June 14, 2018 // 10:55 a.m.
Game publishing and distribution giant Valve has made an announcement which may come as a disappointment to gaming enthusiasts of a certain vintage: The Steam client will no longer run on Windows XP or Windows Vista from January 2019.
While both Windows XP and Windows Vista have been officially out of Microsoft's support lifecycle for some time - the former not without a fight, it must be said - they haven't been completely abandoned by gamers. According to the public results of Valve's own Steam Hardware & Software Survey, some 0.22 percent of the Steam users are still on Windows XP - and while that might not seem like many Valve's public figures suggest that the digital distribution platform saw a peak of 18.5 million simultaneous users in January this year, meaning around 40,700 of those were likely to be using the now-vintage operating system.
'The newest features in Steam rely on an embedded version of Google Chrome, which no longer functions on older versions of Windows. In addition, future versions of Steam will require Windows feature and security updates only present in Windows 7 and above,' explains Valve in a statement announcing its plans to sunset support for Windows XP and its less popular successor Windows Vista. 'For the remainder of 2018 Steam will continue to run and to launch games on Windows XP and Windows Vista, but other functionality in Steam will be somewhat limited. For example, new features such as the new Steam Chat will not be available. We encourage all users on these operating systems to upgrade to newer versions of Windows in order to have ongoing access to the latest features of Steam, and to ensure future access to all games and other Steam content.'
The move does not only remove access to the Steam storefront, however, but also to any games installed through it: Users who have Steam installed on a Windows XP machine will find that they are no longer able to log into their account from January 1st 2019, and thus will be locked out from their titles unless and until they upgrade to Windows 7 or newer.