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Hundreds of Thousands of Windows XP Users Won't Be Able to Use Steam Soon

Valve is kicking the operating system off its service starting January 2019. Upgrade or GTFO.

Matthew Gault

Matthew Gault

Windows XP and Vista users have six months to upgrade their operating systems or get the hell off of Steam.

“Steam will officially stop supporting the Windows XP and Windows Vista operating systems,” Valve, the company that operates Steam, said in a post to its XP and Vista support community. “This means that after that date the Steam Client will no longer run on those versions of Windows. In order to continue running Steam and any games or other products purchased through Steam, users will need to update to a more recent version of Windows.”

Windows XP users are a tiny fraction of Steam's overall user base, only 0.22 percent according to Valve's own tracking. However, 0.22 percent out of a total of 125 million Steam users, is roughly 275,000 users who will no longer have access to Counter-Strike unless they upgrade. That's a lot of potentially annoyed customers.

Those quarter millions users will have to upgrade or leave. According to Valve, the new features its rolling out on Steam—including its nifty new Discord-style chat system—use an embedded version of Chrome that the older versions of Windows can’t support. “In addition, future versions of Steam will require Windows feature and security updates only present in Windows 7 and above,” Valve said.

That’s what this is really about. Security. Look. Windows XP was great. We all loved Windows XP, but it came out in 2001 and Microsoft stopped supporting it in 2014. Microsoft has been a victim of its own success. XP is was so popular that millions of users, some of them in government and business, have clung to the operating system despite its increasing security issues. Microsoft even released an emergency security patch in 2017 in response to the WannaCry malware.

To those 275,000 I say upgrade or lose the ability to AWP noobs in Counter-Strike 1.6.