As support for Windows XP and Vista ended in the last decade, many companies pledged their support for both platforms which still commanded a sizeable market share. Windows XP was still close to 30% of the desktop market as Windows 8 launched six years ago, and Vista has always held around 5% of the desktop market since Windows 7 launched. But slowly, the number of people on these old platforms has been shrinking, whether by force or hardware failure. Valve tightened the noose around Windows XP and Vista further this past week, announcing that the platform support would be finally ended.
Starting from this week and running until 1 January 2019, the Steam client on Windows XP and Vista will no longer see updates and will run in a sort of “limp home” mode to allow for critical functionality to still work. The client will still run and play games, but support for newer features like the revamped Steam Chat, the in-game browser based on Google Chromium, and future DRM schemes will not be enabled.
Instead, Valve urges users on Windows XP and Vista to upgrade off the platform to continue to access their game library and make new purchases. It’s the end of an era for the company, which started developing Steam for Windows 2000 and XP 14 years ago, launching in September 2003. This also marks the last time when Windows Vista might be a useable solution for gaming. Its support cycle ended way back in April 2010, and it recently started to stop receiving updates from antivirus makers and certain browsers.
If you’re on either of these operating systems, it is highly recommended to move to Windows 7. Most hardware from this era is natively supported, will run things pretty well, and extended support ends on 14 January 2020. From there, you can make a decision about which platform you’ll move to next.