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Steam Survey: Linux Gaming Market Share Climbs to 1% For First Time in Years

Image of the Valve Steam Deck
(Image credit: Valve)

Valve has today published its monthly update for Steam Hardware Survey, with an update for July. Besides the regular fluctuations in the market share of CPU and GPU vendors, there is another interesting change slowly happening. According to the newest data from the survey, gaming on Linux has climbed to 1.0% for the first time in years.

Back in 2018, Valve introduced Proton, a technology that translates Windows-specific API calls to Linux equivalents, enabling thousands of Linux gamers to play the games that they wanted to, but were unable because they weren't using Windows OS.

At the same time, many Linux gamers were trying out the Proton software and the market share of Linux gamers managed to climb to around 2% of a much smaller Steam customer base. However, after this testing period ended, only 0.8-0.9% of gamers were still using Linux distros, and the percentages stayed within that range for some time.

In the latest Steam Hardware Survey published for July, Valve has noted that Linux gaming market share managed to climb to 1.0% of all gaming systems questioned in the survey. And this is quite a bit of achievement, given that Valve has access to millions of PCs and gamers across the world.

What are the possible reasons for such growth you might wonder? For starters, Valve has recently announced its Steam Deck portable gaming console, which runs a  Linux-based Arch OS. As many people heard that the new console runs Linux OS, it is possible that many decided to try the experience and prepare for what is to come, once the new console launches.

It is important to note that once Valve begins shipping Steam Deck consoles to the many eager early adopters, the Linux gaming market share will continue to grow. All of the people using the console will contribute to the growth of Linux gaming, helping it to a much higher level adoption. The growth of the Linux gaming ecosystem and community is still going to take baby steps to increase, however, given that a major software and hardware developer like Valve is supporting it, there are chances that it could reach a double-digit percentage sometime in the future.

  • Yuka
    "Every little helps" :P

    In all seriousness, I welcome this minuscule increase. More options will never hurt, I'd say. And sounds like a good micro-hype for the Steam Deck, as I'm sure there's plenty testing and pre-production things being worked on, so increasing the number of people using SteamOS (or others) I'm sure will help identify gremlins faster.

    Regards.
    Reply
  • kyzarvs
    With the way Windows is becoming more and more of a data farm instead of an O/S I'm not really surprised. I'd happily consider a linux build for my desktop (ryzen 2700X, so not that ancient) when the time comes rather than pay a scalper for an insanely over-priced TPM card. I'm not anti-security at all - I own a company that does internet security in Education - I just don't see why my never moving, rarely used gaming-only machine needs the same performance-sapping encryption as my laptop which is used for work and has bitlocker enabled via TPM on it.
    Reply
  • bigdragon
    I hope Valve is able to push GPU vendors and developers to improve the state of graphics on Linux. This bump to Linux gaming is welcome, but there's a lot of work to do to keep that number growing. We're going to need a serious alternative to Windows in the near future given that Microsoft appears to be taking Windows in the wrong direction.
    Reply
  • jkflipflop98
    Imagine if you will for a minute.

    A German start-up car company comes out of nowhere with a bunch of shadow funding. To drum up sales and word of mouth, they decide that they're going to partner with Starbucks to give away their cars completely for free. Anyone that walks up and asks can have one of these new cars for absolutely nothing. No strings attached.

    After 20 years of giving away cars at a location available to everyone on Earth, they can't crack 1% of the market.

    Now how bad do you suppose those cars would have to suck that they literally can't give them away for free? They'd have to be pretty bad, right?

    Right.
    Reply
  • excalibur1814
    Don't worry... it'll fall again once these devices hit eBay for £50.

    Please... PLEASE... think twice before throwing away your cash.
    Reply
  • tq45
    jkflipflop98 said:
    Imagine if you will for a minute.

    A German start-up car company comes out of nowhere with a bunch of shadow funding. To drum up sales and word of mouth, they decide that they're going to partner with Starbucks to give away their cars completely for free. Anyone that walks up and asks can have one of these new cars for absolutely nothing. No strings attached.

    How is this analogy relevant for Linux?
    What is the "shadow funding" and "partner up" in the case of Linux?

    After 20 years of giving away cars at a location available to everyone on Earth, they can't crack 1% of the market.

    In the specific market of PC-gamers using Steam, yes you are right. But not 20 years. Valve officially released Steam for Linux on February 14, 2013. In all other markets except PC-gaming Linux enjoys a huge market share (Android, servers, embedded systems, routers, TVs, super computers etc etc).

    Now how bad do you suppose those cars would have to suck that they literally can't give them away for free? They'd have to be pretty bad, right?
    Right.

    You seem to have a real emotional problem when it comes to Linux. Do you think your gaming experience on Windows would somehow get worse if it got some competition instead of having a near-monopoly market share? Are you emotionally attached to Windows?
    Reply
  • jkflipflop98
    I wasn't talking about Linux or Windows. I was talking about German cars.
    Reply
  • Bmuduoy
    jkflipflop98 said:
    Imagine if you will for a minute.

    A German start-up car company comes out of nowhere with a bunch of shadow funding. To drum up sales and word of mouth, they decide that they're going to partner with Starbucks to give away their cars completely for free. Anyone that walks up and asks can have one of these new cars for absolutely nothing. No strings attached.

    After 20 years of giving away cars at a location available to everyone on Earth, they can't crack 1% of the market.

    Now how bad do you suppose those cars would have to suck that they literally can't give them away for free? They'd have to be pretty bad, right?

    Right.
    Where did the bad penguin touch you Budd?
    Reply
  • tq45
    jkflipflop98 said:
    I wasn't talking about Linux or Windows. I was talking about German cars.

    Well, in that case your post should be removed for being off-topic, right?

    Right.

    Or I know, how about if you stopped talking nonsense and wrote a real response so we could have a discussion about the subject of the article?
    Reply
  • TJ Hooker
    kyzarvs said:
    With the way Windows is becoming more and more of a data farm instead of an O/S I'm not really surprised. I'd happily consider a linux build for my desktop (ryzen 2700X, so not that ancient) when the time comes rather than pay a scalper for an insanely over-priced TPM card. I'm not anti-security at all - I own a company that does internet security in Education - I just don't see why my never moving, rarely used gaming-only machine needs the same performance-sapping encryption as my laptop which is used for work and has bitlocker enabled via TPM on it.
    You don't need a hardware TPM for your system, you can just enable fTPM in your BIOS. Even if you did want a hardware TPM, you could just wait a year or two (or at least until Win11 is actually released), by which point I really doubt they're still going to be scalped. And performance hit is generally pretty minimal, as all modern CPUs have AES instruction acceleration. That being said, has MS said that bitlocker encryption is mandatory for Win11? Or just that you need a TPM?
    Reply