The Steam Deck, a handheld PC, is gaining immense popularity and causing a significant shift in the gaming landscape among the three major operating systems.
Unlike its competitors that run Windows, Valve, the creator of Steam Deck, decided to implement their Linux plans. The device runs on a custom version of Linux called SteamOS and utilizes Proton to translate Windows applications. As a result, more people are becoming Linux users due to their interest in the Steam Deck.
Although the number of macOS gaming fans is also increasing, the limited library of games makes it more logical for them to consider switching to the Steam Deck or a Windows PC. It is worth noting that Valve does not consider those who use the Game Porting Toolkit, as it emulates a Windows environment.
While Steam's increase in Linux users is noteworthy, it still has a long way to go to catch up to Windows. Currently, Windows holds a dominant market share of 96.21%, followed by Linux at 1.96%, and macOS at 1.84%. The Steam sale resulted in a significant 0.52% increase in Linux users, according to Gaming On Linux's custom tracker.
Furthermore, the Linux user base is diverse, as there are various operating systems built on the Linux kernel. Among these, SteamOS is the most widely used, followed by Arch Linux, Ubuntu 22.04.2, Freedesktop.org SDK 22.08, “Manjaro Linux,” Linux Mint 21.1, Pop!_OS 22.04, and other Linux operating systems.
While SteamOS holds a substantial portion of the Linux user base, it does not necessarily represent the most popular Linux options. In practical usage, Ubuntu remains at the top choice among Linux users.
Overall, the Steam Deck's popularity and Linux's increasing user base demonstrate the growing interest in Linux as a gaming platform. However, Windows still maintains a significant market dominance in the gaming community.