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PC Games (Games) Hardware

Steam Survey Takes PC Gaming's Pulse 172

Posted by Zonk
from the what's-under-the-hood dept.
Via Rock Paper Shotgun and Primotech, the latest in Valve's ongoing PC hardware survey via the Steam service. Some very interesting stuff in there, though probably nothing too surprising. From RPS's analysis: "Vista has shown a small increase in representation, but clearly nowhere near where Microsoft would have desperately hoped. Previously 7.99% of gamers were using the latest operating system. Now it's 16.91%, with a vast 81.13% sticking with XP. Rather confirming Valve's position on DX10, and what a massive waste of time it is developing for Vista only."
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Steam Survey Takes PC Gaming's Pulse

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  • Missing data? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sparr0 (451780) <sparr0@gmail.com> on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @04:22PM (#21354017) Homepage Journal
    Last time I saw this, the screen resolution section listed 1280x800, but not 1280x960. Now it lists 1280x960, but not 1280x800. And it has never listed 1280x1024, which happens to be the resolution that over 90% of the steam users that i know use. The "Other" category is not large enough to cover these discrepancies. And, to top that off, there isnt even a category for 5:4 aspect monitor sizes. Are those people getting lumped into the 4:3 ratio section? WTF all around
  • by taquitosgmail.com (876560) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @04:37PM (#21354253)
    I recently (less than a week ago) built a gaming machine for my birthday and decided to buy Vista Ultimate. Strangely, I couldn't get the HL survey uploader to send the data back to Valve. Everything else works just fine though. Maybe other people are having similar issues? for the curious its running on an E6850, 2GB 1066, 500gb, 8800GTS-640oc. I really wanted to upload the info to help skew the results :)
  • Dos (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @04:38PM (#21354269) Journal

    Falcon 3.0 (please don't hang me on the number at my age the mind is becoming more and more like a) required me to upgrade to a new Dos. (5?)I did. (legally too)

    That was the last time a game pushed me on a new MS release.

    Back then 99% of games were DOS, only a handfull of games required Windows (3.X) and most DOS games ran a lot faster without windows loaded.

    This didn't change for a long time even with the release of Windows 95. Quake was an important game back then,and running it under 95 just meant you sacrificed a lot memory the game could have been using. There was no benefit I can remember, and so I stuck with DOS for a long time. I have no recollection how long it took between 95's release and me finally getting and seeing games that were WIN95 only AND worth it. But it was at least a year.

    Remember that dos to WIN95 was a HUGE change.

    DirectX must have been introduced at some time, but I don't recall it being widely used until it was a couple of major releases old. Even MS own games didn't use it for a long time. MS Flightsimulator and Close Combat come to mind. In fact, MS games were notorious for being rather primitive, Close Combat was one of those games were you had to manuall set the desktop to reduced colors, this was AFTER DirectX had gotten some traction.

    But we moved away from DOS, we now have DirectX games mostly and one day Vista will be the norm and so will DirectX 10, because just as games once become Windows9X only and games became DirectX only, so will they become Vista only and DirectX10 only.

    The article notes that Vista has only 18% users. This is very noteworthy, but check the chart, how many Windows 9X users? For that many 2000 users? 9X ain't even listed, 2000 doesn't even get a full percentage.

    Remember all the people who said they would stick with 9X or 2K? Where are they now? Not on steam at least.

    We move on. I won't be getting Vista for a while, I like my linux desktop and for games I don't need it. Yet.

    I think the biggest thing hurting MS at the moment is NOT Vista's tech woes, but something far more deadly. It is piracy. It ain't there. I am a freak for trying the latest software, but I also hate cripple ware and store bought machines, so I either look at spending a couple of hundred euro's on Vista because all the pirated versions seem to have problems.

    How much of MS old early adoptor market consisted of pirates? I got 95Se 98 98SE 2K etc ALL from that subscription thing an old employer had. Illegal, sure. But those machines showed up in surveys like this. How any Steam players would run Vista if they could?

    More and more games will be directx 10, or will look at their best in directx10. Support for XP will dry up, new computers will come with Vista pre-installed and people will move on.

    Just as we did before.

    The only difference as I have said is that this time it will be a lot harder to do it without paying MS, and for some of us, that is a big hurdle. I wouldn't mind trying Vista, it is not like I use my gaming machine for anything critical, but not for the current price tag.

    But some day? Sure, if I can find an unused key somewhere for a non-crippled version. Because lets admit it, I want to see how shiny it is. Precious...

  • Re:Waste of time? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by spyrochaete (707033) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @04:46PM (#21354407) Homepage Journal
    I like Valve's knack for programming top notch effects for lowest common denominator hardware. For instance, instead of conforming to audio standards like EAX and ASIO they built a custom sound engine that supports and/or emulates the requisite effects. Also, Source Engine games are the only ones that can use both antialiasing and HDR on my GeForce 7950GT - NVidia themselves claimed this to be a limitation of this hardware yet Valve proved them wrong.

    If Valve can achieve top-end results with middle-end (is middle an end?) hardware then more power to them!
  • Re:Waste of time? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Chosen Reject (842143) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @05:10PM (#21354735)
    I admit that I wasn't clear on that. In the first paragraph I'm saying that Valve probably doesn't think it's worth it and probably won't for Episode 3 either. In the second paragraph I was just throwing out my wants and wishes without any regard as to whether Valve would think it is worth it.

    Even so, it is still a different thing. Adding DX10 capabilities to their engine makes their games slightly prettier for people who can already run it. Adding Mac/Linux support increases their customer base. I know that a lot of people already use Wine/Cedega to get it running on Linux, but I'm sure there are more people who would buy a Valve game just because it runs on Mac/Linux, then there are people who would just because it supports DX10. More specifically, I'm sure there are more people who haven't bought Valve games because they aren't on Mac/Linux than there are people who haven't bought them because they aren't DX10 capable.
  • by westlake (615356) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @06:07PM (#21355467)
    Vista has shown a small increase in representation, but clearly nowhere near where Microsoft would have desperately hoped. Previously 7.99% of gamers were using the latest operating system. Now it's 16.91%, with a vast 81.13% sticking with XP.

    This is the most ridiculous take on Vista I have heard yet.

    20% of gamers migrate to a new and more demanding OS in less than one year and this is supposed to be bad news for Vista?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @06:53PM (#21356133)
    I dual boot Vista and Ubuntu on my laptop. I play the games I can under Linux, and the rest under Vista. One thing I can say is that, in my experience so far, the games that do run on Linux (native ports only - I don't bother with Cedega - tried it once a long time ago and found it a pain in the arse), tend to run much faster and smoother. I've seen a few graphics glitches, but if I ever get around to upgrading to more recent nVidia drivers, I think those'll go away. I currently show up as "Vista" in the Steam survey, but if I could, I'd be Linux. It's really hard to make predictions about what the representation of Linux users would be when it is NOT EVEN AN OPTION.

    I will say this about the Source engine though - even on Vista it runs great for me, so it's not a huge loss, in this case, because valve did such a great job of optimizing the engine (but I'd still like to run it under Linux). To contrast, I've tried playing Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory under Vista and the experience was *terrible* (under Linux ET runs beautifully though).

    I wish more companies would release native ports of the games for Linux. Everyone says that Linux is this tiny percentage of the gaming market, but if companies supported it, it wouldn't be for long. I really think that it makes a much better technical platform for high-end games than any flavor of Windows, because it (usually) has a lot less crap running in the background (yes, it's possible to run a bunch of crap in the background that would kill your performance, but a basic setup doesn't *require* as many crap services as Vista does).

    If hardware and software companies support Linux better, I think gamers would *flock* to it.
  • Re:Missing data? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Sascha J. (803853) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @07:34PM (#21356615) Homepage Journal
    There's more missing in fact. They could list the amount of WINE users playing their games on a non-windows system, emulating via WINE.

    When I took the survey and browsed through the gathered information it would send to Valve, I saw that for the audio driver or chipset (don't remember exactly) it lists something like "WINE input wrapper" or something like that. This would be an easy measure to see who's using WINE and who's not.
  • by feepness (543479) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @07:54PM (#21356853) Homepage
    Here is an exchange that just completed today. I purchased Company of Heores: Opposing Fronts off steam. It hung as detailed below. Never worked. I spent about three hours trying to fix it before buying a retail copy which worked immediately.

    Me: 10/30/07 This game hangs at the "Preparing to launch..." from Steam. I tried verifying it, un-installing it, re-installing it, but no success. I even looked on the forums and tried a few things from there with no luck. I would like a refund for this game and for it to be removed from my account. Thanks.

    Steam: 11/08/07 Hello, Have you already gone through this FAQ?

    Me: 11/08/07 Hi there. I tried reading the FAQ and the forums and spent two or three hours on it. Here's a link to the thread on your forums with the list of many people who had the same problem:

    http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=617610 [steampowered.com]

    I gave up and purchased a physical copy.

    I think Steam is great for Valve Games and has worked well with older games. I would love to keep using it, but will need Company of Heroes: Opposing Forces removed and refunded.

    Thanks.

    Steam: 11/09/07 Hello XXXXXX, I see many mentions of Vista in that Forum post. If you installed Steam when UAC was enabled, there is a reasonable likelihood that UAC prevent a few keys from being properly generated. Assuming that you have already attempted to disable UAC to fix the issue, please try re-installing Steam with UAC disabled. Please use the latest Steam installer:
    http://www.steampowered.com/v/index.php?area=getsteamnow&cc=US [steampowered.com]

    You may prevent all of your game files from being lost by moving the Steamapps folder out of the steam directory before uninstalling and putting it back after re-installing.

    If the issue persists, please right-click on the game and go to Properties > Local Content > Verify Game Cache, and try again.

    Finally, the the following suggestion is usually used for a specifie error message, but I would be very interested to know if this affects the issue you are experiencing:

    Vista Home Users
    Go to: Start > Run and type in: cmd
    type in the following:
    net localgroup Administrators /add Local service
    Restart your computer.
    Vista Business & Ultimate Users
    Right-click on Computer and select Manage.
    Go to: Groups > Administrators > Add to group > Add > Advanced > Find Now > Local Service and click OK.
    Restart your computer.

    Me: 11/09/07 I already tried several things before to get it to work, including messing about with UAC, finding the key, and verifying the local game files, etc... I'm sorry, but as I said I purchased a physical copy a week ago and I'm not interested in using Steam for COF:OF at this point.

    Here are my choices:

    1) Get a refund, continue to use Steam to purchase Valve products and other games after reading the steampowered forum to ensure other people are successful using them. Share my experience with other gamers.
    2) Do a chargeback, at which point I am assuming my Steam account will be disabled from what I've read online. Share my experience with other gamers.

    As I also said, I would very much like to continue using Steam. I haven't yet chosen whether to buy Orange Box. At this point Valve's response will be a deciding factor.

    Thanks,

    Steam: 11/13/07:Hello,

    As requested, we have processed a refund to your account.

    Your confirmation number is: XXXXX

    Your bank or credit card issuer will return the funds to your account - please allow 3-5 business days for the funds to be posted.

    Please note in the future that Steam purchases, per the Steam Subscriber Agreement, are not refunda

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