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Steam Hardware & Software Survey Results and what they mean

(Image Credit: Steam)
(Image Credit: Steam)
Izaak
ANALYST
Modified 04 Sep 2020, 21:36 IST
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About once a month, Steam asks its users to run an automated survey on their system to collect data about its hardware and software they use. This data is then compiled and displayed on site. From this information, we can learn a few things that are helpful to developers and gamers alike.

Steam usage

One important consideration is that Steam is no longer the only client on the internet. The use of other digital storefronts has risen since in the last decade, as other companies have more clearly identified the value of offering their products digitally. GOG and the Epic Games Store now present capable alternatives, although Steam still maintains quite a significant reach.

Although the Steam Survey is not quite a census, it still shows us the significant demographics that developers will consider when making any game, while gamers can use it to see what kind of hardware and software they might want to change to in order to ensure the smooth operation of new games.

Steam Survey Results - Computer choices

The detailed Steam survey results can be seen here. A couple of major things, Windows users still make up the overwhelming majority of Steam users at 95%, and a large portion of Steam users have at least 16GB of RAM and 4-8GB of VRAM.

Additionally, 4K gaming doesn’t seem to have been adopted by most Steam users just yet, so despite the high RAM and VRAM, most won’t care if their resolutions top out at 1920x1080.

A very small number of Steam users have VR headsets (just 1.7%), but there seems to be a fairly even split among them for which VR set they prefer. It will probably be quite a while before VR can become accessible enough for more people, as both the money and space required tend to be high barriers to entry.

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Steam Survey Results - Who we are

English is still the most used Operating System language on Steam with a 2% decrease from last month, totaling at a little under 40% of Steam users. Simplified Chinese (PRC) comes in at just under 20% of Steam users’ language, Russian at 11% and European Spanish at 5%.

Latin American Spanish comes in at just 0.33%, which likely means that most Spanish speakers simply do not care to make the distinction on their computers.

A slight majority of Steam users like to have a lot of computer space, having over 1 TB of hard drive space available, and much of that space seems to be occupied, as most have less than 500 GB free on their computers.

How will these results be used?

These results are mostly something to consider from developers. For instance, it’s much easier to justify focusing your attention on a Windows release for your game over a Mac release when you notice that Mac users only account for 5% of the market.

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Likewise, knowing what the most common hardware used is allows developers to know exactly what to test.

Languages, as the numbers show that an English language release might still be important for seeing global success, and localizing just for Simplified Chinese and Russian on top of that would allow you to reach roughly 70% of Steam users.

Published 04 Sep 2020, 21:36 IST
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