A Look at Steam’s Hardware Survey for November 2012

Posted on December 3, 2012 8:45 AM by Rob Williams

This month’s Steam hardware survey is special for a couple of reasons: it’s the last update we’ll get during 2012, and it represents the first full month since Windows 8’s release. Last month, we saw Microsoft’s latest OS capture 0.22% of the market, which wasn’t  bad given it didn’t officially release until the very end of the month. How did things fare during November? Extremely well, actually – 4.87% of the total.

If I recall, Windows 7 didn’t score that kind of marketshare immediately following its release, so it’s going to be interesting to see if this trend continues over the next couple of months. As a result of the Windows 8 debut, the marketshare of 7 dropped -1.45%, Vista, -0.45% and XP, -0.99%.

Last month’s look at Steam’s hardware survey was admittedly boring due to any real lack of change, but that stagnant trend sure didn’t last long. Allow me to quote myself: “[AMD’s] “Never Settle” promotion is extremely compelling, so it just may offer the boost in marketshare that the company is looking for.

That sure didn’t happen. As you can see from the first square in the image below, NVIDIA’s marketshare grew significantly during November – rising to 66.72% from 46.52%. Could that be the result of NVIDIA’s recent GTX 660 and GTX 650 Ti launches going extremely well? Sadly, we’re not able to find out, due to the Steam survey’s total lack of specific GPU information this month (this has happened before; if Valve fixes it soon we’ll update this post).

With NVIDIA’s unbelievable gain, AMD’s share fell from 35.65% to 26.51%, Intel’s from 10.7% to 6.59% and “Other” from 7.13% to 0.18%. I have a couple of possible theories here. NVIDIA’s sudden rise could be due to the fact that a lot of people are formatting their PCs thanks to Microsoft’s latest OS – in turn spawning the prompt for the survey; or, Valve has further tweaked the survey which in turn broke some of the metrics. At this point, we don’t have any choice but to wait until next month and see if these trends hold.

Because of Windows 8’s release, we can see growth in some areas that really haven’t seen any in a while. The number of people with over 12GB of RAM installed increased 0.49% to sit at 7.92% and – wait a minute. 8% of people using Steam have 12GB of RAM or higher? Color me impressed! 22.29% have 4GB, 21.28% have 8GB and 20.56% have 3GB.

The 1080p resolution revolution continues with a gain of 1.27% to settle it in at 29.71%, while 1280×1024 dropped -0.39% and 1024×768, -0.33%. Continuing the topic of monitors, dual 1080p monitor share gained 0.65% for a total of 19.11%, and dual 1920×1200 gained 0.34% to sit at 4.89%. Note that these percentages represent multi-monitor users only – not the entire Steam audience.

Overall, a fairly interesting update to the hardware survey, although the verdict is still out on the gain in NVIDIA marketshare. To grow 20-ish percent in a single month seems a bit fishy, made worse by the fact that there’s no fine-tuning of the options due to a bug. We hope Valve will have things functioning better in time for the next survey.

While we wait for that, how about you join our Steam group?

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