Linux is more popular than ever, thanks to Valve’s Steam Deck

The Steam Deck made its debut a few months ago, but the handheld gaming PC is already helping Linux grab a larger slice of the operating system pie

Steam Deck with SteamOS backdrop and Linux mascot Tux the penguin on screen

The Steam Deck is undeniably a popular handheld gaming PC, and its street cred is helping Linux grab a larger slice of the market pie. While Windows 10 still reigns supreme within the operating system scene, more Steam users than ever are playing games on versions of the Unix-like OS.


Highlighted by Gamingonlinux, the Steam Deck has elevated Linux’s user share to its highest point ever. According to Valve’s latest hardware survey, 1.18% of Steam users have Linux installed on their machine of choice. While this figure appears marginal, it actually means over 1.5 million players are actively using Linux to play PC games on the platform.

SteamOS isn’t the most popular version of the operating system, as that title is still held by Arch Linux. However, it’s already grabbed itself a 7% share, an impressive feat considering the Steam Deck has only been around for a few months.

Valve recently announced that it’s doubling down on Q3 Steam Deck shipments, so more users will playing their Steam games on the go soon. Naturally, this will help boost the popularity of Linux even further, especially since Windows is still a bit janky on the handheld.

It’s worth noting that while Linux is gaining ground, the figures in question only cover machines that use Steam. Alternative stats that focus on the gaming PC market as a whole suggest only 2.43% have Linux installed, with Windows usage sitting at a lofty 76.31%. That’s not to say Linux isn’t making strides, but it’s certainly got a long way to go before can properly challenge Microsoft’s claim to the throne.