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Steam hardware survey shows less use of Windows XP among gamers

The install base of Windows XP-based PCs among users of Steam has dropped considerable in just the past few months. The operating system, which is over 10 years old, is now used by only 25 percent or so of Steam users, according to the PC game download site's latest survey figures. That's down from over 33 percent of Steam users from the result of July's survey.

Windows 7, especially in its 64-bit version, is the current king of the hill with over 35 percent of Steam users having the OS installed and its expected that the percentage will continue to grow as more PC gamers update their systems. That's good for people who want to play games that will only run on DirectX 10 or DirectX 11. This weekend some web site spotted info that was actually first announced last summer. Battlefield 3, which will use a new version of developer Digital lllusions' Frostbite Engine, will be a DirectX 10-11 exclusive. That means Windows XP and its DirectX 9 API won't be able to run the game when it comes out in late 2011.

Latest Steam hardware survey shows Mac users still well behind PC owners

While its only been a few months since Valve added support for Mac games in its Steam game download service, the latest results from Steam's voluntary hardware survey still show that Mac gamers comprise only a fraction of Steam's total audience. The July survey results show that only 5.07 percent of Steam users have Mac-based operating systems.

However the latest Microsoft operation system, Windows 7, is gaining in market share with just over 40 percent of Steam users recorded as having the OS installed on their systems (both 32-bit and 64-bit versions). Windows XP users, while losing market share, is still installed in a large fraction of Steam players' PCs with a total of over 33 percent (again with both 32-bit and 64-bit users).

Just Cause 2 PC won't support Windows XP

Even with the apparent success of Windows 7's launch, there are still a ton of Windows XP PC gamers out there which means most game developers are still trying to make their games compatible with that version of Microsoft's OS. There have been a few exceptions; Stormrise, Halo 2 PC, Shadowrun and most recently Shattered Horizon all required Windows Vista be installed.

Now it looks like another upcoming PC game is ditching Windows XP. According to what is shown on Steam's page for the game, the system requirements for the upcoming open world action game Just Cause 2 require either Windows Vista or Windows 7 with a graphics card that supports DirectX 10. Voodoo Extreme has confirmed with the game's community manager that Just Cause 2's system specs are accurate. Does your rig measure up? You can check out the game's PC system requirements after the jump:

Gallery: Just Cause 2

Windows 7 overtakes Windows Vista in latest Steam hardware survey

Valve's Steam service lets its users voluntarily upload their PC system specs up to be compared and contrasted and every month Valve offers up updated surveys of what their users have inside their PCs. Their January 2010 survey results are in and the results show that Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system has now overtaken Windows Vista in gamers' PCs.

Combining both 32-bit and 64-bit versions, Windows 7 now has a 28.53 percent slice of the OS pie in the survey while Windows Vista's slice has 27.91 percent of Steam users. Now the Windows 7 numbers may be somewhat inflated due to the fact that some of Steam's users may still be using the free release candidate version of the OS that was released in 2009. That version will begin to become unusable in March and will shut down completely in June. It's also worth noting that the 32 bit version of Windows XP blows both Windows 7 and Vista away with 41.15 percent of Steam users still using the now 10 year old OS in their PCs.

Feature: Should PC gamers upgrade to Windows 7?


It's the day before Microsoft unleashes Windows 7 to the world at large and their latest operating system for PCs has gotten a lot of praise compared to Windows Vista, which was released with tons of performance problems and compatibility issues.

But what if you want to upgrade your existing PC or even buy a new one? The big question for you is whether an upgrade to Windows 7 is right for you. We try to give you the 411 in this latest feature.

Feature: A Brief History of Windows Gaming

With the October 22nd release of Windows 7 just a week away, Big Download is taking a look back and previous versions of Microsoft Windows and follow the long (sometimes painful) evolution of PC gaming.

Feature: What PC Gamers Need To Know About Windows 7


In less than three weeks, Microsoft officially releases Windows 7, the newest version of their PC operating system (although some PC makers could sell Windows 7-based rigs before the official October 22 launch date). After nearly three years of dealing with the last release, Windows Vista, all indications are that Windows 7 will be far more accepted by the public in general and PC gamers in particular.We can also expect far more support from game developers for the new OS.

If you are a PC gamer, chances are you have already tried out the release candidate for Windows 7 or are waiting for the final release. But there may be some things that you don't know about Windows 7 that you need to be aware of before making that final upgrade. Here are a few items that you may need to keep in mind:

Windows 7 release candidate available for public download


If you have been iching to try out Windows 7, this may be your last chance to kick the tires on the upcoming PC operating system for free before Microsoft asks you to pay for it. A little earlier than planned, Microsoft has now released the Windows 7 release candidate to the public. This will be close to the final version (hence the name "release candidate) but Microsoft will try to get any last minute bugs out before it's official launch (which many believe will be sometime before the end of the year).

Technically this free pre-launch version of Windows 7 will work until June 1, 2010. In reality you will likely get rid of it long before then since Microsoft has set up the release candidate version to shut down any PCs that have it installed every two hours after March 1, 2010. One interesting feature is the Windows XP mode which will allow programs made for Windows XP to run even if they cannot run on Windows Vista. While this new mode is mostly for business apps, you can bet that gamers will try it out.

Rumor: Windows 7 release date leaked?


Microsoft has insisted they have not yet settled on a launch date for their Windows 7 OS but a new report on News.com may have had a third-party spill the beans on a possible release date. A rep for the UK division of PC maker Acer claims that Windows 7 will in fact launch on October 23.

That's certainly in line with what others are expecting Microsoft to do with the launch of the next major OS. Idealy they would like to have PCs with Windows 7 installed and in stores before the start of the busy holiday shopping season. In the meantime the release candidate for Windows 7 is now available to download for MSDN and/or TechNet subscribers. The general public can download the release candidate on May 5.

Valve reveals new Steam hardware survey results


Valve's Steam service doesn't just provide gamers with downloadable titles. It also lets Steam users (if they want to) provide info on their PC rig's specs so Valve can have a better idea of what kind of systems are running their games. Today Valve released the results of their latest survey, with info from June of 2008 until now.

There's quite a bit of info in the survey and while we won't go over everything in this news post here are just a few of the more interesting stats:
  • Nvidia dominates video card use in the survey with 65.11 percent of PCs having an Nvidia chip. ATI has 27.44 percent while Intel has 1.76 percent and the rest is less than a percent
  • Intel dominates the PC processors used by Steam customers with 63.62 percent with AMD trailing with 36.37 percent
  • Windows XP in its 32 bit version is the number one used OS by Steam users with 68.67 percent. Two years since its launch Windows Vista has only gotten up to 23.19 percent of users.
  • 58.18 percent of Steam users have a PC with 2 GB of Ram or more.
  • 49.04 percent of PCs in the Steam survey have two processors while 40.19 percent still have just one. Only 10.12 pecent of PCs have four CPUs.
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