We stopped reporting on Steam’s OS numbers generated from their hardware survey after sudden massive shifts revealed major issues with how the data was collected.
Now Steam has confirmed the problems and reports having fixed most of the issues.
STEAM HARDWARE SURVEY FIX – 5/2/2018
The latest Steam Hardware Survey incorporates a number of fixes that address over counting of cyber cafe customers that occurred during the prior seven months.
Historically, the survey used a client-side method to ensure that systems were counted only once per year, in order to provide an accurate picture of the entire Steam user population. It turns out, however, that many cyber cafes manage their hardware in a way that was causing their customers to be over counted.
Around August 2017, we started seeing larger-than-usual movement in certain stats, notably an increase in Windows 7 usage, an increase in quad-core CPU usage, as well as changes in CPU and GPU market share. This period also saw a large increase in the use of Simplified Chinese. All of these coincided with an increase in Steam usage in cyber cafes in Asia, whose customers were being over counted in the survey.
It took us some time to root-cause the problem and deploy a fix, but we are confident that, as of April 2018, the Steam Hardware Survey is no longer over counting users.
The latest numbers show Windows 10 with 53.45% usage share by their gamers, while Windows 7 has 38.12% share. I suspect despite Steam’s efforts to correct the issue the numbers are still not 100% reflective of gamers in the west, with some influence still remaining due to PUBG’s popularity in China. Before the shift, in May 2017 Windows 7 64 bit had 32.26% market share while Windows 10 64 bit had 49.05% market share.
As mentioned earlier, the numbers do suggest that Microsoft still has a lot of work to do in China in converting users and companies to their now 3-year-old operating system.
The full dataset can be seen here.