Windows 11 is getting more popular - with PC gamers at least

Steam hardware survey is a glimmer of hope for Microsoft, compared to a much more worrying picture that's painted in terms of overall adoption.

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Windows 11 just made quite a leap in adoption levels with PC gamers, or at least those that use Steam.

Windows 11 is doing better with gamers than everyone else, it seems (Image Credit: Pixabay)

Windows 11 is doing better with gamers than everyone else, it seems (Image Credit: Pixabay)

Valve's popular gaming platform conducts a monthly hardware survey, as you're doubtless aware, and that includes the operating system gamers are running as well as hardware components.

For the month of April, the hardware survey shows that Windows 11 adoption rose to reach 45.15%, which represented an increase of 3.54% on the previous month.

That's a hefty jump, and as you might expect, with Windows 11 going up in the world, Windows 10 is coming down - the older desktop OS fell by 3.38%, though it's still in the lead on 51.02%. Not by a lot now, though.

This is in distinct contrast to other figures we've recently seen from the broader world of Windows 11, meaning everyday users, not just gamers, as worked out by Statcounter. Those stats for April show that Windows 11 has fallen two months running, dropping 2.5% of its users to end up on 25.65% - a far cry from what Steam's survey shows.

As for other operating systems shown in the Steam survey, Windows 7 users have almost dwindled to nothing (0.43%) and Windows 8 is definitely out for the count (on 0.08%). Outside of Windows versions, Linux and macOS are staying about level on 1.9% and 1.35% respectively.

Underlying reason?

Could there be any particular reason for the surge in Windows 11 reported by Valve? Well, it's worth noting there's a slight drop in users from China (based on the OS language setting - which fell 3% for Chinese in April), so maybe some of this could be a reflection of those people preferring Windows 10 relative to the rest of the globe (and there being slightly fewer of them this time round).

That's a bit of a stretch, though, and we won't take this small victory away from Microsoft - though the company does desperately need to see a turnaround with everyday users, of course. That's where the real battle lies, though Microsoft may feel it has a secret weapon in its back pocket that it's about to deploy.

What would that be? AI PCs, of course, which come with Windows 11 naturally, and a new feature called AI Explorer. The latter is being primed as Microsoft's big push to take AI to the next level with its desktop OS, in theory providing a much better way of searching your system for files or whatever you need.

Providing that pans out, these AI advancements, coupled with chips like the Snapdragon X Elite - or Strix Point, or Lunar Lake - that offer serious acceleration for AI tasks thanks to peppy NPUs, we're betting Microsoft hopes this is a persuasive force to encourage more Windows 11 adoption.

Read more: It looks like Microsoft could cram more adverts veiled as 'recommendations' into Windows 11

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Darren has written for numerous magazines and websites in the technology world for almost 30 years, including TechRadar, PC Gamer, Eurogamer, Computeractive, and many more. He worked on his first magazine (PC Home) long before Google and most of the rest of the web existed. In his spare time, he can be found gaming, going to the gym, and writing books (his debut novel – ‘I Know What You Did Last Supper’ – was published by Hachette UK in 2013).

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