Despite the push Valve have been making the past year to bring gaming to Linux, the release of penguin-friendly games has done little to grow the Linux audience on Steam. Meanwhile, Microsoft’s Windows 8 OS is running on more than 12% of Steam users machines.
The results from April’s Steam survey tell an interesting story, while Windows 7 is remains the dominant OS, making up about 70% of the machines running Steam, the number of Windows 8 users is on the rise. In the last month alone, the number of Windows 8 users has increased by almost 1%. That sounds pretty insignificant but considering there are 50 million registered Steam accounts and around 4.5 million daily users 1% accounts for a significant number of gamers. Frustratingly, Valve don’t say how many people take part in the survey (you need to opt in to have your computer polled) but even if we treat this information cautiously we can at least take away that the number of people adopting Windows 8 is far from insubstantial.
Conversely, Linux ain’t doing so good. Despite the welcoming hand Valve have extended to Linux users - creating a Linux version of their Steam client, porting their back catalogue to the open source OS, and adding more Linux games to their library every week - the number of machines running versions of Linux has shrunk in the last month. And, it was not a large audience to begin with, only accounting for a little more than a single per cent.
Valve have said numerous times in the past that they take their data collection seriously and will often let the numbers speak for themselves. If the user base remains small Valve may put fewer resources into Linux development. Of course, if the Gabe Cube, when it eventually launches, runs Linux natively I imagine we’ll see a spike in those numbers.