If you remember when Valve announced Linux support, media was was talking that Windows days are doomed as Linux is free and that the only problem it has is support for games. Games were THE factor for increased Linux Market share. With first Steam client release, it only had support for couple of great games. If you look at games in catalogued now, you will see that there are many latest game titles available on Linux. Minor bugs with Steam client were ironed out and in general, stability and responsiveness has improved. Luckily Steam provides a public statistics for operating system market share. It will be interesting to monitor Linux market share and review a claim, that Linux market share will increase if there will be games available for the platform.
One thing is certain, if platform supports latest titles, and it has many games available, chances for users choosing a free platform will increase. But what people tend to forget is that when new computers are bought, they come pre-installed with Windows operating system. Chances that people will really move to Linux slowly fade away. Only time will tell if Steam platform will remain on Linux or it will get discontinued, much like Adobe AIR or any other application that was ported to Linux and later on discontinued.
Linux gaming marketshare
Valve has released Steam Hardware & Software Survey for December 2013.
According to the Survey 1.85% Steam users run Linux.
The most popular Linux distribution for running Steam client is the latest Ubuntu 13.10 64bit with 0.41% of share, while the next most popular Linux distribution is Ubuntu 12.04.3 LTS 64 bit with 0.19% share.
Valve is releasing monthly snapshot of hardware and software it receives from users who agree to share their data anonymously.
It will be interesting to follow Linux share as more and more games get ported / released for Linux.
Perhaps Linux won’t pick up as a gaming platform until Steam machines get publicly available, but one thing is for sure. Linux use will grow in 2014.
Fast forward to January 2015 and this is situation:
We can see that Linux usage remains at the same level as it did one year ago. The only difference is that majority of Linux users use Ubuntu 14.04. I thought that Linux Mint has a bigger share of Linux pie, but it seems it’s not so popular with Steam users.
If you review remaining data, you will also notice that Linux users tend to have less powerful computers with less RAM than Windows users.
What is really important with Steam client is that now users have a chance of playing good quality games on Linux. Problems with game installation that were present in the past, are now gone and almost anyone can play games.
Let’s see how Linux will do in 2015, perhaps more users will use Linux to play Games and perhaps even switch to Linux completely.