Windows 11 looks like a flop with gamers compared to Windows 10

A man looking tired and bored at his gaming pc
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Ponomarenko Anastasia)

Windows 11 is not proving all that popular with gamers if you go by the stats pulled from the most recent Steam hardware survey.

Obviously, this is just a limited snapshot of the gaming community who use Valve’s platform, but Steam is a major presence in the gaming world, of course, and the survey for March shows a rather paltry uptick of 1.25% compared to the previous month.

In February, Windows 11 adoption among Steam gamers was 15.59%, so it has now risen to 16.84%. It seems like a real slowdown is setting in when it comes to the number of Windows gamers who are making the transition to Microsoft’s latest desktop OS, as we can see looking back to January of this year, and December 2021.

In January, Windows 11 gamers stood at 13.56%, and that was up 3.41% compared to the previous month – a major gain. But since then, we’ve seen more modest increases of 2.03%, now slowing to 1.25%.

Windows 10 still holds a 74.69% share of Steam gamers, with Windows 7 on 4.14%, and away from Microsoft, macOS has a 2.43% adoption, while Linux slipped just a touch to bang-on 1%.

Analysis: Slow burn adoption could well pick up in the future, though

While we have to take Steam’s figures with a pinch of salt as mentioned – or any such individual report like this, which obviously has a limited capability to inform on the entire PC market – Microsoft is likely going to be disappointed with these most recent figures.

Mainly because as mentioned, when 2022 kicked off, it looked like Windows 11 was starting to gain some serious momentum with gamers, but those larger strides forward appear to have morphed into smaller steps.

Most worryingly, the overall progress of Windows 11 adoption for gamers remains way, way behind what we witnessed for Windows 10. As PC Gamer, which highlighted the release of the latest Steam survey, points out, seven months after release – which is where we are with Windows 11 now – Windows 10 hit a tally of 36.97% of Steam PCs. So that’s more than double Windows 11’s current 16.84% market share on Steam.

Let’s be frank – that’s not really a great advert for how adeptly Windows 11 is managing to tempt the gaming fraternity. That said, with Windows 11 being less of a major upgrade – and more of a case of building on and refining Windows 10 – it’s not too surprising that more folks are taking a wait-and-see approach.

As far as gamers go, there’ll certainly be some seriously compelling reasons to consider a switch eventually, when gaming-focused tech like DirectStorage is supported by more games in the future. (While DirectStorage will be available for Windows 10 users as well, it’ll have much more impact thanks to the storage optimizations found in Windows 11 – and the tech will be about much more than just speeding up load times, too).

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).