Windows 10 seems to have run out of Steam

Windows 10

Windows 10 has failed to gain any users in the last month according to the latest survey of Steam gamers – and indeed the OS has actually dropped very slightly in terms of market share.

The results of Steam's survey for September showed that while Windows 10 remained the most popular operating system – as it has been amongst gamers on Valve's service since spring rolled around – the 64-bit version only gained a minuscule 0.04% of the market, and the 32-bit incarnation actually shed 0.09%.

This meant that last month Windows 10 actually lost 0.05% market share, although that's a pretty negligible drop. However, it would seem that Microsoft's newest OS has effectively stalled going by Steam's metrics.

This is particularly interesting, because gamers have been amongst the keenest adopters of Windows 10, with the OS continually making impressive gains throughout this year. Even in the previous batch of figures from Steam, for August – which was after the free upgrade offer expired – the operating system still saw a big increase of 2.7%.

A lot of the growth in the gaming community has to do with the fact that DirectX 12 is exclusive to Windows 10, which is a big carrot – but this month's stalled numbers seem to indicate that we're starting to hit the limits in terms of gamers who refuse to shift from Windows 7 for whatever reason.

As we know, there are certainly plenty of users out there who have no real love for what Microsoft has done with Windows 10 in various respects (from compulsory automatic updates through to privacy issues).

Freebie finished

We could also be seeing the impact of the free upgrade offer ending, of course. It's possible that during August, Steam's stats caught a good number of last-minute upgraders – and perhaps further into the month, a further number of procrastinators who were still using the unofficial methods available to upgrade to Windows 10 for free.

It would seem, though, with September that any such final rush through the gates is now over (even though rumor has it that those unofficial upgrade channels can still be used – old product keys are still working, at least the last we heard, and there was also the 'assistive technologies' route).

As ever, we can't draw too many conclusions from just one month's stats, and the real test will be how Windows 10 fares over the next few months as we head towards 2017. It's only then that we'll see if growth has truly stalled or not.

As for the other versions of Microsoft's desktop OS, Windows 7 slid this month as well, dropping by 0.26%, considerably more than Windows 10. Oddly, Windows 8/8.1 was the only flavor to move positively with a growth of 0.07%, but as with Windows 10's drop, that's a pretty negligible amount.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).