Valve have released the latest user survey data, which records the specs of the machines, and software on those machines, belonging to the people playing their games.
If you've used Steam, you'll know that every now and then you're asked to participate in the survey (and if you're me, which I am, you'll know that for some reason it always fails to send). All that data is collated into their constantly updating results page, where you can go, "Coo, are people really still trying to use machines with 128MB RAM?" And then laugh about how superior your machine is, until noticing that 3.95% of people have quadcore, and feeling rubbish again.
It should be noted that the previous survey results are based on the responses of over a million users, while the latest survey has only collated around 20,000, so it's possible that anomolies are still present.
The most remarkable leap would have to be RAM. The Spring/Summer results show that a tiny proportion of people had 2GB or more RAM, just 0.43%. Now, a whopping 47.8% are in the top field for memory.
The numbers of people using dual-core are also on the hefty rise. Six months ago those with two processors were in the distinct minority, amongst 24.14% of gamers, compared to 75.36% with just the one. A weeny 0.5% were using four. Now the 2x are really catching up, with 42.23% compared to single cores at 53.82%. Quaddies are bringing up the rear with 3.95%, and as yet the 45 people in the previous survey who had an insane eight processors have yet to respond.
NVidia's 8800 graphics card is dominating, with 12.97% of players reporting it inside their machines, the 7700 coming second with 7.77%. ATI's first appearance is with the Radeon X1950 is in 8th place, with 3.44%.
Probably unsurprisingly, but depressingly for all developers who have to field support queries, for both ATI and NVidia the majority of responses show their graphics card drivers to be at least two months out of date. A deeply worrying 1.05% of ATI users, and 1.02% of NVidia users, report using graphics drivers from 2004.
Vista has shown a small increase in representation, but clearly nowhere near where Microsoft would have desperately hoped. Previously 7.99% of gamers were using the latest operating system. Now it's 16.91%, with a vast 81.13% sticking with XP. Rather confirming Valve's position on DX10, and what a massive waste of time it is developing for Vista only.
All these numbers will likely have shifted slightly by the time you read this, as the results are constantly updating. Cheers to PrimoTech for the heads-up.