
2) Valve should also make it public why did they announce Witcher 3 coming to Steam OS and it never happened. It looks bad and it makes the whole platform look bad.
3) Valve should explain why did they announce many Steam Machines manufacturers, and then they forgot about Steam Machines (the page with Steam machines shows how does Valve treat Steam Machines. I don't know if you guys remember how many manufacturers were announced, but just take a look how does this page look like).
4) Valve should make a move with Steam OS. Maybe some kind of roadmap for Steam OS, maybe announce plans with the platform, provide information about 3rd party applications like Netflix, Youtube, Spotify, etc.
5) Valve should prepare 2nd generation of Steam machines and do real launch this time - with bundles containing great titles. Before that Valve has to bring big 3rd party companies on board in order to provide big titles to Linux.

Don't get me wrong, I think that Linux gaming is in position I wasn't expecting 5 years ago (and I guess almost nobody here expected). And everything good we have we have thanks to Valve. The problem is that Valve is the only big company that can push Linux gaming forward. And without their attention we will loose everything we earned.

P.S. @g000h do not attack other Linux gamers. Let them do what they want. We all vote with our wallets and as long as we spend money on Linux games we support Linux market.
Forcing people to be Linux only does not help. But admiring people who leave at least penny on Linux games is something we all should do.
ajgp 14 November 2017 at 7:03 pm UTC
g000h
wojtek88@g000h While I love Linux and I love playing games on it, I am not going to forget about Sony titles. I have PS4, I play on it all the time. The only rule I have is: Never buy on PS4 games that are already released on Linux. I can't see how would I help Linux gaming if I weren't buying Uncharted series games...

Well... two obvious ways to me:

1) You spent your money on a PS4 game rather than an Linux game. One less Linux game being bought and going into the analytics.
[You don't feel you would be doing more Linux gaming, if you hadn't bought a PS4 and PS4 games to use on it?]

2) You're playing a PS4 game instead of a Linux game. Hours of Linux gaming being lost in the Steam/publisher analytics.

I enjoy gaming, some games are not on Linux, some are not on PC at all. Now I dont buy games for PC that dont support Linux (and havent since Jan 2016 when I went 100% Linux), but I have a library of games that includes titles only playbale via WINE and I will happily play them that way, though I am currently working through my Linux library so its only really Gwent I play there, yes I know that is after 2016 but its free and I have it on my work Win10 laptop as well for when Im travelling mostly.

Then we get to the non-PC games, I have a PS4 so I will buy the odd exclusive game there as well.



Im a gamer that happens to like using Linux, I am not a Zealot, and I feel telling people to play only on Linux is counterproductive. People have vast libraries of games some of which will never be ported. WINE is ideal for this, some may even be recent titles that wont be ported and with the hopeful rise of Vulkan WINE should be able to run these smoother going forward. But we wont convince those people to switch even if they are interested if we as Linux users lambast them for choosing to game via WINE, or dual Boot, or even on console.

Yes support developers who make Native Linux versions, and support the porting houses Feral, Aspyr, VP and others. Do so vocally (and constructively if things need fixing) so they know we appreciate their work, this is important, but Linux is about freedom and choice, you cant espouce those virtues and then try and dictate/guilt trip people by saying their choice on how and where to game is wrong.

Just my opinion, feel free to disagree
hummer010 14 November 2017 at 7:47 pm UTC
scaineAnd while I get your argument about dual-booting and Wine gaming and so on, you have to remember that many people wouldn't be using Linux at all if it weren't for those options.

This.

I certainly wouldn't have completely switched to Linux if WINE didn't exist. WINE and I have had a rocky relationship, and I've refused to use it at all for long periods of time. I do still have a hand-full of games that I use WINE for.

As a general rule, I only buy Linux games, but every now and again GOG hits me right in the nostalgia, and I buy a non-Linux game to play via WINE.
jens 14 November 2017 at 7:51 pm UTC
g000hOne little detail I feel like bringing up about Linux gamers: WINE compatibility layer.

It seems to me that plenty of Linux people who play games are not sticking to Linux to do it.

Some boot up consoles to play console-specific games (e.g. Horizon Zero Dawn on Sony PS4)
Some boot up to Windows to play Windows-specific games (e.g. Player Unknown Battlegrounds)
Some play Windows games via WINE on Linux (e.g. Witcher 3 or Skyrim)

My problem with the above is that it isn't helping Linux gain traction. All those Linux users, who play the above non-Linux games are bringing the Linux percentage down. It's not so big a deal if the game isn't sending usage analytics back to the game publisher or back to Steam, but when it is, then it is making Linux userbase smaller than it actually occupies. (i.e. If that Linux user was playing a Linux game instead of a Windows / WINE / console game.)

My feeling is that Linux user percentage worldwide could be as high as 3 to 4 percent. And, that userbase would play more games on Linux, if those games were available on Linux.
This is also my "way of gaming", I got Linux only on my system and I don't use wine , so thumbs up!

Though I think it is perfectly fine if people are using different systems to to play their favorite games. I had a PS3 once too and are certainly still tempted when seeing a glimpse of Uncharted somewhere. That said I sincerely hope that people are enabling their brains when thinking about wine gaming. Wine is a direct competitor to Feral/Aspyr imho. If one cares about Linux as a platform then a port from Feral/Aspyr and friends should always be preferred above buying the game for windows and playing it via wine.

I hear a lot of voices that Skyrim or Doom should come to Linux. This would be pointless, the sales would marginal since a lot of potential Linux gamer already play these games using wine. I know of course that this would not happen if there would be a day one release. But that is simply mostly not feasible for the 1% market share. There are exceptions though like this title here!
g000h 14 November 2017 at 8:08 pm UTC
I wasn't forcefully encouraging people to not play on other platforms. Also I wasn't intending to guilt-trip people either.

All I was doing was sharing my view on why the percentage Linux gaming market-share stands the way it does. To summarise - It looks worse than the Linux user market-share, because a lot of Linux gamers resort to other platforms because their favourite games are not available on "our" platform.
dubigrasu 14 November 2017 at 8:21 pm UTC
@g000h
I do my best to support Linux gaming, even by buying titles that I have no desire to play whatsoever (such as strategy titles from Feral) and I'd say that 99% of my gaming is done on Linux, with Linux games.
But please don't ask me to retreat in some Linux iron fortress shunning away all the good games out there just because they have no Linux ports.
If there is a wonderful/awesome game that I desire badly to play, I will play it whatever the platform is on. I am a Linux user yes, but I'm also a gamer and I don't want to feel guilty about that.
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