Valve publishes its monthly publication Steam hardware survey for July, and the biggest surprise was the multitude of Linux games. Aside from showing the usual dominance of Nvidia and Intel in the use of GPUs and CPUs among Steam users, there was not much news to take away from the latest report, except that Linux games increased in size. 1% in July, the first in years.
The fact that it coincides with the presentation of the Linux-powered Steam Deck certainly cannot be ignored. It looks like gamers will have started researching whether their Steam libraries will actually be able to play on Valve’s new handheld PC when it launches in December.
Sweclockers suggests that the last time Linux saw such a remotely closed boom was a 2% jump in market share when it announced Valve Proton, a compatibility layer that allows Windows games to run on Linux, in 2018. As impressive as it was the first release of Proton, it still struggled to deliver a gaming experience as appealing as Linux native ports or games on a Windows operating system. We found no evidence of this 2% of ourselves, which could mean that it declined rapidly.
By context, Linux games have historically been below 1%, according to the people of gamingonlinux which have been following the market share of the open source operating system for several years. It is estimated that there are currently more than 1.2 million active Linux users on Steam and the trend seems to be increasing.
With Linux it becomes easier to use, it makes sense for games on Linux to start slowly activating.
He Steam Deck, which launches in a few months, works with a Linux-based operating system that could explain the steady increase in Linux gaming market share as some prepare for the portable gaming console by testing this operating system.
It is worth noting that SteamOS 3.0, which will operate the Deck, is based on the Arch Linux distribution, and has not seen any movement in terms of increased market share. The distribution that seems responsible is Ubuntu 21.04, which has recorded a gain of 0.06%. However, this still makes sense in this context, as Ubuntu is often considered the most accessible version of Linux for popular jumping ships from Windows.
We hope that the Linux market share will increase even more once Steam Decks starts to get into the hands of gamers running Steam OS, especially if booking rush is any indication.