Valve celebrates New Year by blowing off Steam support for Windows 7 and 8
Updates for the 1% of holdouts halt
Valve rang in the New Year by dropping Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 support on its Steam gaming platform, giving your gaming grandparets yet another reason to upgrade.
In a service bulletin, Valve warned that after January 1, "existing Steam Client installations on these operating systems will no longer receive updates of any kind including security updates," and it wouldn't guarantee Steam continuing to work on Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 in the future.
Valve is encouraging users to upgrade to a supported version of Windows. For those still using Windows 7 or 8, this almost certainly means Windows 10, as machines from the older OS' era are unlikely to meet Windows 11's stringent hardware requirements.
The issue, according to Valve, is that the Steam client relies on features built into Chrome that are no longer supported on older Windows operating systems. The Steam client uses an embedded version of Chrome for its built-in web browser that surpasses the capabilities of aging Redmond operating systems.
Valve notes that future versions of the Steam client will also rely on "Windows features and security updates only present in Windows 10 and above."
They also blamed a lack of Chrome support for dropping support for macOS 10.13 and 10.14 back in December. The latter release was significant as the last 32-bit compatible version of macOS, another favorite of holdouts.
For those opposed to upgrading, there's always the Linux route. As we've previously discussed, thanks to the Proton compatibility layer, game compatibility on Linux is increasingly robust these days. This has been bolstered by the fact that Valves Steam Deck handheld console also runs on Linux.
As it would happen, the Steam hardware survey from December shows that 0.89 percent of gamers are running on Windows 7 and 8 combined. That's less than macOS (1.63 percent) or Linux (1.97 percent). Needless to say Windows 10 and Windows 11 dominate the survey at 53.45 percent and 41.95 percent, respectively.
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The good news is Windows 7 and 8 aficionados (probably) won't be cut off from their favorite games for a little while longer. The Steam client isn't bricking itself automatically, but there's no guarantee that it will continue to function over time.
"We expect the Steam client and games on these older operating systems to continue running for some time without updates after January 1st, 2024," Valve wrote in the bulletin.
To be clear, both Windows 7 and 8.1's days were already numbered. Microsoft dropped support for both operating systems last january. While still prized by many for their simplicity and lack of user tracking telemetry, the two operating systems are nearly 15 and 12 years old at this point. ®