Valve has announced that Steam will soon stop ending support on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1.
To be specific, Steam will stop running on these operating systems on January 2024. They explained the reason for this on a blog post on the official blog:
“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.”
So if you weren’t aware of this before, you should know now that Valve’s Steam client uses an embedded version of Google Chrome. While Google Chrome is the most popular web browser today, and definitely one of the fastest if not the fastest, Chrome is also associated with data collection and loss of privacy protections.
It is certainly easy to be complacent in thinking that Valve is doing everything right by their users. But if you had concerns that using Chrome compromised your security, in particular if you individually good reasons to be wary of using the browser, you needed to know this.
As reported by Dexerto, less than 2 % of all Steam users use Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. That does mean only a very small number of Steam users would be affected by this change. But there’s something else going on.
If you lamented the recent closure of the Wii U and 3DS eShops, and also spoke out against Sony closing the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita stores, you should know that this is the same sort of thing Valve is doing now, at a smaller scale.
Now, it may be hard to visualize exactly what games we are talking about here. Let me list a few examples of games that can run on Windows 7:
- Dragon Age: Origins
- Fallout: New Vegas
- Mass Effect 2
- Plants vs Zombies
- Super Meat Boy
Now, many of these games will also run on Windows 10, and Windows 11 now. Many have also received remakes and remasters to update them to modern systems. But this deprecation of support for older systems still has an effect on the preservation of older games, losing the authenticity of that game experience.
But this experience is not unique to PC. The PlayStation 3 store, in spite of staying online, is hardly used to justify its continued existence. The gamers who demanded it stay online may not know, or even cared to check, that many of the games they used to play on it are no longer on the store, or their online features have been removed.
As I had explained when reporting about the Wii U and 3DS eShop stores yesterday, this deprecation of these store platforms is inevitable, for a variety of reasons. But in this case, there will be no such online outrage, because gamers won’t even understand that something was lost.