Windows 11 is within striking distance of Windows 10 for PC gaming dominance

Image of the HP OMEN Transcend 14 gaming laptop.
Gaming PCs like the HP Omen Transcend 14 ship with Windows 11, which is increasingly becoming the operating system of choice among gamers. (Image credit: Windows Central | Zachary Boddy)

What you need to know

  • The latest Steam Hardware & Software Survey states 46.63% of Steam users run Windows 11.
  • That figure marks a 0.63% increase, and the change closes the gap between Windows 11 and Windows 10.
  • Less than half of all Steam users are on Windows 10, following a drop of 0.93% to 49.42%.
  • General users have adopted Windows 11 at a slower rate than gamers, as shown by the fact that just under 30% of PCs run Windows 10, according to Statcounter.

PC gamers continue to adopt Windows 11 at a higher rate than general users. The latest Steam Hardware & Software Survey from June 2024 shows 46.63% of Steam users are on Windows 11. That figure follows a 0.55% growth for the operating system and shows a continuing trend of the newer version of Windows closing the gap on Windows 10 (49.42%).

Windows 10's drop of 0.93% brings the operating system under 50%, meaning less than half of Steam gamers are on the OS. If current trends continue, Windows 11 will surpass Windows 10 in usage among Steam gamers in a few months.

When it comes to total market share, Windows 11 has struggled to compete with Windows 10. Despite Windows 11 being available for almost four years and Windows 10 marching toward its end of support in October 2025, the former still only has a 29.7% market share, according to recent figures by Statcounter. Our Kevin Okemwa broke down the various factors into the sluggish growth of Windows 11 recently.

READ MORE: Microsoft reveals subscription pricing for using Windows 10 beyond 2025

While Windows 11 still lags behind Windows 10 among gamers, the gap is much smaller than the one seen among general users. Gamers are quicker to adopt Windows 11 than non-gamers and we've seen Windows 11 inch closer to its predecessor at a steady rate. 45.15% of Steam users ran Windows 11 in April 2024. The newer OS now has a 46.63% market share, according to the June Steam Hardware & Software Survey.

Very few operating systems other than Windows 11 saw growth among Steam users in June 2024. A few versions of Windows and one version of Linux saw a rise of less than 0.1%. The only other OS that saw significant growth in that month was macOS 14.5.064, which went up 0.49%. There's a good chance the change among macOS gamers was almost entirely from people already on a different macOS version, as evidenced by the fact that macOS went down 0.47% in the same timeframe. Windows still only competes with itself when it comes to Steam usage.

Why gamers use Windows 11

Dell XPS 15 running Windows 10

While Windows 10 continues to dominate market share measurements among general users, it is now used by less than half of Steam users. (Image credit: Future)

Microsoft's struggles to get people to switch to Windows 11 are well documented. The operating system's strict minimum requirements cut many off from upgrading unless they purchase new hardware. Design flaws, performance issues, and the increasing inclusion of ads have also kept some away. Despite those factors, PC gamers still use Windows 11 at a higher rate than general users of Windows 11.

Generally, PC gamers want to get the most out of the best PC games. Doing so often requires newer hardware and the latest software. The best gaming laptops and best prebuilt PCs are going to be new systems in almost all cases, and those devices ship with Windows 11, not Windows 10. It's been quite a while since a brand-new gaming PC shipped with Windows 10 rather than Windows 11. Even PCs considered "old" in 2024 probably shipped with Windows 11.

With Windows 10's end of support cutoff looming and more people buying new hardware, it seems likely Windows 11 will become the dominant operating system among Steam users before the end of the year.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at

  • The Werewolf
    Despite those factors, PC gamers still use Windows 11 at a higher rate than Windows 10.

    What exactly does "use at a higher rate" mean here? By your own numbers, Win 10 is still around 49.4% while Win 11 is at 46.6%. Also since Win 11 is still only 30% of the market, there clearly is some other factor causing this than just 'preference' (ie: new machine turnover causing Win 11 installs to increase).

    As well, kinda have to explain the notion of "statistical error" and "sampling error" here. A change of 0.5% over one month falls well within statistical error, especially given how these use statistics are collected. A more meaningful analysis would have been to show Win 10 and Win 11 use rates over time on a graph and see what the trend lines look like.

    Win 11 will increase if for no other reason than "people buy upgrades to their hardware and new hardware" - that was kind of one of the reasons for the hardware restrictions (and now the attempt to switch to ARM) - to get people buying new hardware, but that doesn't mean people are happy about it.
  • NoLifeDGenerate
    Never plan to run either. Been running linux for 10+years. Win7 before that. I never liked the stranglehold MS had on PC gaming with DirectX and using DirectX to force people into new versions of Windows.