Linux Market Share On Steam Remained Below 1% In March 2021

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The GNU/Linux operating system, including all variants of it such as Ubuntu, Manjaro and Arch Linux, is still struggling to gain more than one percent of the total market share on the proprietary Steam game store/launcher. The overall GNU/Linux market share is, according to data from NetMarketShare, slightly below two percent as of March 2021.

written by 林慧 (Wai Lin) 2021-04-02 - last edited 2021-04-02. © CC BY

Linux markets share according to NetMarketShare (in %)
January 2020 to March 2021

NetMarketShare measures market share by the number of people who browser select websites they monitor with given web browser user-agents. Their data had GNU/Linux market share moving up from 1.36% in March 2020 to 3.61% in June 2020. It quickly plummeted down to 1.17% when the joy of summer was fading away that year. Their latest data points to a GNU/Linux market share of 1.92% in March 2021.

Future accuracy of NetMarketShare data is questionable and we will be unable to rely on their data sometime in the future. They made this announcement late last year:

"After 14 years of service and being used as a primary source in tens of thousands of articles and publications, we are retiring NetMarketShare in its current form. October, 2020 is the last month of data. All billing for existing accounts has been stopped. All outstanding balances are being refunded.

Why? An upcoming change in browsers ( will break our device detection technology and will cause inaccuracies for a long period of time."

The NetMarketshare Team, sometime late 2020

Major web browsers have not yet replaced the good old user-agent with ua-client-hints and NetMarketShare is still publishing seemingly accurate data even though they announced that they would stop doing so in October 2020. We do expect Chromium in particular to stop sending a user-agent string with all kinds of incriminating information in it sometime later this year. The NetMarketShare data would become much less accurate when that happens unless they actually look into the silly in-realty big brother surveillance system that will replace the user-agent string and realize that the new Sec-CH-UA-Platform, Sec-CH-UA-Platform-Version and Sec-CH-UA-Arch fields in the "User Agent Client Hints" standard can be (ab)used to gather much more incriminating evidence on those who visit a website.

Linux market share on Steam has never managed to crush the illusive 1% barrier. It was as close as it has ever been at 0.94% in September 2020. It has since remained steady at around 0.9% with a dip down to 0.78% in December 2020 and another dip to 0.81% in February 2021.

Linux markets share on Steam (in %)
January 2020 to March 2021

A breakdown of Steams 0.85% GNU/Linux market share number for March 2021 reveals that Ubuntu, and specifically Ubuntu 20.04.2 LTS 64-bit, is the most popular distribution among those playing proprietary games using the Steam game store/launcher.

More than half the people steam counts as using GNU/Linux are simply listed as using "Other" distribution. It is a shame that Valve does not provide a more specific break-down.

Just in case any of you want to help increase the GNU/Linux market share by installing a distribution on a friend of family members computer: Don't just install it and sort of walk away. Teach them how to update, maintain and use the distribution you have installed so they don't eventually end up using the same now five year old software you installed for them five years down the road.

(one vote)



9 months ago
Score 0++

People can't find their files without using the Open dialog on Microsoft Word. They don't know where their files are saved on the harddrive. They don't know to Google a question they have. To be clear, I'm not talking about a minority of people either.

Linux will grow more lucrative as our current 1% continues to build innovative solutions. When governments, from Brazil, to Germany, to China, and to Korea look for alternatives, that's when Linux arises, and that's where a Linux dominance is likely to begin.
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