As the clock ticks down to January 1, 2024, Valve prepares to usher in a new era for Steam, with the gaming client announcing its plans to discontinue support for Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1. Players with these older systems will need to embrace a more recent operating system to continue enjoying their favorite games.
This bold move comes on the heels of recent Steam upgrades, which introduced a more streamlined UI experience on desktop. While the decision to phase out support for older Windows versions may be bittersweet, only 2% of Steam users rely on these systems, according to last month's Steam hardware survey. With newer games no longer compatible with Windows 7 and 8, and Microsoft halting support for these versions in January 2023, it was only a matter of time before Steam followed suit.
Valve addressed the change in an official announcement, stating, "As of January 1, 2024, Steam will officially stop supporting the Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 operating systems. After that date, the Steam Client will no longer run on those versions of Windows. In order to continue running Steam and any games or other products purchased through Steam, users will need to update to a more recent version of Windows."
The shift is attributed to Steam's latest features relying on Chromium—an embedded version of Google Chrome that is incompatible with older Windows systems. "In addition, future versions of Steam will require Windows features and security updates only present in Windows 10 and above."
The company's strategic move aims to allocate resources toward supporting cutting-edge operating systems, rather than maintaining outdated ones used by a dwindling number of players. As Microsoft gears up to sunset Windows 10 support in 2025, Steam users may anticipate a similar withdrawal in the foreseeable future. With 62% of Steam players operating on Windows 10, this eventual transition will undoubtedly impact millions of gaming enthusiasts.
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