How long does it usually take for a new operating system to be adopted by the mass-market? That's the question that Microsoft is likely asking itself right now, as reports claim that Windows 8 hasn't been the immediate gaming hit that was initially promised.
The company - and many pundits - had hyped the new operating system release as being key to revitalise the flagging PC market from day one. According to numbers from Valve and US number-crunchers NPD, this hasn't been the case with gamers. 0.44 per cent of Steam users are running the gaming client on Windows 8, although a much more promising 4.25 per cent have the 64-bit version installed.
Valve's numbers came from the latest results of its monthly Steam Hardware and Software Survey
. However you slice it (Mac OS X still has a lower percentage of users than many versions of Windows), it appears that gamers seem content with sticking to Windows 7, a month on from Microsoft's touch-based OS.
According to DigitalTrends
, NPD's numbers point to a contraction of PC game sales in the month of Windows 8's launch too. Sales shrunk by 21 per cent between October 21 and November 17 compared to the same period last year. NPD's Stephen Baker is quoted as saying, ďIt hasnít made the market any worse, but it hasnít stimulated things either. [Windows 8] hasnít provided the impetus to sales everybody hoped for."
The news follows comments from Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer that sales of Windows 8 and Surface were "modest," suggesting that adoption rates hasn't climbed as quickly as the company would have liked.
However, Microsoft does not tend to have a history of high adoption rates following the launch of a brand new operating system. Chalk that down to customer caution at best, and weak customer trust at worst. It will be interesting to see if adoption of Windows 8 follows the footsteps of previous versions and grows to be the dominant OS - or if Gabe Newell's "catastrophe" theory proves to be true.