Home > News

Fresh report shows Linux usage reaching decade high with some help from the Steam Deck

New survey figures are quite telling
Last Updated on June 3, 2024
Fresh report shows Linux usage reaching decade high with some help from the Steam Deck
PC Guide is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Read More
You can trust PC Guide: Our team of experts use a combination of independent consumer research, in-depth testing where appropriate - which will be flagged as such, and market analysis when recommending products, software and services. Find out how we test here.

For years, Linux gaming has been a niche market, despite boasting a loud and passionate community online. Compatibility issues and a lack of AAA titles often deterred mainstream gamers from taking a leap over to Linux. However, the arrival of the Steam Deck portable gaming PC appears to be changing the narrative slightly.

Valve has been putting in a ton of effort through Proton, a compatibility layer to allow Windows games to run on Linux – a necessary feat to ensure the Steam Deck was a big hit back when it launched in 2022. All of this development means that Linux has reached a new milestone.

Linux surging on Steam

With its competitive price tag and ability to play a vast library of PC games on the go, the Steam Deck has captured the attention of gamers worldwide. Not to mention the newer OLED model also being a hit. This success story is having a ripple effect beyond just sales figures, with Linux usage on Steam experiencing a notable bump. Let’s delve into the data and see how the Steam Deck is propelling Linux gaming forward. 

Latest figures from the Steam Hardware and Software Survey – Image Source: Steam

The latest Steam Hardware and Software Survey, a monthly report released by Valve, reveals a significant milestone for Linux on the platform. For the first time in a decade, the Linux user share has surpassed the 2% mark. This might seem like a small jump, but it’s important to consider the context.

The Linux user base on Steam has historically hovered around 1%, with occasional fluctuations. This sustained rise coinciding with the Deck’s launch suggests a clear connection to us. Interestingly, the survey also shows a slight decline in Windows users, further hinting that the Deck might be eating into that gaming demographic too.

According to GamingOnLinux, the last time we saw Linux achieve these figures was March 2013, back when Valve added a special Team Fortress 2 item for Linux users, further demonstrating the importance of this achievement for the company.

Bright future for the Deck

Survey data shows a rise in SteamOS usage, the Deck’s specific GPU, and the Deck’s native display resolution – all strong indicators of new Deck owners joining the Linux gaming scene. This surge in Linux users paves the way for a brighter future for the platform, potentially leading to more Linux-optimized games and even Deck-exclusive titles.

Tom is a tech writer with a detailed view on ensuring the best buying advice, most useful information, and latest news makes its way into PC Guide's articles.