Steam's Hardware Survey For December 2019 Places Linux Gaming Interest At A Yearly Low

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The latest hardware survey from Valve's Steam game store and launcher has GNU/Linux marketshare at a yearly low of just 0.67% market share. The other operating system numbers in their hardware survey numbers for December 2019 are a bit strange with Windows 10 showing a reduction of 13.14% in favor of Windows 7.

written by 권유리 (Kwon Yu-ri). published 2020-01-05last edited 2020-01-05


GNU/Linux was never a very popular gaming platform or a widely used desktop platform for that matter. The situation is not improving, the latest monthly Steam hardware survey numbers do not indicate any rapid increase in interest for free software operating systems among Steam users.

GNU/Linux marketshare on Steam has been stagnant around 0.8% for most of 2019. The December 2019 numbers show a 0.14% reduction to a mere 0.67%. The other operating system data is somewhat strange. Windows 10 has a 13.14% reduction to a 61.09% total with aging Windows 7 taking that that piece of the pie. A 14.57% increase in Window 7's marketshare in December 2019 places it at a 33.05% of the total. macOS saw a 0.45% reduction to a 2.47% total.

Data from steamdb shows that Steam itself increased its user-share from 17 million at the start of December to 18 million at the end of December.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (free and available on GNU/Linux), PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS (Windows only), Dota 2 (also free and available on GNU/Linux), Grand Theft Auto V (Windows only) and Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege (also Windows only) are currently the five most played games on Steam.

Steam users with a total of 16 GB system memory increased by 8.41% in December making 16 GB RAM the most popular configuration with a 46.37% total. 8 GB RAM is also trendy with a 30.69% total. Some RAMlets never learn, 6% of Steam users get by with just 4 GB system RAM. Memory prices are currently at a multi-year low with industry "experts" (insiders) expecting a price-hike in 2020. It is a good time to pick up some RAM if you are stuck with 4 or 8 GB, specially if you have an older system with DDR3. Both regular and ECC DDR3 memory sticks are cheap and abundant in the used market (no-no wasting money on overpriced brand new DDR3 which has been collecting dust on shelves for years) and DDR4 is cheaper than it has been in years.

Nvidia's GeForce GTK 1060 was the biggest GPU hit in December. It got a 5.66% marketshare increase bring the total percentage of Steam users gaming on that card to 20.3%. Graphics cards from competitor AMD are not gaining popularity and their total share is so low it's barely measurable.

Electronic Arts and others outright banning paying customers who use their software entertainment products like Battlefield V on GNU/Linux machines is likely not helping GNU/Linux become a mainstream gaming platform.

(0 votes)


Anonymous user #1

8 months ago
Score 1++

Comparing the December numbers to the November numbers could be highly misleading. Something has obviously changed in the dataset. Win 7 going up by such a massive amount on it's own (15%) should throw up red flags and make the dataset suspect. The AMD processor numbers are another big clue. A 4% marketshare drop when reports over 80% of sales are AMD, AMD has all but 1 of the top 15 CPU seller slots on Amazon. There may be some way to find the real numbers in there, but mostly it's just an in-rush of chinese systems(+14% simplified chinese language) that may or may not be the same system counted multiple times. Simplified chinese as a language nearly doubled, the GTX 1060 gained 6% market share which is insane for a several years old GPU in a period of 1 month.

I think the best thing to do would be to reach out to valve for comment on the dataset and try to sort out what is really going on. Maybe have them separate by region to make things more clear.


8 months ago
Score 0++
Those are all interesting points. I would love to hear Valve's comments on this.
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