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Steam sees more growth with Linux gamers, and Windows 11 popularity surges

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The number of Linux gamers active on Steam continues to increase going by the latest hardware survey from Valve for November, and has now reached 1.16% – plus there’s been a big increase for Windows 11 adoption (more on that later).

Since April 2021, the amount of Linux gamers on Steam has kept on going upwards, so that’s seven straight months of growth – with the figure crossing the 1% adoption mark five months ago, and (obviously) remaining above that level since.

Admittedly in November, there was only a very slight uptick of 0.03%, but that’s still an increase, taking Linux to 1.16% as mentioned.

Presumably the more recent increases are at least partly down to the Steam Deck effect, with more folks checking out Linux as an alternative gaming platform ahead of the handheld’s release.


Analysis: Steam Deck could spark bigger rises still – and watch out for Windows 11, too

Gaming on Linux, which spotted this, observes that once the Steam Deck actually comes out, that could stoke adoption figures to a greater level – depending on whether Valve counts the devices (or rather, Steam OS 3-powered hardware) in its figures. Remember, it didn’t with Steam Machines, but given Valve’s pretty firm insistence on marketing the Steam Deck as a PC – just a small, handheld one – we’d imagine it’ll be up for inclusion in the monthly reports.

As we’ve said before, this is the first time in years that Linux has exceeded the 1% mark of OS adoption on Steam, and funnily enough, the last time this happened was when Proton – the compatibility layer that facilitates running Windows games in Linux (and with the Steam Deck) – was first released by Valve.

Maybe we could see Linux driven towards the 2% mark, or even a scenario where it starts to challenge macOS as the second most-used operating system in Steam – Apple’s platform is now on 2.7%.

The vast majority of gamers are, of course, using Windows, and mostly Windows 10, but with the latest figures for November, a big shift has started to occur with many more folks moving to Windows 11.

Windows 11 was on 1.82% in October’s survey, and has now leapt up to 8.28%, with Microsoft making the OS available to a good many more PCs as of mid-November. If that kind of pace continues, the January Steam hardware survey could see around 20% of gamers on Windows 11.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).