This originally started in another thread, but it deserves its own thread.
Steam Survey is a hardware survey that is published once a month, among the users of Steam, the largest online game store.
It is interesting information for anyone involved with game development or related 3D programming, as it will give them a good insight in what the average gamer uses in terms of CPU, GPU, OS, and that sort of thing. In other words, a good metric for trying to determine your minimum and/or maximum supported hardware and software.

I will start by copying some of the earlier posts...
Posted on 2010-02-11 08:27:08 by Scali
November 2009:
According to Steam hardware survey, only about 50% use Windows XP. Windows 7 is the up and coming OS. And if you pay closer attention, you'll see that the 64-bit version outsells the 32-bit version among the Steam users (and Valve's own games are just DX9-only games, so it's not like the average Steam user is pushed to migrate to Vista/Windows 7 because of the games he wants to play).
Yes, I still use Windows XP at the office (ICT wanted to skip Vista, and isn't ready to migrate to Windows 7 yet, but they will, on short notice), but I don't play games there.
At home I use Vista or Windows 7.
Posted on 2010-02-11 08:28:39 by Scali
December 2009 results are in for the Steam hardware survey
Short version: XP dropped another few % this month, down to 44.77% now.
Windows 7 is up to about 23% marketshare, 16% of which is the 64-bit version.
A massive increase of 8.7% in just one month.
It looks like Windows 7 is quite literally taking the market by storm.
Posted on 2010-02-11 08:30:18 by Scali
Another month has passed, let's assess the damage: http://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey
Windows XP 32-bit down to 42.15% now, with only 0.63% being x64.
Windows 7 is at 28.53%, 19.50% of which is x64(!).
Vista is still going down aswell, roughly 28% now, 9% of which is x64.

In other words, about 57% of all Windows users uses a DirectX 10/11-capable OS. About 30% of all Windows users use an x64 OS.
Posted on 2010-02-11 08:32:14 by Scali
February 2010 results...
XP 32-bit now at 40.33%.
XP x64 is at 0.60%.
Vista 32-bit at 16.88%
Vista x64 at 7.60%
Windows 7 32-bit at 10.92%
Windows 7 x64 at 22.99%

In other words...
XP total: 40.93%
Vista total: 24.48%
Windows 7 total: 33.91%

Since Vista and Windows 7 are so similar to eachother and both so different from XP, I'd like to lump them together, for practical reasons (things like DirectSound acceleration, Direct3D 10/11 support, new Aero interface, different security model etc).
So basically:
Legacy Windows: 40.93%
'Next gen' Windows: 58.39%

It looks like the pattern of about ~2% migration per month from XP to Windows 7 continues at the same pace for now.
Posted on 2010-03-04 05:03:38 by Scali
Large numbers of people are expected to switch as soon as Win7 SP1 is released (about Q3-Q4 2010). We can expect a migration of 5, maybe 10% by then. So, optimistic forecast says that we can expect 75%-80% of next-gen windows users by the end of the year, about half of them being 64-bit.
Posted on 2010-03-05 00:21:06 by ti_mo_n

Large numbers of people are expected to switch as soon as Win7 SP1 is released (about Q3-Q4 2010). We can expect a migration of 5, maybe 10% by then. So, optimistic forecast says that we can expect 75%-80% of next-gen windows users by the end of the year, about half of them being 64-bit.


Well, currently about 66% of all Windows 7 users are using the 64-bit variation, I hope this figure only goes up, rather than drop down to 50%.
SP1 could give the migration another boost... On the other hand, the more people migrate, the more you get the separation between the XP 'die-hards' and the rest.
Because of these 'die-hards' the migration will probably come to an almost complete stop at some point... I just wonder where that point is.
I'm actually surprised that so many people migrate from Vista to Windows 7 aswell. I personally still use Vista mainly, as I have some driver issues in Windows 7. I wouldn't have upgraded Vista to Windows 7 if I had to pay for it myself.
Posted on 2010-03-05 02:56:54 by Scali
March 2010 results are in...
XP 32-bit now at 38.61%.
XP x64 is at 0.62%.
Vista 32-bit at 16.69%
Vista x64 at 7.75%
Windows 7 32-bit at 11.25%
Windows 7 x64 at 24.42%

In other words...
XP total: 39.23%
Vista total: 24.44%
Windows 7 total: 35.67%

Or...
Legacy Windows: 39.23%
'Next gen' Windows: 60.11%

And:
32-bit total: 66.55%
64-bit total: 32.79%

What I find most remarkable this month is that it seems that the 'exodus' on the Vista side has pretty much come to a halt. Vista figures are nearly equal to last month (and actually a small boost in x64... perhaps owners of the retail version who moved to x64 for free? Retail keys are valid for either version). Windows 7 continues its race to popularity, but now almost entirely at the cost of XP 32-bit.
The pace remains about the same: ~2% increase of Windows 7 per month, and ~2% decrease of Windows XP per month.
And the x64 version of Windows 7 remains by far the most popular option (we probably have mostly the large OEMs such as Dell to thank for this, as they offer the x64 version by default now).

On another note... 53.18% of all systems are now DirectX 10+ (that is, both the GPU and the OS support DirectX 10 or higher).
DirectX 11 still seems to be an enthusiast-only thing, with only 3.29% of all systems (that's me, I feel special :)).
Posted on 2010-04-01 03:19:52 by Scali
Well, I ride XP into the grave on my main machine :P I bloody hate Vista, actually just replaced it with Ubuntu for good. Don't have a Win7 system yet.
Posted on 2010-04-01 23:09:47 by JimmyClif

Well, I ride XP into the grave on my main machine :P


At this rate, you have about 19 months left, enjoy the ride :)

What will be interesting though... is that Valve has ported Steam and their Source game engine (with games) to Mac OS X. I wonder when OS X will become visible in the survey.
I think overall OS X has about 10% marketshare... but in the games market it's probably smaller (I can't imagine people buying a Mac for gaming... and if they do, they will probably want to install Bootcamp and use Windows for games).
Likewise, the marketshare of XP is declining rapidly in the games market... overall it has more than 38% marketshare still, I'm sure. But those are probably mostly office machines, netbooks and that sort of thing. Not gaming machines.
If I look at my situation at work... I have a PC capable of Windows 7 x64, and I actually have the license too... but the IT department doesn't want us to use it yet, because they still have some software problems to iron out (like a VPN client, the virusscanner etc).
A few of my colleagues have new PCs that came preinstalled with Windows 7 x64, and they have special permission to use it.
Posted on 2010-04-02 02:55:15 by Scali

Likewise, the marketshare of XP is declining rapidly in the games market... overall it has more than 38% marketshare still, I'm sure. But those are probably mostly office machines, netbooks and that sort of thing. Not gaming machines.


I happened to notice these statistics on another site:
http://marketshare.hitslink.com/operating-system-market-share.aspx?qprid=10&qpcal=1&qpstick=1

They should give us more of an idea of how XP is doing in the total market, not just gaming/Steam.
It's still at 64.46% there, and Windows 7 hasn't caught up with Vista yet there.
The OS X marketshare is smaller than I expected.
Posted on 2010-04-04 11:37:51 by Scali
Not to hijack the thread but are companies considering the move to Vista or 7 at all? I've been consulting quite a bit around MA,CT,NJ and NY in the last few months but haven't seen any company using anything but XP.
Posted on 2010-04-04 16:15:36 by JimmyClif

Not to hijack the thread but are companies considering the move to Vista or 7 at all? I've been consulting quite a bit around MA,CT,NJ and NY in the last few months but haven't seen any company using anything but XP.


I think if companies decide to use Windows 7, they are either in the process of testing and rolling out Windows 7, or they are waiting for SP1 (which is useless, but that seems to be what people believe... wait for a service pack, and it will all be fine... Ofcourse reality tells us that sometimes an OS needs more than just a service pack, and sometimes it's fine from the get-go, like Windows 7).

So you probably don't actually see a lot of Windows 7 right now, but that doesn't mean they aren't planning to do so.
As I said, my company WANTS to move to Windows 7, but some of the software our infrastructure requires, such as VPN, simply doesn't work on Windows 7 yet. This means if people were to upgrade their laptops to Windows 7, they would be unable to work from home.
There's probably lots of companies that hit snags such as this while trying to migrate to a new OS. The irony is that if more companies bothered to migrate to Vista, many of these snags would have been hit a few years ago, and we wouldn't be in this mess today.
In a lot of cases it's just third-party suppliers that don't have their Vista/Windows 7/64-bit software together yet (because they have been just as apathetic about it as the end-users).

Funny enough our own software cannot install on 64-bit OSes either... This is partly because of the IT policy... We always ran only 32-bit XP on our machines, even well into the 64-bit/Vista era, so we never even had the opportunity to test our software on a 64-bit OS.
Now some of the new development machines come with Windows 7 x64 preinstalled, and we can't run our own software on it, lol.
Posted on 2010-04-04 18:00:43 by Scali
I wonder how much the change in XP Mode support (hardware virtualization now optional instead of required) will loosen things up?
Posted on 2010-04-04 20:57:17 by SpooK

I wonder how much the change in XP Mode support (hardware virtualization now optional instead of required) will loosen things up?


Well, my guess is: not much... because I think:
1) Do most companies own low-end computers, or computers that are high-end enough to have hardware virtualization anyway? My guess is the latter. I know our stuff here mostly does, with the exception of some really old test machines, mainly around for Windows 2000 testing. They won't need Windows 7 anyway.
2) From what little I've seen of XP Mode, I found it very clunky to use, and it's probably quite limited anyway, as it runs in a virtual machine, so it's not a solution to running old hardware which has no drivers for Windows 7. I'm not sure if a crude solution like this is acceptable in a managed office situation. Feels a bit like moving the entire office over to linux and then running all Windows applications under Wine. Nice if you're a hobbyist, or if there are one or two machines that require a special installation... but not a good overall solution, not really suitable for end-users who may run in all sorts of strange snags and won't know what to do.

Ofcourse I could be wrong, I'm not an IT manager...
Posted on 2010-04-06 02:21:13 by Scali
April 2010 results are in...
And it is a historic moment...
Windows XP is down to 36.79% for the 32-bit version and 0.64% for the 64-bit version, making 37.43% total.
Windows 7 is up to 11.76% for the 32-bit version and 26.39% for the 64-bit version, making 38.15% total.

So it's official: Windows 7 is now the dominant OS on Steam!
Posted on 2010-05-01 09:39:43 by Scali
May 2010 results are interesting.
At first it looks strange... all Windows versions have dropped in usage, even Windows 7... no exception.
The explanation is simple if you look at the OSes that DID rise in usage: Mac OS X.
More than 8% is now OS X.
I think next month may give a more accurate picture though. I think this month lots of Mac users flocked to Steam to try it out for the first time. It could drop next month when only the people who actually use Steam on Mac will stick around.

Other than that the story is pretty much the same... Windows XP continues to drop at a very quick rate.
Posted on 2010-06-04 15:59:01 by Scali
June results show what I suspected: OS X dropped off to about 6%.
Posted on 2010-07-06 11:41:33 by Scali
I haven't commented on updates for a while, because nothing interesting has happened...
But September's survey is interesting, as currently Windows 7 x64 is the most popular OS. So you don't even need to combine the Windows 7 32-bit and 64-bit flavours anymore, just the 64-bit version already outnumbers XP now.
I suppose this signals the end of both XP and 32-bit Windows as a whole. Funny enough, the 32-bit Windows 7 figures are even dropping. Perhaps some people have upgraded their installation from 32-bit to 64-bit (with the exception of OEM licenses, you can install either one with a single Windows 7 key/license).

The adoption of DX11 also seems fairly slow, still at only 5.6%. This seems to be mostly a hardware issue, as the share of Windows Vista/7 installations is much larger than that.

Other than that, nothing too spectacular I suppose.
Posted on 2010-10-06 01:43:19 by Scali
I never thought I'd move either but when the opportunity came I jumped at it wholeheartedly. My old XP Box is VMWare'd up and besides the lack of a regular search I like 7 much more than I thought I would. As for DX11 - I plan to upgrade my GTX7900 by the end of the year (mostly because it can't really handle my 24" screen in 1920x1024 :sad:)
Posted on 2010-10-06 04:31:27 by JimmyClif