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“Windows 8 is trash” … “Windows 8 is horrible”... “I hate metro tabs!” … “I hate tablet interfaces” … “WTF is up with Windows 8?” I don't know, but an awful lot of people – gamers, specifically – seem to be using one of the most critically reviled operating systems in recent history.
The news comes courtesy of the Steam hardware survey, where an enterprising user concerned with Steam statistics spotted a most disturbing trend in OS usage: Windows 8 is the next most popular OS in use on Steam.
Windows 7's 64-bit version took the top spot with 50.62% of the user share, while directly behind it is Windows 7 at 12.34% of the user share. However, following the Windows 7 dominance is Windows 8's 64-bit rendition at 10.65% of the user share. From here we have Windows 8.1's 64-bit rendition with 8.54% of the user share and following a calvacade of other lesser important operating systems, we see Windows 8, the standard edition, fitting in at 0.57% and it's followed by Windows 8.1 at 0.30%.
In total, Windows 8 accounts for 20.06% of the OS user share of Steam. This means that roughly one in every five Steam users could be using Windows 8.
Now the reason I say “could be” and not “are” is because the survey statistics are slanted with an incalculable error ratio. For instance, how many users in total took the survey? How many of these users included were long-time Steam users or new users who popped on during the holiday sales? How many of these users who took part in the survey recently bought a pre-built computer or custom-built their own? How many users upgraded (or downgraded) from Windows 7 to Windows 8? How many users were on laptops and how many were on desktops and is that their main computer for which they took part in the survey?
There are a ton of questions to alter the variant means of the numerical interpretation. While it does seem to say that a lot of people who didn't (or don't) like Windows 8 are a vocal minority, unless we have more data to tell the whole story behind the numbers, it's difficult to simply say that the survey represents the core Steam user in the proper light.
The numbers are further muddied due to Valve's own admission about the anonymity and somewhat vagueness of the numbers' representation, stating on the survey site...
“Steam conducts a monthly survey to collect data about what kinds of computer hardware and software our customers are using. Participation in the survey is optional, and anonymous. The information gathered is incredibly helpful to us as we make decisions about what kinds of technology investments to make and products to offer. “
For the most part, this only gives us a very general and rough idea of what percentage of users who partook in the survey are using in their systems.
The data also seems to suggest that there's a massive decline in Windows 7 64-bit users, opting more toward the Windows 8 OS. From the previous survey, there's been a 3.46% decline in Windows 7 usage. Scary.
As the data continues to alter and shape its way around a narrative that could be considered good or bad (depending on which side of the console/PC Master Race war you're standing on), one thing is for sure: Valve definitely made the right call to go ahead and get the SteamOS up and out there for the public. It couldn't have come at a better time. The only thing now is to see how well actual Steam users will be inclined to adopt Valve's SteamOS.