Steam to stop supporting Windows XP and Vista in 2019

The Steam client will stop supporting Windows XP and Vista next year, Valve have announced, meaning it “will no longer run” on those ancient operating systems. Some of Steam’s newer features won’t work on them, Valve explain, so they’re cutting ’em loose. If you want to keep on Steaming past January 1st, 2019, you’ll need to upgrade to a newer version of Windows (or switch to Linux?). Public numbers show only a fraction of one percent of Steam users still using either, though this will suck for them. Valve’s move is not surprising; Microsoft have long since stopped supporting either, and Blizzard already cut them off from their newer games too.

“The newest features in Steam rely on an embedded version of Google Chrome, which no longer functions on older versions of Windows,” Valve say. “In addition, future versions of Steam will require Windows feature and security updates only present in Windows 7 and above.”

Steam will run on XP and Vista until January 1st, then it won’t. Some features, like the new Steam Chat, won’t work before then either. After then, I suppose Offline Mode could let you still use Steam by avoiding updates, though it wouldn’t have access to online features and you couldn’t reinstall.

Microsoft released Windows XP in 2001 then Vista in 2006, and ended mainstream support and security updates for both years ago. If you use ’em, you’re on your own, making them pretty unsafe to use on an online computer.

Valve’s public survey results show that 0.22% of Steam users surveyed in May 2018 were on the 32-bit versions of Windows XP. Vista and XP x64 don’t even show up, sitting somewhere below the 0.08% share of Windows 8.1.

Blizzard stopped supporting XP and Vista in World Of Warcraft and their newer games in 2017. EVE Online cut ’em off in 2016 as well. And fancy new games haven’t worked on either in yonks. Steam is obviously a bit different to those, mind, as not just one game, it’s a gateway to a store, the store’s DRM – it can cut off someone’s access to games that might otherwise still be happy to run on XP or Vista.

76 Comments

  1. Raoul Duke says:

    If, for some reason, someone wanted to keep using these OSes, then why does Valve have the right to cut them off from their own game collection? No doubt some weasel words to support this are buried away in the EULA, but I doubt it was when people were buying games in the 2000s.

    From a legal perspective, Valve’s practice of making you agree to a new EULA for the whole of Steam every second time you activate a game is very dubious, too.

    • Vinraith says:

      There aren’t any words “hidden away” in the EULA, it states very clearly that Valve can cut you off from your “collection” at any time for any reason. They’re providing a service, you don’t actually own anything at all. This is the devil’s bargain everyone made when they became the dominant platform.

      • Raoul Duke says:

        I don’t think that’s right for a number of reasons.

        First, consumer contracts are heavily regulated in most countries and cannot be assumed to have binding effect. In general, standard form terms will often be curtailed to the extent that they are not reasonable or equitable (that is, of course, cutting across many different jursidictions with different statutory and common law rules).

        Second, I think there would be a strong argument that Valve asserting in court that they merely provide a “service” would open them up to a good argument that they are engaged in misrepresentation, because they very clearly present games as things you can “buy” as individual products. Contrary to popular wisdom, if you present things in a particular way but then bury away some clause that totally contradicts the impression you have deliberately created you cannot just rely on the clause as though you never created the initial impression, especially in consumer contracts.

        Third, there is the problem that games are also sold as products on many third party sites with Steam presented mearly as the DRM attaching to them.

        Fourth, it is extremely doubtful that any unilaterally imposed change to a contract after the fact is binding, or that Valve is entitled to modify the contract between me and Valve from when I bought Half Life 2 in 2004 as a condition of me activating some more recent game.

        Fifth, even if Valve has strict contractual rights they might also be affected by doctrines such as estoppel, i.e., Valve has induced its customers to rely on the continuing availability of their games and cannot now remove access to them.

        Sixth, you unequivocally DO own a licence to use each game you purchase. A non-transferable licence subject to conditions, but a licence is a thing you can own.

        So, my personal view is that it’s not at all clear cut. But of course, taking them on requires resources, and few people are going to dedicate those resources to a fight against a giant, well-resourced corporation.

        • Vinraith says:

          I will certainly admit that it would be very interesting to see this tested in court. The whole situation troubles me a great deal, especially since the entire notion of products as services seems to be creeping into more and more corners of our lives.

        • Jungle Rhino says:

          Selling software as a subscription service is the defacto approach for most commercial software these days. Autodesk and other major software vendors are all pushing their subscription services because it provides much more predictable revenue.

          Steam simply offers a perpetual subscription service, with a whole bunch of strings attached, which you sign up for anytime you buy a game.

          I agree with you that it is particularly underhanded as nobody appears to have actually taken any notice of this seachange in how consumers now consume digital content. But it is no different to iTunes, where you buy an album, and you can listen to it – but when you die it isn’t like your children can find it in a box and listen to it.

          Sh1tty yes – illegal absolutely not.

        • jamhov says:

          “First, consumer contracts are heavily regulated in most countries and cannot be assumed to have binding effect. In general, standard form terms will often be curtailed to the extent that they are not reasonable or equitable (that is, of course, cutting across many different jurisdictions with different statutory and common law rules).”

          Not sure where you are referring to, but in the United States “caveat emptor” rules supreme. There are some consumer protection laws, but those generally are for high stakes transactions (e.g., things like “lemon laws” that regulate the used car sales industry) and not buying computer games from a download service. It varies quite a bit from state to state, but I don’t think it’s accurate to call this area of contract law “heavily regulated” in the United States. Rewriting a contract (even a click-wrap EULA) usually requires a court to find the objected to clause unconscionable, or some type of intentional material misrepresentation by Valve. This is an extremely high bar that I don’t think is met here.

          • djtim says:

            “Not sure where you are referring to”

            Literally every other western first-world country that isn’t the USA.

          • jamhov says:

            So everywhere except where Valve is located and what is probably it’s largest financial geomarket.

            Regardless, the term’s of Valve’s EULA are clear, it provides a subscription to a service and you pay for licenses to software. It also reserves the right to terminate that service at any time. In this instance, they are announcing more than 6 months ahead of time that they will no longer be supporting legacy operating systems long out of date.

            Under these set of facts, I think it is ill advised to think that a court (anywhere in the world) is going to step in and determine that Valve owes you an unrestricted right to download and access your games in perpetuity on any platform you choose.

          • fish99 says:

            If Valve sell stuff in the EU they do so under EU laws and EULAs are not legally binding here.

        • aratuk says:

          Unfortunately, no one who is still running Windows XP will have the legal wherewithal to locate their nearest courthouse, let alone successfully press a lawsuit. Which makes the whole argument rather moot :-/

      • aircool says:

        Steam are on safe ground, particularly as the software developers on those two Windows platforms don’t actually support them anymore. Any court would just tell you to upgrade to the latest version of Windows and stop wasting their time.

        • Hoot says:

          Pretty much this.

          Why anyone would even WANT to run Windows XP is completely beyond me. If you have an old games collection then there is DosBOX if you wanna get it running on a modern OS (or just spend the relatively small amount of cash and re-purchase the games on GOG.com).

          I think it’s a given when you invest in games and technology that it will not last forever and you either upgrade occasionally or get left behind.

    • fuzzyfuzzyfungus says:

      I’m not a fan of the situation; but in practice ‘having the right’ is pretty easy. In any jurisdiction with DMCA-like rules; circumventing the DRM is illegal(even if what you plan to do would otherwise be within the scope of what copyright law permits), so if you change the behavior of version N+1 of a DRM component so that it won’t activate the game on XP that’s it.

      The “Software licensed not sold” shrinkwrap license that accompanies a given game may provide extra latitude(in practice the really hardcore license jerkitude is reserved for enterprise software, the consumer stuff just isn’t expensive enough to make enforcement worth the trouble; so you just get loot boxes; rather than support agreements, per-socket licenses(and if you think per-socket is fun check out something like this “processor core factor table” for discerning exactly how much different sockets count against your licenses), CALs, etc.): if the license says that the work is only licensed for operation on supported operating systems that’s very possibly a legally defensible position.

      In this case, just because of the PR and logistical issues, I’d be a bit surprised if Valve goes to all that much trouble to stop people who hack around whatever checks are in place to prevent install on XP; especially with newer games and hardware often also blocking effective use of XP(getting recent-ish GPUs with XPDM drivers, say; and getting games that don’t expect a DX or OpenGL feature level only found on GPUs that only have WDDM drivers); but I would not want to be in the position of trying to assert a legal right to continue running commercial software however I want, because that would almost definitely not go well.

      • Raoul Duke says:

        See my comment above, which responds in part to you too.

        I think you make a good point, though, that the best security we have is probably that Valve wouldn’t dare do anything to cut off too many people from access to their libraries. As well as possibly being enough to provoke litigation, it would also create a perception that Steam is unreliable and drive people to the competition. People would forget about the convenience of Steam pretty quickly if they thought there was a real risk that they would lose access to their game libraries at any moment.

      • Cederic says:

        Without even checking your link I’m betting it goes to a big red yacht owning software company.

        As they’ve found themselves though, ceasing support on legacy systems doesn’t invalidate the licences to run the software on those systems. Rimini Street have some court troubles but their customers do not.

        I bought Empire: Total War to run on XP and Vista, and if it didn’t run on more modern systems then absolutely I’d expect Steam to continue to allow me to run it on my retained Vista system.

        That may mean providing a standalone Steam client, but hey, they can do that.

    • brucethemoose says:

      Well why do they have an obligation to spend alot of time/money supporting limiting, unsupported and increasingly problematic software?

      I’m playing devil’s advocate, but it’s not a trivial point. Valve would never update Steam if they had to develop and test it with every version of every OS on the planet: they have to draw the line somewhere.

      • Raoul Duke says:

        Well, to also play devil’s advocate, don’t they have a moral obligation to release your games from behind their DRM if they are going to remove their DRM from a platform for which it was available when you bought the games?

        This is one of the major problems with all DRM, of course, but especially DRM that relies on a live, online internet connection. It commits the DRM provider to continuing to dedicate resources to providing the service.

        I can’t see this being a huge problem for most people, but it might affect, e.g., retro game enthusiasts (who might actually be running Steam games on old school hardware) and economically disadvantaged people who only have access to out of date hardware and software.

        • brucethemoose says:

          That’s up to the game devs, not Valve.

          Even if Valve wanted to, and they ignored the protests and lawsuits from the publisher/dev, Steam is baked into the code of many games.

          Now, what Valve could theoretically do is release an 100% offline client for older systems, one that hooks into games just like real Steam’s offline mode. That’s not DRM free like you want, but it’s technically viable. Again, not practical because of the protests of thousands of publishers/devs, but possible.

        • TheEuphoricTribble says:

          Raoul, I think you’re missing the point here. These are OSes now that are nearing 20 now, and due to the age and changing hardware requirements, Microsoft has abandoned support them years ago due to various reasons. Most other software has also abandoned them or plans to abandon them, Chrome being one of them, because it uses technologies that didn’t exist on those OSes that MS started developing and/or using. And as stated before, most if not all of modern software that you use today, INCLUDING Windows 10 now, are considered services. They do not legally have to maintain and/or support them. Yes, that essentially gives Microsoft the same ability to 10 years down the road do with your OS what Valve is with Steam. But with Steam, I think it’s not that Valve doesn’t want to NOT support them, it’s that with technologies advancing and Chrome taking charge of more tools to make browsing faster and easier, that they can no longer SUPPORT XP and Vista on them as quite simply the software wasn’t designed with them in mind. And as Chromium is embedded into Steam, well, this would likely be why support is ending.

          And before you say it, this is a GOOD thing what Valve is doing. Chrome officially ended support for XP and Vista back in 2015. This actually poses a SERIOUS security risk in the part of Steam that connects out online as we’re talking Valve using a 3 year old version of Chrome in the client, resulting in them literally missing out on 3 YEARS worth of security updates to screen out any malicious software and other nasties, and no, before you ask, they can’t make the switch to the rendering engine Firefox uses for this either-in March of 2017 Mozilla pushed all users of XP and Vista to Firefox ESR and ended that support in November and were one of the last browsers to support those two versions of Windows.

          Sometimes, this kind of stuff is a GOOD thing. As it is now, you could potentially get infected through Steam with any assortment of malware developed over the last 3 years. So yeah. Once you consider that and the fact this is EMBEDDED in there, meaning you can’t simply strip this out of Steam simply to offer continued use of it, there’s only one thing to do to maintain proper security at this point. Drop these two operating systems. A decision that considering this info I’m a bit concerned why they didn’t 3 years ago.

          • shde2e says:

            This is true, and I don’t think anyone can reasonably demand Steam to keep supporting an increasingly large and archaic group of operating systems.

            On the OTHER hand, Valve have sold people products, and forced their customers to access those products through their platform. They should not be allowed to simply cut people off from their paid-for products because of demands Valve themselves made.

            So if they’re going to stop supporting an OS, and cut people who use it off from Steam, I think it’s Valve’s duty to ensure that people still have access to the library of products they bought from them. Presumably by decoupling it from their DRM like Raoul mentioned.

            If they encounter problems doing so…. well they really only have themselves to blame, and it’s up to Valve to solve those problems one way or the other.

          • Raoul Duke says:

            Your perspective is that it’s good for games publishers to force people to upgrade their OS to keep playing games that worked perfectly well on a legacy OS. I do not agree. I guess it comes down to your view on who should have control of the hardware and software.

            And again, my point is not about newer games or newer features. My point is that Valve set up a business in the early 2000s of providing DRM to game publishers. Valve and those publishers actively sold games to consumers which required the use of that service and also, for a time, required the use of XP or Vista.

            So Valve plus these publishers took money from people on the basis that, e.g. (a) you must use Steam and (b) you must use Vista.

            Now they are removing the ability to use Steam and Vista at the same time. My argument is simply that this is inconsistent with their own use of their own service in the past. I understand the counter-argument, “why should they support Windows XP/Vista/etc forever?”. The response to that is that if they did not want to do that, they should not have forced people to use that combination of software in the first place.

            I also think it’s b.s. from a commercial perspective. People who still want to game on Vista or XP are either (a) poor or (b) really into legacy gaming. It should be trivial for Valve to release a legacy edition of Steam which allows you to play ancient games on old OSs indefinitely. All it actually needs to do it check your credentials against a database, which is something any network enabled PC can do.

    • HothMonster says:

      Then you have a year to download them and it’s up to you to maintain them and if their IP holder requires Steamworks DRM to run you can talk to them because Valve doesn’t have a right to remove that restriction.

      They don’t have to support you wanting to use their platform on a dead OS.

    • airmikee99 says:

      You think Steam is doing something wrong by ending support for an operating system that the operating system developer no longer supports either?

      Why stop at Windows XP? Why not get upset that Steam no longer supports Windows For Workgroups, Win95, Win98, Win98SE, WinME, WinNT or Win2000? What about Steam’s lack of support for OS/2 Warp? Are you equally upset that no movie producer still supports the Beta or HD-DVD formats? Are Netflix/Hulu/Youtube forcing people to buy high speed internet because it would be absolutely impossible to stream video over a phone line connected to a modem with marketing materials detailing speeds measured in bauds?

      EULA’s have been challenged in court numerous times, and more often than not, they’re found to be legitimate. The few exceptions did not rule that EULA’s were invalid, only that certain provisions within the EULA were not legal (and all of those exceptions were pre-DMCA.)

      Back in 2012 a court in the EU did find that publishers can not prevent the resell of their games to other people, even games that had no physical media. I remember all the cheering people did because they could start selling their Steam games to other people. That never happened though, because that ruling didn’t say video game retailers had to allow such a transaction on their service, and a different EU court ruled that Steam doesn’t have to offer the ability to sell games or even your whole Steam account.

      The publisher/developer of the game can’t use an EULA to prevent you from selling your digital games, but Steam’s EULA CAN prevent you from selling your digital games.

      In an ideal world you’d be allowed to do whatever you want with games and operating systems, and if frogs had wings they wouldn’t bump their ass when they hop.

      • Raoul Duke says:

        “Are you equally upset that no movie producer still supports the Beta or HD-DVD formats?”

        See, your comparison just doesn’t work.

        This is more like me investing in a bunch of HD-DVDs because Panasonic or whoever is pushing them as the latest greatest thing, and then a few years later Panasonic coming into my house and breaking the DRM chip on my legacy HD-DVD player so that I can no longer watch them.

        I.e., we’re not talking about making new products work on old operating systems. We’re talking about taking products that work perfectly well on old operating systems and disabling them because maintaining the mandatory DRM you chose to impose is annoying for you.

        • Hoot says:

          I am interested to hear more about your specific situation, if you don’t mind? What version of Windows are you on? What games will you no longer be able to play? Is upgrading to a newer (and better, if you’re coming from XP) version of Windows such a bad idea?

    • Chaoslord AJ says:

      What about those games which were never upgraded to run on 7 and higher?
      But yeah there are probably clauses.

  2. racccoon says:

    The motto of progression on Windows PC system is stay with it, not meaning stay with the system you love by staying put, but stay with the system as it updates, Windows 10 is now a brilliant system as those that stayed with it know it, and now know how manipulate it for their usage. Windows is the best system today it created the PC as we know it. All those holders on of vista, xp, win7, really are just that, holding on, they haven’t realized that if they stayed with the system and allowed it to install new upgrades they’d be sitting well in the loop, Instead of out of it.

    • Phasma Felis says:

      What

      • Don Reba says:

        All raccoon’s posts are like that.

        • Harlander says:

          Windows 10 great, VR terrible.

          racccoon lives in an interesting universe, but I’m not sure I’d want to move there.

          • ColonelFlanders says:

            Windows 10 IS great, and VR IS terrible. But, both are the opposite in places too. Windows 10.is amazing, powerful, and performs better than any OS from Microsoft ever has. But it snoops, and is trying to take control away from the user, which sucks. VR sucks badly, but some cockpit-based games do benefit. But by and large I found VR to be an annoying experience. I don’t feel any more immersed for having to wave my hands around and wear a heavy-ass hmd on my head that makes my eye sockets sweat and sting. Fuck that, give me a couch and controller any day.

          • elevown says:

            VR is NOT terrible – it is great – BUT, only in limited sorts of games. I think many of the games they try to make VR do not benefit from it. But some are incredible with vr.

            Its a niche product like a steering wheel or flight stick – unfortunatley many devs & media & public thought it was like the second coming and everything would be VR.

          • ColonelFlanders says:

            Disagree. Almost all the games that benefit from VR also benefit from wide FOV, which no HMDs have yet. I can’t think of a single application of VR except for Google earth that wouldn’t benefit more from just having multiple monitors, like in my setup for racing for example.

            VR will be great in about 5 years when they have a 150-160 degree FOV, and the HMDs weigh less, but until then I’ll be of the opinion that its a load of ass. Right now I see VR as a glorified Wii remote; great until you realise just sitting on the couch with a pad is a far more comfortable and usable experience.

          • Raoul Duke says:

            Any good things about Windows 10 are more than outweighed by (a) it randomly rebooting whenever Microsoft decides it will, and (b) intrusive advertising built into the OS.

        • Rich says:

          I’d say Windows 10 is fine. Not great, just fine. I can absolutely understand people sticking with Windows 7.
          I can, however, see no good reason for sticking with XP or *shudder* Vista. I suppose a system running XP might just to ancient to run anything newer, but then such a system would struggle with most web pages.

          • shde2e says:

            I’m guessing those are the people who are either not tech-savvy enough to change their OS, or don’t use it enough to really care.
            If you only use your PC for Steam, browsing the internet and some Word docs, then it doesn’t matter that much which OS you have.

    • Ejia says:

      Well it’s nice to see you got down from that ledge safely.

    • Mr. Robot says:

      Windows 10 actually makes me miss Vista. It’s awful.

      • shaydeeadi says:

        The only gripe with Win10 I have really is how it keeps messing my firewire config up with the large updates but I can fix it in about 10 mins. Whats so bad about it?

    • Chaoslord AJ says:

      I played all Windows since 3.1 and Windows 10 “pro” automatically installs Candy Crush OOB, has an ugly flat design, reports everything and feels like a smart phone on a desktop.
      Sure it’s the most advanced Windows yet technically and it has features, security and tech beyond XP or 7 being newer -obviously-.
      I always run the latest Windows but 10 has obvious faults by design.

  3. TillEulenspiegel says:

    From a developer’s perspective, supporting XP while developing new features is generally a huge pain in the ass. There are a ton of APIs in Vista and beyond that you just can’t use.

    There are justifiable reasons to maintain XP compatibility in new business software, unfortunately. But not for games. Even in weird edge cases you should be choosing Linux+Wine over ancient Windows.

  4. bill says:

    Wait, what?! Steam has new features???

    That’s weird, I can’t think of a single new feature that valve have added to steam in the last 5 years.

    You know, things like remembering my view preferences for different views, or remembering to hide non-valve games that i’ve told it to hide, or being able to browse my games library by tag or anything really.

  5. Zenicetus says:

    I understand why they have to do this, but it still sucks from my personal perspective. I have a second computer in the home office that’s still “gaming capable” with a second Steam account so my wife and I can play things like Divinity OS 2 and other co-op games together.

    It’s running Vista because I had to do a system wipe a couple of years ago, and that was a free install from the original OEM software. Now I’ll have to buy Win10 to keep running those Steam games on that box. Not the end of the world, because we can afford it, and it’s worth doing just for the security upgrades. But it’s still annoying. At least they gave us some notice.

  6. anon459 says:

    Some day this will happen with Windows 7 and I’ll finally have an excuse to switch to Linux.

    • brucethemoose says:

      That’ll be a transition from hell.

      I’ve never seen anyone say “I’m sticking to XP because it doesn’t suck like Windows 7!”. But, even years from now, LOTS of Steam gamers will feel that way about Windows 7/10, particularly if Microsoft gets screwy with their revenue/license model for 10.

      But I think Valve isn’t stupid enough to do that, at least not for a decade or so, even if MS cuts off 7 updates.

      • anon459 says:

        I’ll be here on 7 until then even if they cut off updates but I’ll eventually have to make the transition because at this point I don’t foresee ever using another Microsoft OS.

        • BooleanBob says:

          Is there a way to cut off Windows 10 so that it stops slurping and sniffing and sending all my data back to Redmond? Also, is there a file explorer that doesn’t use the fucking ribbon?

          If the answer to both these questions is yes I’ll consider moving some day, when I absolutely have to.

          • HiroTheProtagonist says:

            To answer your first question: ShutUp10
            To answer your second question: Directory Opus 12

            But realistically, if you’re using any Windows system from 7 SP1 or newer, the snooping is already in place.

          • Apocalypse says:

            The answer to that seems to be: Run windows in Europe, apparently the European version of windows 10 is holding up to European privacy protection laws. Must have been a pain in the ass for Microsoft to give up on so much big data. ;-)

            If you are in america, the hunting season on your data is on.

      • shde2e says:

        I’d say thats still a decade or so away.
        XP was popular, but it’s almost twenty years old. Vista “only” twelve, and it’s one of the most maligned versions Windows put out.

        7 has neither of those problems, so it’ll keep on trucking for a while.

      • Premium User Badge

        phuzz says:

        I’ve never seen anyone say “I’m sticking to XP because it doesn’t suck like Windows 7!”.

        There was a bunch of people saying that when 7 first came out, but I assume most of them grumblingly moved to Win7 over time. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them are the vocal members of the “always 7, never 10” crowd too.

        I work in IT so upgrading Windows is as much about keeping current on new software as anything else. When you’re used to swapping OS’s every few years you stop being bothered by every little change they make.

    • Megatron says:

      Having been a windows users for the last 30 years I jumped across to Linux in January this year for all use cases except games that don’t or can’t run on Linux. The indecent invasion of privacy was the final straw but the software-as-a-service bollocks they seem obsessed with now can also die in a fire. Plus, they did things with their mail and Onedrive services that pissed me off there too so I’ve pretty much washed my hands of Microsoft as a company, apart from the odd piece of gaming. I’ve put up with their shit for decades but I finally refuse to play any part in their general obnoxiousness towards their customers. Lastly, Windows 10’s update system is a hateful nightmare. That Spring Update they just pushed out? Can’t even get it to install, and I don’t have any more life to burn fruitlessly hunting online for the magical tweaks that will help it do so.

      Happily, Steam has about half of my windows library available in Linux, and PlayonLinux accounts for a good many more so I’m really not sorry I switched at all. Good riddance to very bad rubbish. #LinuxIsAwesome

      • Megatron says:

        Correction: I’ve been a windows users for nearly 25 years, not 30. Yep, my first use of their software was Windows 3.0 on the LAN at my local high school.

  7. Don Reba says:

    I wonder what features Steam needs that are supported on Windows 7 but not Vista. They are very similar under the covers, being NT 6.1 and 6.0.

  8. Cablenexus says:

    I really like playing older games and so I have a system in standby with Win XP on it. It should be nice if Steam give this extra service to people like me that have libraries with over 500 games and a lot of oldies.
    For example a simple Steam client that can launch Steam games on Win XP machines but without any other service.
    We can fly to the moon, it can’t be that difficult.
    Costly maybe?

    • fuzzyfuzzyfungus says:

      Probably makes the copy-cops jumpy; aside from being some additional expense.

      Not that Steam DRM is generally considered impregnable or anything; but releasing an official “Steam game activator that we barely ever bother to touch because we don’t care about XP” provides a nice stable target for analysis and modification to produce something that can, if flaws exist, be used to activate Steam games in other contexts. The ongoing-support client is hardly ironclad; but Valve pumps out an update pretty frequently; and so is at least in a position to make a “look how quickly we react because we totally care” argument; which would not be the case if they just cut a minimum-footprint XP client loose and ignored it.

      As noted; I would also be surprised if Valve does more than the bare minimum required to pretend to care about whatever workarounds and shims the remaining XP and Vista users come up with: that’s also engineering effort, has no obvious benefit to them; and will make them whine loudly, so there may be a de-facto ‘XP activator’ version consisting of something new enough to interact with the Steam server side and old enough to not have any hard requirements for Win7+ APIs that can’t be shimmed over; plus a dodgy pack of mods and shims; but, while they won’t have an incentive to fight it too hard; their official position will likely be that such a thing is wicked and wrong and totally unsupported.

      What might be supported is doing all your installs on or before the deadline with one of the last supported clients and then taking the XP machine into offline mode. The usual 2 weeks would be of little use; but I imagine that that value is flexible; so would be the lowest-effort mechanism for adding some additional semi-support into 2019; though likely on the order of months at most.

  9. SomeDuderr says:

    Anyone still in favour of supporting Windows XP, an OS that’s an antique by this point, is insane and not worth your attention.

    I mean, I don’t enjoy where Microsoft is taking its OS (Each version removes more and more control from the damn thing), but you can’t expect a developer to support such a prehistoric OS.

    • Apocalypse says:

      It’s not about the support of the client, it’s about the games which stop running.
      If Valve is giving us a VM for each and every Windows XP only game in their catalog … I would have no issue with this. But we are losing defacto games with this decision. Games we have paid for.

  10. Kefren says:

    I think the main problem is that the games and the DRM/delivery mechanisms are different things. Because Steam tie the games to a DRM/delivery mechanism, shifts in what the latter supports will remove access to games that would have been fine on an OS. So we get the weird situation that some of the old games may well run better on older operating systems, because _those are the ones they were written for_, yet they will be uninstallable on those OSs – and it may well be that they don’t even work on newer ones anymore. I think that’s a poor service to customers.

    I don’t use XP as my main OS (that is Windows 7 – I tried Win10 three times on different PCs, and really dislike it as a day-to-day tool), but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t use it in specialist scenarios. For example, I have lots of old hardware and existing licences. I hate waste, so always try and re-use things before I recycle them. So I recently dug out an old laptop. It is too old to run any OS after XP, but it runs XP fine – in fact, because I’m not using it as a day-to-day laptop, and it only has one or two pieces of software installed, it’s surprisingly zippy. I wanted a laptop for writing first drafts of novels on. My main PC has too many distractions; also my main PC is a desktop and I already spend too many hours a day sat down. With the laptop (named “Wordcruncher Turbo”) I can work in different places, or standing up (which is my preference). I didn’t install MSOffice on it, just a distraction-free plain text writing program with clicky typewriter sounds. I love it, and my productivity has gone up. Note that although it has wi-fi I don’t use it – I didn’t install a browser or email clients, just installed stuff from USB. So there is no need for a more modern OS for this purpose, and it would just cost me money and waste the things I already had that were perfectly suited to the task.

    How does that tie in with games and Steam? Well recently I took Wordcruncher Turbo on a cat-sitting writing retreat to get a chunk of first draft written on my next novel. The place I was staying at had no wi-fi. After writing all day I wanted to unwind. I generally watched TV or read. Playing a game is also something I like to do, and my GOG and Steam libraries include hundreds of games that run fine on low-spec systems and older OSs, from HoMM2 to FTL. In theory I could install some with Steam, go into offline mode, and play them whenever I want. Once Steam stops supporting XP that won’t be possible. I’ll own games that would run fine on my laptop, but Steam’s DRM/delivery system will specifically prevent me from installing or playing them on it. Some years from now that probably will happen to later OSs too, until the point comes that I can’t play Steam games on any of my Win7 systems (even though it may be the best OS for the games themselves).

    This is why GOG is so good for me, with its offline installers (all I ever use – I don’t bother with GOG Galaxy because I want to get away from all that updating software separate from the games). I can download a game’s installable files. I can keep them on my PC and (in theory) even if GOG disappeared, I still have all my games. I can install any I want on my laptop.

    Steam has the most games. It’s also pretty heavily DRM-infested (I have to check carefully to make sure I don’t buy games with Denuvo, GFWL, uPlay, Origin, or any of the other systems that are still parts of many Steam games). Steam isn’t ever going to change their system, even though people above made suggestions that I would agree with – Steam don’t even want to include a DRM-free filter, because it might upset publishers and draw attention to these issues. So, really, Steam is going to stay the same and always be a case of knowing that your access to the games is not indefinite and unrestricted. It’s why I only buy Steam games when they are heavily discounted. Whereas I will often pay full price on GOG because I am getting a lot more for my money – games I can download and backup myself, that don’t have all these DRM restrictions and tied delivery mechanisms. At present I have hundreds of games on GOG and hundreds on Steam, but I am already noticing a change in that I am clearing my GOG wishlists much quicker, because these issues are getting more important to me as time goes on. And, truth be told, even though lots of games I like the look of are currently Steam-only, I have no shortage of games. The opposite. Around 50 I haven’t played; hundreds I have played a bit and mean to come back to; and loads that I have completed a number of times and regularly reinstall to play again (the VampireTMBs, HoMMs, the System Shocks, the Deus Exes and Thiefs, the Amnesias and Penumbras, the FTLs, the Mirror’s Edges etc). I am never going to be stuck for games, even if I only used GOG. And over time, some of those Steam-only games will probably appear on GOG anyway, and probably be a lot cheaper a couple of years down the line. So rather than get stressed about the situation, I just intend to shift my purchasing to better future-proof my games collection. I still regularly play games that are over 30 years old, so I care about access to what I’ve paid for.

    Sorry for the long message!

    • Barts says:

      Same here: GOG and offline installers all the way.

      The only exceptions are things that are dirt cheap (1GBP or equivalent) on Steam or very, very rarely games that are only on Steam (with some gnashing of teeth).

    • woodsey says:

      “Steam don’t even want to include a DRM-free filter, because it might upset publishers and draw attention to these issues.”

      Maybe there’s no filter, but on AC: Origins, as an example, it is clearly labelled that there are in-app purchases, that a “Ubisoft Account” (i.e. Uplay) is required, and under the system requirements that it contains Denuvo and VMProtect. And there’s a million curator thingies dedicated to pointing this stuff out as well.

    • Apocalypse says:

      Actually I think you have the right idea about something. What we want with this patch is GOG.com versions of all steam games which got screwed by steam this way. They are ancient, old, it should not be a problem for valve to move those games over to gog.com … problem solved for valve and us.

  11. CdrJameson says:

    If Steam has 67 million active users, then 0.22% of that is roughly 150,000 users being thrown under the bus.

    That’s quite a few people.

    • madve2 says:

      If not being able to update Chromium under the hood is their main concern, maybe they could extend SteamCMD (link to developer.valvesoftware.com) to allow installation and launch of games and not just dedicated servers (if it doesn’t already allow to do that). Yes, it would be clunky (you have to look up appids and stuff) and lacking features (like the steam overlay) but at least it would be a way for XP users to download and play their games with a lot less effort from Valve than supporting the “main” client would be (which I completely understand they want to update the components of). Over time, I’m sure someone would create a simple GUI on top of it which would just run SteamCMD with the appropriate parameters (in a similar fashion to open source video converters, 99% of which are command line based yet have a GUI developed for, often by different people).

  12. vand says:

    Before running Crusader Kings natively on Linux, I’d use WINE and I discovered that (at the time), WINE in Windows XP-mode would actually run the game smoother than my Windows 7 setup.

    Uuh, I guess I’m trying to say that I have feelings about this, and they are not very strong.

    • nottorp says:

      There was a time when *World of Warcraft* was running better on Linux than on Windows on the same machine for me. But my mmo playing style is kinda unusual: in a window, keeping it open a lot but switching away from the game a lot too. On Windows the other apps were unresponsive for a bit when switching, while on Linux everything worked fine.

  13. AbyssUK says:

    Hmmm, for steam home streaming generally the computer you want to stream too is an older machine (unless you have a alink). Would be nice if they released a standalone streaming client for older systems.
    BUT am guessing the streaming client has a lot to do with wanting to ditch XP/vista.. anyway…

  14. fish99 says:

    Of course stopping support doesn’t mean Steam won’t work anymore, just that they won’t address issues that arise or provide tech support to users using those OSs. There will probably be work-arounds to keep people able to use Steam for a good while.

    • Apocalypse says:

      “Of course stopping support doesn’t mean Steam won’t work anymore”, nope, in this case it seems like it means exactly this. Steam will not run anymore in 2019 on XP and Vista systems. They will not only stop supporting it, they will disable it, most likely via not delivering the required DRM-steam-client updates.

      It sounds totally shitty and unnecessary.

      • fish99 says:

        Ah ok, that’s a shame, although for security reason alone people probably shouldn’t be running those old OSs. It is still possible people will come up with work-arounds.

  15. alsoran says:

    Steam Software and games are rented, ownership is transient, illusory. Oddly, we pay full price for digital downloads the same way we did when we bought our games in boxes and got cool stuff like manuals and maps and things. New games as digital downloads are no cheaper then they used to be in hard format. I imagine they make one master now, which is copied endlessly whenever someone activates a key, this could be done forever and so they get a huge profit from their low costs of production. In return we get the Emperors new clothes.
    Windows 10 is a mite too familiar for my liking and I cannot bring myself to trust it. It must be a nightmare to configure for security in a business environment. I’ll probably have to buy Windows 10 service someday, when something I want really badly only runs on Windows 10. Vista was really bad, but without the constant updates. Windows ME (Possibly named after a debilitating condition) was also, not very good. I quite liked ’98, XP and W7.
    I’m switching away from Microsoft as my needs are fewer and my games backlog is now too big to complete in whats left of one lifetime. To help the transition I buy GoG direct downloads or any other DRM free files and keep them safely backed-up. I can get Linux compatible games and Wine seems to work quite well with windows games I’ve tried so far.
    I’m ready to walk away from my Steam games hoard when my kit is no longer supported, W7 BTW, and meanwhile I’m more careful about where I spend my dosh. I buy less from Steam these days preferring to get something more tangible for my credits.

    • Raoul Duke says:

      “Oddly, we pay full price for digital downloads the same way we did when we bought our games in boxes and got cool stuff like manuals and maps and things.”

      I’m no fan of Steam, but this is just not true. I well remember the days of paying massive prices for boxed games drip fed via a few retail stores around the place (and frequently selling out for long periods of time). Buying a game used to be a big commitment.

      Now I can jump online any time and dig around and find excellent games for less than 10 bucks, including big games from big publishers. Digital distribution has absolutely smashed game prices.

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