Valve on Saturday updated its Hardware & Software Survey for January 2013, and the news is very good for everyone except Apple. Both Microsoft and Canonical have reason to celebrate over Steam usage for the start of this year.

Here is how things looked like for January 2013 on Steam, in order of biggest to smallest share:

  • Windows 7: 69.73 percent
  • Windows XP: 10.05 percent
  • Windows 8: 8.76 percent
  • Windows Vista: 6.02 percent
  • OS X: 3.56 percent
  • Ubuntu: 1.12 percent

Breaking down the numbers even more, here is how each operating system version fared:

steam january 2013 Windows 7 drops below 70% adoption on Steam, while Windows 8 passes Windows Vista and Ubuntu grabs 1%

Once again, Windows 8 was the only version of Microsoft’s desktop operating system to gain share, as gamers are moving up and ditching Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP for the latest and greatest. This is excellent news for the company as the gaming market can be very picky: if performance isn’t top notch, the operating system is shunned.

Two months ago, Windows 8 passed OS X on Steam. Now, Windows 8 is already in third place, finally passing Windows Vista after three months of availability.

Windows 8 was up 1.83 percentage points between December and January. Meanwhile, Windows 7 was down 0.74 percentage points (finally dropping below the 70 percent mark), Windows Vista fell 0.94 percentage points, and Windows XP dipped 0.39 percentage points.

Microsoft aside, OS X was down 0.16 percentage points. January was the first full month of availability for the public beta of the Ubuntu client, and it crossed the 1 percent mark, jumping 0.32 percentage points.

Going forward, we expect Windows 8 to continue growing, passing Windows XP next (as soon as February or March). That being said, Windows 7 will still likely be the king on Steam throughout all of 2013, at the very least.

At the same time, it’s unlikely that OS X and Ubuntu will switch places, but it’s certainly a possibility. Remember: after the Steam Linux beta kicked off small in late October, Valve opened up the flood gates in late December with a public beta. That means there could still be huge growth once a final stable build of the client is released.

Image credit: Timo Balk