Steam's November Numbers Show Linux Gaming To Be Stagnant

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The number of Steam users playing on a PC running a GNU/Linux distribution remains less than one percent with a 0.02% decrease in November 2019. Ubuntu (18.04 0.17% + 19.10 0.06%), Arch (0.09%) and Manjaro Linux (0.09%) are the most popular distributions among Steam's GNU/Linux users.

published 2019-12-03last edited 2020-01-04

Valve's Steam game store running on a GNU/Linux distribution.

GNU/Linux's market share on Steam dropped 0.02% in November 2019 following a month with no change in October. A total GNU/Linux marketshare of 0.81%, less than one percent, is not impressive. Windows 10 64-bit remains the most popular OS with a share of 72.23%. Windows 7 64-bit is the second most popular choice with a marketshare of 18.47%. The numbers do not factor in those who are using Wine to run Steam's Windows version on GNU/Linux.

80.54% were using a CPU from chip-giant Intel with AMD trailing at 19.45%.

The number of people gaming on a dual-core systems declined across all operating systems. There are, apparently, more dual-core GNU/Linux users than there are Windows users. 21.14% of Windows-systems are running on a dual-core while a whopping 29.00% of GNU/Linux users are core-lets. About the same percentage have quad-cores on both operating systems: 52.47% of Windows users and 46.16% of GNU/Linux users are rocking four CPU cores.

19.44% of Windows users and only 12.86% of GNU/Linux users have six-core CPUs. Eight-core CPUs are more popular among those who prefer free software operating systems. Only 4.62% of Windows users have eight cores. About twice as many, 9.61%, GNU/Linux users have eight-cores. The actual amount of people with 8 core CPUs running Steam on Windows is, of course, a whole lot higher since less than 1% are actually using GNU/Linux.

Steam's reported graphics card numbers reveal that Nvidia is the de-facto standard with a reported marketshare above 100%. AMD's RX 580 is the red team's most popular card with a reported marketshare of 3.08% while AMD's second most popular GPU, the RX 570, has a marketshare of 1.58%. The 12 most popular graphics cards are all Nvidia products and their combined reported marketshare is 99.08%. Adding in all the less popular GPUs from Nvidia brings their total Steam-reported marketshare up to 128%. There is something odd about Steam's Vulkan GPU numbers which does not quite add up.

Steam-play-remote 2019-12-02 23-25-20.jpg
Steam will detect other Steam clients on the local network and offer to Stream games on them to the local machine. It's a nice feature which works great.

The Steam platform itself is in rapid decline despite Valve's attempts to gain ground by recently launching a brand new feature which allows someone who has bought a game to invite up to four remote people to join multiplayer games using remote play on Steam's own servers. They have also made it a lot easier to use the Steam client to run a game on one computer and play it on a weaker machine on the same local network. Valve is doing a lot of things right with its Steam platform. Their efforts are apparently not enough to attract the zoomer generation which prefers using cellphones and locked-down consoles.

All the numbers from Steam's hardware survey for November 2019 can be found at The numbers for the previous month are typically published a day or two into the following month.

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