Heads Up Gamers, Steam Is Kicking Windows 7 And Windows 8 Support To the Curb

Steam logo in front of a bunch of game titles.
Valve shared some disheartening news for anyone still happily rocking a Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1 gaming PC. Effective January 1, 2024, Steam will no longer support those operating systems. That still gives gamers nine months to make preparations, but once the calendar flips over to 2024, the Steam client will no longer run on anything older than Windows 10.

This brings up an interesting point about digital ownership. Or more accurately, it serves as a reminder that you're beholden to digital platforms for the content you 'own,' whereas as that is not necessarily the case with physical media (the exception being if some kind of online activation is required). Steam isn't in danger of closing shop, but it can cut off access to your library at any time.

"In order to continue running Steam and any games or other products purchased Steam, users will need to update to a more recent version of Windows," Valve states.

If it comes as any consolation to affected users, you can pin some of the blame on Chrome. Part of the reason why Valve is kicking Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1 to the curb is because the Steam client leverages an embedded version of Chrome. That matters because Google stopped supporting Windows 7 and Windows 8/81. with the release of Chrome version 110 in February of this year.

Steam client.

"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 10 and above," Valve explains.

Looking at the latest market share date by StatCounter, the vast majority of Windows users are running Windows 10 or Windows 11—over 92 percent combined for both OSes. Meanwhile, the cumulative share of Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 is just over 7 percent.

That still amounts to a lot of users, though Steam's most recent hardware and software survey indicates the impact of Valve's decision won't be quite as jarring. Out of the systems the survey pinged in February, less than 2 percent of users are running an affected OS.

We expect to see more of this as time goes on, in terms of dropping support for legacy OSes. Case in point, Epic Games recently stopped supporting Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1 in Fortnite starting with Battle Royale Chapter 4 Season 2.