Valve Shows A Huge Drop In Linux Gamers For March, But The Numbers Are Questionable

Written by Michael Larabel in Valve on 1 April 2023 at 09:00 PM EDT. 104 Comments
Valve just published their Steam Survey results for March 2023 and these initial numbers show a 0.54% drop to the Linux gaming marketshare, putting the overall Linux gaming population at around 0.84% of the Steam customer base. However, once again these numbers appear skewed/inaccurate.

With Steam's February numbers putting Linux at a 1.27% marketshare and still within its 1~2% recent highs, it was very surprising opening up tonight the Steam Survey to see the reported 0.84% marketshare for March, a half percentage point drop.

Steam March Linux marketshare

With the Steam Deck still selling like crazy, it was a surprise to see such a big month-over-month drop and far different to what is normally seen with Steam on Linux continuing to gain marketshare by small amounts at a time though in recent months have been some minor dips.

Steam March shows big Chinese jump

When digging into the other monthly numbers, for the language use on Steam it shows for March that simplified Chinese jumped by 27% to now represent 51% of the overall gaming customer base on Steam... That's a rather steep jump and in the past we've also seen strange Steam Survey results with the Chinese metrics. So short of some reporting change around the Chinese users or broader access to Steam in China, this seems to be inaccurate and may be revised down in the days ahead. But in any event such a large jump in the Chinese marketshare of mostly Windows gamers would explain the impact on the Linux numbers.

Steam on Arch Linux is popular

When looking at the Linux specific figures, Arch Linux and the Arch-based SteamOS continue to prove most popular.

AMD Linux gaming popularity

Over 58% of the Steam Linux gaming systems are now running AMD processors.

Steam Deck marketshare

Around 21% of the Steam Linux gamers are doing so using the Steam Deck, given the Linux GPU metrics with the "AMD AMD Custom GPU 0405" being what powers the Steam Deck graphics and jiving with the SteamOS Holo OS numbers.

Those are the main takeaways from the March 2023 Steam Survey results. We'll see if the Linux marketshare numbers get revised in the days ahead given the large (odd) dip and the rapid increase in reported Steam China use.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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