The Windows 8.x family of operating systems had a rough November, but among gamers the recently released Windows 8.1 is performing decently. In November, gamers using the Steam platform sent Windows 8.1′s market share to 6.34 percent, up 4.49 percent in the month.
Windows 8 itself ended the month at 12.11 percent, giving the larger Windows 8.x host a combined market share of 18.45 percent among Steam users. That dwarfs, naturally, OS X’s market share among the gaming cohort that uses steam of 3.48 percent, and Linux’s share among the same group of 0.98 percent.
Windows 8.1 grew more quickly than Windows 8 contracted, with the latter shedding 4.02 percent in the month. This mirrors what we have seen in the larger Windows market. Still, Windows 8.1′s growth feels sluggish when framed against Windows 8′s almost commensurate drop. To see more than 4 percent of Steam’s population switch in a month to a yet nascent operating system isn’t shabby, however.
As The Next Web’s Emil Protalinski pointed out recently, Windows 8.1 managed to beat Windows Vista’s market share in November. Vista really is over for all intents and purposes. Interestingly, among gamers Windows XP retains more market share than Vista, which came after.
A metric that must be watched is the aggregate market share of Windows 8.x, as Windows 8 contracts and Windows 8.1 expands. If their combined market share doesn’t quickly expand, we can infer from that information that while Windows 8.1 may be doing a fine job snagging Windows 8 users, overall unit volume of new PCs is soft.
In related news, IDC reported yesterday that it expects a 10.1 percent decline in PC sales in 2013, a smaller decline in 2014, and market stabilization over the 300 million yearly unit volume mark for the coming few years. Given that, Steam should see Windows 8.x absorb increasing market share in the coming years. At least, Microsoft hopes as much.
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