It was a muted January for Steam's hardware stats , perhaps due to all of December's lovingly gifted Christmas RAM. There were minor gains in expected areas, and minor losses that chipped away at the lead configurations. So where last month, 19.97% of polled users ran Windows 8, this month, it's 21.31%. But while the numbers aren't earth shattering, there are plenty of trends to mull over.
First, it's disclaimer time:
- Steam's hardware survey is opt-in, meaning it doesn't capture all of the platform's many millions of users.
- Steam itself is not representative of PC gaming as a whole. Just the subsection of PC gamers that use Steam.
- The Dark Ones approach, and their fiery song will melt all consumer electronics into a molten stew of conductive hell-fire.
In the ongoing OS wars, the "big" winner was Windows 8.1 64-bit with a 1.88% increase. It was one of only two OS's to get an over 1% increase, with the other being MacOS's new 10.9.1. That gained 1.30%, for a total share of 1.8%. Windows 7 continues its dominance: a 63.07% total share, down 0.28%.
So here's the thing of interest. Those 0.28% are going somewhere, and most will be moving to Windows 8. But Win8's gain outnumbers Win7's loss, to the point where the majority of its new users must be coming from either Mac or Linux. The hardware stats certainly don't show the Linux migration that Valve are so keen to exploit, although the official release of SteamOS and Steam Machines will almost certainly shake things up significantly.
For graphics cards, Nvidia continue to bask in their PC gaming lead - a tiny 0.34% increase building on a more substantial 52.01% share. AMD had an increase too. They're now on a total of 31.36%, having gained 0.01% over last month. Break out the champagne, folks!
Elsewhere, there really are very few surprises. 2 Core CPUs remain the most popular, although 4 Cores are only 4.14% behind and gaining. Eight GB RAM remains the undisputed king of its field, 1024 MB VRAM even further cemented at the top of its category. Also, 25.37% of polled Steam users have between 250 and 499 GB of hard-drive space, which is a piece of information I'm sure we're all happy to have learned.