Windows 11 and Linux gain ground among Steam gamers

Windows 10 still king of the hill for now

Windows 11 is just like Linux. They're both growing their market share on Steam.

According to sources such as Statcounter, Windows 11 continues to struggle against its predecessor, Windows 10, in the overall Windows marketplace. However, it is making headway in the gaming arena.

In the latest Steam hardware survey, Windows 11 usage rose by just over one percent to account for 47.78 percent of Windows systems surveyed. Windows 10 usage fell to 52.23 percent, a drop of half a percent. This is much more positive for Microsoft's flagship operating system, and, at this rate, Windows 11 should be well ahead of its predecessor by the time Microsoft pulls the plug on support.

Penguinistas will be more interested in the uptick in Linux, according to Steam, although admittedly almost half of the Linux systems in the survey were running SteamOS – the primary operating system for Valve's Steam Deck console. Still, the change of just under half a percent to 2.32 percent for the operating system as a whole could be regarded as a 25 percent leap forward to The Year Of The Linux Desktop.

Or it could be slightly more than a rounding error: Windows accounts for 96.21 percent of the survey, according to Steam.

While the growth of Windows 11 is nowhere near the gains of months past, in terms of percentages, it is quietly closing on Windows 10. However, Linux passing the 2 percent mark is quite the gain. Ten years ago, the hardware survey put the group of distributions at around the 1 percent mark, and at the start of 2024, the figure was just below 2 percent.

Though Linux users will welcome the Steam hardware survey figures – even with the Steam Deck stirred into the mix – other stats show a slight decline for Linux on the desktop. Statcounter, as well as making clear the gulf between Windows 11 and Windows 10, also shows Linux briefly passing the 4 percent market share for desktop operating systems in February 2024 before falling back to 3.77 percent in May.

So it seems we might have a while to wait before The Year Of The Linux Desktop is truly upon us. Whose round is it? ®

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