Linux overtakes Mac as Steam's second-most used OS, and it's all thanks to the Steam Deck

Steam Deck
(Image credit: Valve)

Linux has surpassed macOS as the second-most used operating system on Steam according to the latest Steam Hardware & Software Survey from July. While Linux remains a distant second place to top dog Windows, it's still seen a rapid increase in adoption among Steam users almost entirely attributable to the Linux-based Steam Deck.

As Ars Technica points out, the Deck's SteamOS version of Linux accounts for a whopping 42% of reported Linux users on Steam, with Arch Linux lagging far behind in second place at 7.94% adoption. Windows still absolutely dominates the overall field at 96.21% of users, with all versions of Linux at 1.96% and macOS hanging out down at 1.84%.

It's another feather in the cap of the Deck, which is consistently one of the best-selling items on Steam overall, currently holding down the #6 spot according to SteamDB. As for Linux more broadly, I do wonder if the Deck's success will spur more adoption of the more hardcore, DIY OS ecosystem. 

A friend of mine who's dabbled in being a Linux Guy was excited about the Steam Deck's prospects of improving Linux-based gaming more broadly, and the Proton compatibility layer Valve developed for the Deck certainly seems like a game changer for the Gaming on Linux crowd.

In my own personal experience though, loving the Steam Deck didn't make me into a Linux Guy, it just made me into a Steam Deck Guy. Still, everybody wins here. Linux Guys get all kinds of new options with Proton, and I get to play Baldur's Gate 3 on my upcoming international flight⁠—be sure to check out our guide to playing Baldur's Gate 3 on Steam Deck if you're having trouble running Larian's massive new RPG on the handheld.

Associate Editor

Ted has been thinking about PC games and bothering anyone who would listen with his thoughts on them ever since he booted up his sister's copy of Neverwinter Nights on the family computer. He is obsessed with all things CRPG and CRPG-adjacent, but has also covered esports, modding, and rare game collecting. When he's not playing or writing about games, you can find Ted lifting weights on his back porch.