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Steam For Linux: A Respectable Showing 372

Posted by timothy
from the where-there's-steam-there's-water-vapor dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Valve has just released its February, 2013 Steam Hardware & Software Survey, and the results are absolutely mind blowing. Linux is now standing strong as a legitimate gaming platform. It now represents 2.02% of all active Steam users." That's in keeping with what new submitter lars_doucet found. Lars writes: "I'm an independent game developer lucky enough to be on Steam. Recently, the Steam Linux client officially went public and was accompanied by a site-wide sale. The Linux sale featured every single Linux-compatible game on the service, including our cross-platform game Defender's Quest. .... Bottom line: during the sale we saw nearly 3 times as many Linux sales of the game as Mac (Windows still dominated overall)."
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Steam For Linux: A Respectable Showing

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  • by gman003 (1693318) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @05:35AM (#43053027)

    http://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey [steampowered.com]

    Not a bad showing for Linux, all things considered. The top variant of Linux is nearly tied with Windows 8.

  • 2.02% so quickly? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by blind biker (1066130) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @05:45AM (#43053045) Journal

    That's not bad at all. Is Microsoft shaking in their boots? Not really. Are they watching carefully? You get your ass. Is this an opportunity to upend the horrorshow that is Windows 8? I hope so.

    Is answering your own questions a bit douchy? Perhaps.

    • by blind biker (1066130) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @05:47AM (#43053047) Journal

      Mentally replace "get" with "bet" to make sense of the comment above. Is this embarrassing? A bit. Did I laugh when I noticed the mistake? You get your ass.

    • Re:2.02% so quickly? (Score:4, Informative)

      by dbIII (701233) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @06:17AM (#43053099)
      If that happens Steam may end up with the equivalent of the ASUS tradeshow lunch with Microsoft after which the CEO of ASUS publicly apologised for linux on netbooks and discontinued selling them. Microsoft probably have Steam by the balls almost as much as they have ASUS.
      • by c0lo (1497653)

        If that happens Steam may end up with the equivalent of the ASUS tradeshow lunch with Microsoft after which the CEO of ASUS publicly apologised for linux on netbooks and discontinued selling them. Microsoft probably have Steam by the balls almost as much as they have ASUS.

        If it doesn't happen in the next year or so, too late... many gamers will "upgrade" from Win7 to a Linux distro (instead of Win8).

      • by murdocj (543661) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @09:31AM (#43053597)

        Nope. That's why Valve is doing this... to avoid having MS having them by the balls.

        • They are doing this for their console. Everything else is P.R.

          • by murdocj (543661) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @01:43PM (#43054927)

            Valve is incredibly successful as a store selling games on Windows. Creating a Linux gaming platform is an enormous amount of work to enter a currently miniscule market. The ONLY reason Valve is doing it is they are worried about Microsoft deciding, in Steve Ballmer's immortal words, to "choke off their air supply".

      • by Kjella (173770)

        But then Microsoft was not in competition with ASUS, it's the good old fashioned "don't mess with our business and we won't mess with yours". Steam's relationship is more similar to Microsoft's launch of Surface, the OEMs are basically being told Microsoft has a long term plan to supply the hardware themselves and boot them from the market. That's not a message they can accept, nor can Steam accept Microsoft's pushing of the Windows Store which is a very direct competitor to the Steam Store. Mac, Linux, the

      • Re:2.02% so quickly? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Lonewolf666 (259450) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @09:48AM (#43053657)

        I think Valve (the owner of Steam) are going for Linux because they are afraid Microsoft will eventually turn Windows into a "walled garden" like Apple's iOS, introduce their own application store and force out competitors like Steam.

        Gabe Newell said:

        We want to make it as easy as possible for the 2,500 games on Steam to run on Linux as well. It is a hedging strategy. I think Windows 8 is a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space.

        quoted from http://www.ign.com/articles/2012/07/26/gabe-newell-windows-8-is-a-catastrophe [ign.com]

        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          I think Valve (the owner of Steam) are going for Linux because they are afraid Microsoft will eventually turn Windows into a "walled garden" like Apple's iOS, introduce their own application store and force out competitors like Steam.

          Well, Steam's two platforms have their own stores. The Apple Mac App Store is pretty innoculous as it's filled with indie games - the AAA titles tend to be on Steam (or a reason why Apple won't be closing OS X anytime soon).

          So it's prudent to have it on Linux, and because they'

    • The "horror show that is Windows 8" has over 9% in the same survey :)

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Bing market share = failure. Linux 2% = Victory.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You have a point but:
      1) Windows "smartphone" share a few years ago: maybe 60%? Linux share in gaming/desktop has always been low
      2) Predicted Windows Phone market share, according to "analysts": 20% or so? Linux desktop: No idea, probably they never bothered to predict
      3) Marketing budget: Even with what Steam spends on it Linux must be close to 0 compared to Windows phone
      4) shelf space Windows Phone compared to Linux? See 3 I think.
      5) Steam for Linux on market: officially since 1 month. Windows Phone? A lot

      • by Bert64 (520050)

        Phones are a more open market too, it is easier to compete when the majority of existing users are not locked into a single platform... And windows mobile has been around longer than both android and ios.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by UltraZelda64 (2309504)

      What is your point, and what exactly are you talking about? Bing *or* Windows Phone?
      And this is not "Linux 2%," it is "Steam for Linux 2%." Big difference.

    • by MrKaos (858439) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @07:47AM (#43053309) Journal

      Bing market share = failure. Linux 2% = Victory.

      5% of the market leader is a failure, 2% for the market trailer is a success.

  • by MrKaos (858439) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @06:18AM (#43053103) Journal
    As Linux based distributions are incrementally re-defining what the desktop is.

    Thanks for coming to the party Valve, we welcome you - now it's time to buy some games for Linux.

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @06:20AM (#43053113)

    Right now it's brand new and much-hyped, we could easily be dealing with a case of regression to the mean. [wikipedia.org]
    Let's see how the numbers looks 6 months down the road.

    • by VzXzV (755541)

      Sadly to an extent this will happen. I dual boot and I love Arch Linux and FreeBSD. So I specifically booted into Linux to buy my games during the sail just to support the platform. But to be honest at home I'm in windows most of the time mainly due to my friends saying lets play a random arma2 mod or most other games, leading to me having to reboot back into windows just to play. I have a feeling this is the case for more people than will admit to it.

      • by Sigg3.net (886486)

        Arma isn't platinum, but silver in Wine atm. Would be fun to get some DayZ action on my Fedora rig (only play L4D2 atm).

  • I guess MS is making a killing with Windows Phone then :-p

  • by cgt (1976654) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @06:55AM (#43053195)
    If only they would bother creating a standards conformant window instead of trying to replicate their non-standard GUI on Linux, which results in it being unusable under tiling window managers (at least i3, which I am using).
  • A Thought (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Mike Frett (2811077) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @07:09AM (#43053221)

    Yes more people use Windows, but when XP and 7 finally have their support ended, the people using those Microsoft platforms will be forced into using precisely what they are avoiding, the 'modern' interface. It's going to be interesting to watch if they move to Mac, Linux or suck up to Microsoft and push themselves into that new UI.

    Let's say they pushed themselves into that new UI. Now after months and years of using that, they will be hooked into it by Microsoft's hooks. At that point, switching to Mac or Linux would be extremely difficult due to the UI differences. It would be devastating for the future of Linux without a similar UI, that's what worries me. For Linux to have any future, the users of these OS's which support is ending, need to jump in our (Linux) lake and let their feet get wet.

    That's how I'm thinking, it may be difficult for some to understand what I mean. In any case, Defender's Quest shows that there is money in the Platform. And I don't give a hoot what Microsoft is doing, I have already jumped in the Linux lake and no interest in going back again. But there are a lot of folks that, apparently, enjoy being chained up and forced to do things. You can't save the world, so grab whoever you can, unchain them, and run as fast as you can before the roof caves in.

    • by Bert64 (520050)

      Linux has always had choice over UI, there is no reason someone couldn't create something similar if users actually wanted it.

    • by jimicus (737525)

      Yes more people use Windows, but when XP and 7 finally have their support ended, the people using those Microsoft platforms will be forced into using precisely what they are avoiding, the 'modern' interface. It's going to be interesting to watch if they move to Mac, Linux or suck up to Microsoft and push themselves into that new UI.

      People were saying the exact same thing about Office 2007 6 years ago. As long as the magic word "Microsoft" is on the splash screen and in the title bar, it appears to make precisely no difference - you only get wailing and gnashing of teeth if that word is taken away.

      In a hypothetical universe that wouldn't result in being sued to kingdom come, I wonder what would happen were you to build your own distribution based on Ubuntu but with some strategic rebranding - call the OS "Microsoft Windows 9", rebrand

      • by jbolden (176878)

        Me thinking you are thinking too much like an user. Take the boss of the 100 people in front of the Microsoft 9 version and tell him that his entire: document management, email, collaboration, vertical solution will migrate over at no cost. Tell the boss of the 100 people in front of Ubuntu that he's looking at 500k in server / software replacements including consulting time.

    • by jbolden (176878)

      The equivalent GUI for Linux is Gnome 3. Gnome 3 is arguably better for non touchscreen because the Gnome developers weren't quite as aggressive as Microsoft, but shifting the balance once everyone owns Metro / Touchscreen will not be hard. KDE also has some touch enabled stuff though I'd say they are lagging a bit.

      So Linux will be fine.

      • by Patch86 (1465427)

        KDE have taken the highly sensible approach of keeping their touch stuff segregated from their standard point-and-click stuff- it's in the KDE Plasma Active package. Same approach as Unity (with "Unity Touch" distinct from "Unity not-touch"). It's a myth that Unity sucked because it was touch optimised (it isn't in any way)- the ways that Unity sucked were entirely distinct from the issue of touch screens.

    • by ildon (413912)

      It takes about 30 seconds to download a "classic start bar" mod for Windows 8, and then you never have to see Metro/Modern again. There's about a dozen to choose from, and at least one of them is even on the front page of ninite.com. A friend of mine did this on his first boot of Windows 8 and didn't even know (or care) how to get back to the Metro interface.

  • by Seumas (6865) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @07:29AM (#43053275)

    When you buy a game on Steam, you get access to it in all available Steam formats. That means that for people who may use OSX, Linux, and Windows (as I do, for example) may not necessarily count as a "linux" sale, even though I'll play some of the purchased games there.

  • wtf (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kelemvor4 (1980226) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @08:51AM (#43053479)
    A respectable showing? The steam client may be the greatest thing ever but there isn't even a single current AAA title available. Not one. The biggest game they've got is half-life 1. It was released in 1998. 15 years ago. That's something we should be getting from gog.com. This looks to me like a token effort in order to get some cheap advertising on Linux friendly sites such as Slashdot.
    News flash, that game's so old it probably plays perfectly in wine anyway. When steam for Linux starts getting AAA titles within a few weeks of the windows release then they will have something worth talking about.
    • by zwede (1478355)
      Serious Sam 3 is on steam. I bought it during the Linux sale and I've been playing it the last week. Runs perfectly. Yes, it's a few years old but still looks good.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Jaysyn (203771)

      When steam for Linux starts getting AAA titles within a few weeks of the windows release then they will have something worth talking about.

      The Cave: released Jan 23 2013 - Double Fine Productions / SEGA

      Let me guess, this doesn't count as far as you are concerned cause it isn't Call of Black Ops or whatever the latest shitty FPS is?

  • by DiamondGeezer (872237) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @09:08AM (#43053537) Homepage

    If this article had been on neowin and had praised Microsoft's new OS for breaking through on a gaming distribution platform after a lot of marketing effort from the distributor including an opening sales and had managed 2% share, Slashdotters would have been cackling and calling it hype.

    What the TFA is is hype and wishful thinking. Linux has an enormous long way to go before its even considered worth porting to as part of current game development.

    Its a start, but no more than that.

    Those of us who are old enough can remember lots of dawns in the IT industry - most of them false.

    • by jo_ham (604554)

      If this article had been on neowin and had praised Microsoft's new OS for breaking through on a gaming distribution platform after a lot of marketing effort from the distributor including an opening sales and had managed 2% share, Slashdotters would have been cackling and calling it hype.

      What the TFA is is hype and wishful thinking. Linux has an enormous long way to go before its even considered worth porting to as part of current game development.

      Its a start, but no more than that.

      Those of us who are old enough can remember lots of dawns in the IT industry - most of them false.

      You don;t even need to imagine it - this is exactly the reaction slashdot commenters had when Steam for Mac launched (along with a lot of questioning why it wasn't a simultaneous Mac+Linux launch).

      How times have changed!

      Still, the more gaming platforms we can establish as "legitimate" (ie, directly and actively supported by a major distribution platform), the more likely we are to see all of the alternatives to Windows grow.

  • It sounds like a lot of the kiddies dont remember Loki Games.

    Loki pretty much did what steam did but with actual game disks. But they did it the hard way. Linux ONLY and paying dearly to game studios to help port or wine wrap the games.

    Every linux guy I know still has several Loki game disks in their collection.

    • by Tapewolf (1639955)

      It sounds like a lot of the kiddies dont remember Loki Games.

      Loki pretty much did what steam did but with actual game disks. But they did it the hard way. Linux ONLY and paying dearly to game studios to help port or wine wrap the games.

      Every linux guy I know still has several Loki game disks in their collection.

      I have Rune. It's a little difficult to get it to run because the infrastructure has changed over the last 10 years, but last I played it a couple of years back, it did still work.

      This was actually the reason I didn't buy Deus Ex on first release - I was waiting for the Linux port. Sadly Loki imploded before it could be completed.

    • by Jaysyn (203771)

      Every linux guy I know still has several Loki game disks in their collection.

      I'm hoping they get put on Steam (or Desura, it works damn good in Linux too) soon.

  • The first step in statistics is to understand what the data you have represents.

    The hardware survey represents all hardware samples, month by month. Now take into account the fact that those samples include dual and triple booting systems, which is a difficult number to derive from the data provided by Steam.

    My experience from reading the Steam forums as a beta tester suggests to me that a large portion of the Linux test base were multi-booting. My feeling from reading the support threads is that many of

  • I haven't booted Windows since Valve released the games I play for Linux. As most "Linux Gamers" that don't enjoy Tux Racer, when I take breaks from work I want to play for a while, and that's the only reason I own a legal copy of Windows. It's not HL2 Episode 3, but I'm very happy with this.
  • by xarragon (944172) on Saturday March 02, 2013 @12:34PM (#43054453)

    I have actually used it since the beta invite popped into my inbox. For those of you who havn't tried it here is a short summary:

    I run Arch Linux, which is not supported. Valve only supports Ubuntu and provides the software as a .deb file which contains the "bootstrapper", basically a "netinstall" version if you were to make a comparision to the average Linux distro. The bootstrapper is easily taken apart via a script in the custom installer program that some of the Arch Linux folks whipped up and ends up installed system-wide by default.

    This caused some problems for people like me, who are too paranoid to install untrusted software system-wide or even in my own home directory. I gave it a separate user account and denied the installer root access (which it asked for every time it tried to auto-update). It cried and bugged out, but you could run TF2 from day one. As they continued to improve the software they actually listened to the complaints at github (where they keep their Linux issue tracker) and made the software runnable as a regular user. It now resides completely inside my 'steam' users directory and the bootstrapper is long gone from the system-wide install.

    If you are like me, and only run ALSA, hating PulseAudio's tentacle guts, you can actually run Steam anyway. They are using SDL as the backend, so when launching Steam you just export SDL_AUDIODRIVER=alsa before running it, and you'll get sound! Even in-game voice is operational, but you still can't permanently disable it to get rid of all the jackasses screaming into the microphones.

    Steam itself still uses the look from it's Windows roots, the ugly custom-skinned UI. And it can't be resized on my machine, which runs PekWM. It is also slow as molasses to start, and so is TF2. That might be in part to me using ONLY a 3G modem for my gaming though. The store also works like a charm.

    An interesting feature is that you can actually switch between the OpenGL game window and the rest of your desktops seamlessly, with no apparent bugs or performance loss. Faster and more painless than on Windows. This wasn't always the case though, as early versions would switch to your desktop as soon as you got an archievement and completely screw up your mouse input once you switched back. This has been long since fixed though.

    The only recent bug I came across was an apparent lack of support for multi-user environments, where I once started the bootstrapper as my regular user by mistake and let it install, thinking it was an regular update. Once it was up I figured what was wrong, uninstalling it and starting up as the 'steam' user, whereas it sefaulted hard. It took several hours and a lot of support ticket reading to figure out that leftover temporary file descriptors left from the first session screwed up the second one. Kinda stupid bug for a modern software, but that's what beta testing is for I suppose.

    For me, Valve has really made my Linux experience a lot better. Hat's off to them. Now I just need to find some TF2 servers with players that are as beligerent and offensive as me!

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