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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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Ehvis 14 November 2017 at 9:55 pm UTC
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More on topic for the article. The percentage Linux users has dropped quite a bit over the last couple of years. It used to be over 5% iirc. I think offering it on Steam has brought in proportionally more Windows and Mac users.
AnxiousInfusion 14 November 2017 at 9:55 pm UTC
100% Linux, here. I guess I'm just strong willed
Hamish 15 November 2017 at 12:23 am UTC
It is my love of old games that makes me still lean heavily on WINE these days. I do not buy modern titles that often anymore, and when I do buy them they are always Linux native, but I have been purchasing old titles on GOG.com or from thrift stores to play through WINE. There was a time I would not have done this, at least not through something like GOG.com where sales are still being tracked, but over the past few years the fight against DRM has become more important to me than even something being Linux native, and GOG.com has been doing a great job at pushing the tide back and freeing titles that never were DRM Free in the first place. At this point I would rather play a DRM Free game through WINE than use a native Linux binary tied to Steamworks.
14 15 November 2017 at 2:54 am UTC
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I love my Linux/GNU OS. When Windows 7 loses support in 2020, I'll pull the plug. I don't see any reason to pull the plug on PS4 games. I only buy games for it that aren't on Linux. Plus, consoles are the only games you can resell these days. If you buy a console game at full price, you can sell it and buy a used game, then do the same at least one more time. You can't do that with PC games anymore. In fact, because I can't resell PC games, I never pay full price. I will only buy them when they're really cheap because I have to commit to owning it forever even if I play through a short campaign one time in my life.

I also don't use my PC solely for gaming. Gaming isn't the only reason I love it. I would say I am an enthusiast but not a zealot. And yes, I'll play MMO's in WINE when my Windows is gone. (FWIW, I don't even have WINE installed right now.)
Duckeenie 15 November 2017 at 6:02 am UTC
Microsoft make their most contentious OS ever we also got Steam and yet Linux usage still remains proportional the same? How are these findings encouraging? These findings are an absolute disaster for anyone who believes that Linux desktop will ever hold a meaningful market share.
jens 15 November 2017 at 6:56 am UTC
jens
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!

Just to clarify, it was not my intention to say that wine is evil and one should not use wine. My apologies if my posting reads like this.

I don't use wine for games, just for two apps and I'm grateful for that. If wine works for your games, please use it and enjoy! What I wanted to say in my original posting, please think twice with games that have arrived as linux ports or have the potential to come directly to Linux land. E.g. there is a good chance that Rise of the Tomb Raider is coming to Linux, I guess it wouldn't be wise to buy that game for wine gaming right now.


Last edited by jens at 15 November 2017 at 9:53 am UTC. Edited 2 times.
ajgp 15 November 2017 at 9:11 am UTC
DuckeenieMicrosoft make their most contentious OS ever we also got Steam and yet Linux usage still remains proportional the same? How are these findings encouraging? These findings are an absolute disaster for anyone who believes that Linux desktop will ever hold a meaningful market share.

Well probably for a number of reasons:

> Windows 7 is still supported so many who dont lke Win 10 may have simply not upgraded and kept their existing win 7 install.

> Of those who upgraded / got a new PC with Win 10, many who are gamers may still not be a technically minded and thus either wont want the hassle of trying to convert to Linux, may not even have heard of Linux.

> Some with large libraries of unsupported gams may not want the hassle of WINE and all the concessions and setup it requires


So yes Win 10 maybe as big of a disaster as Vista for MS but for someone to convert to Linux so many other factors have to come into play; The person has to be aware of Linux, they have to be at least somewhat technically minded (Most Win users will never have installed their own OS), then they have to be willing to use alternatives to many popular windows applications (Possibly a block if they maintain a paid version of any software), they have to be willing to use WINE if there is any game without a port tyhat is essential they play, the list goes on, uptake will not be instant but a steady swell.
Seegras 15 November 2017 at 10:43 am UTC
I have several versions of X-Plane, I think 8, 9, 10, but as I'm not really into flight simulators, I didn't bother to buy the newest one.

As for playing with wine, I used to play a lot (and I've even co-author of this https://github.com/Seegras/wine/tree/work/dlls/xlive), but the last few years so many titles have been released on Linux that I mostly don't bother. Unless I really want to play a specific game.
poisond 15 November 2017 at 11:22 am UTC
g000hAll 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.

So you assume every Linux user is a gamer? That's a bit silly, don't you think?
g000h 15 November 2017 at 11:34 am UTC
poisond
g000hAll 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.

So you assume every Linux user is a gamer? That's a bit silly, don't you think?

Stop trolling please.
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