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Latest Steam Hardware Survey Produces Many Graphs

Graphs! They’re boring old data turned into sort of modern art or something. No one can deny their allure. It’s with that special fact in mind that I plunged headfirst into a world of Steam’s Hardware Survey for June 2012. It turns out that the graphs provided more than just an aesthetic diversion, of course, because they also illustrated some trends in hardware usage, too. I know! Let’s see if we can spot those hot trends, with clues below.

So, what do graphs, the colourful prostitutes of numeracy, tell us about the computer using habits of the average Steam person? Well, they showed Steam getting installed on a lot more crappy old laptops and stuff. There’s an increase in the frequency of Intel graphics, those poorly concocted magicks which so often reside in laptops, and which routinely fail to “Run Crysis X On Mega” or whatever the fashionable benchmark is these days. There’s also a marked rise in dual-core and single-core machines, which means that they’ve come into fashion in a sort of Steampunk way – with people amazing their friends with the trendy use of recently outdated chips. That, or Steam is being installed on a lot more machines now that it’s actually worth doing so, what with being able to log in all over the place, and play games that aren’t Crysis On Mega, and so forth. There’s also a slight increase in DirectX 9 use. Dunno what that means. Probably something to do with all the DirectX 9 games that are being played, or something.

Anyway! Basically this indicates that you all bought crappy netbooks and then decided to play Torchlight and Plants Vs Zombies on it instead of doing “work”. Stuff like that.

Other things:

  • No one likes AMD’s CPUs anymore.
  • Things are a bit more even in the top-end GFX card arena, and around 10% of Steamers have the same card as me! (See if you can guess!)

So yeah.

Also there’s this important note, for those if you raising an eyebrow at the odd spike in the data:

Why do many of the Steam Hardware Survey numbers seem to undergo a significant change in April 2012? There was a bug introduced into Steam’s survey code several months ago that caused a bias toward older systems. Specifically, only systems that had run the survey prior to the introduction of the bug would be asked to run the survey again. This caused brand new systems to never run the survey. In March 2012, we caught the bug, causing the survey to be run on a large number of new computers, thus giving us a more accurate survey and causing some of the numbers to vary more than they normally would month-to-month. Some of the most interesting changes revealed by this correction were the increased OS share of Windows 7 (as Vista fell below XP), the rise of Intel as a graphics provider and the overall diversification of Steam worldwide (as seen in the increase of non-English language usage, particularly Russian).”

Hooray!

That’s hooray, right? I wasn’t paying attention.

I’m so tired.

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Jim Rossignol

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