The Steam Review

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Windows 98/ME support ending this July

Minimum requirements increased :: March 1st, 2007 :: Steam updates :: 80 Responses (Feed)

Strings for two new system requirements were added to steamui_english.txt in Monday’s platform update. One warns that unspecified games will “within the next few months” no longer be able to run on CPUs without SSE (presumably relating to Source’s multithreading), and the other regards Steam itself:

Support for Steam on Windows 98 and Windows ME operating systems will end on June 30th 2007. This means you will no longer be able to run Steam.

In order to continue running Steam on this computer, you must upgrade to a newer version of Microsoft Windows.

An automatic update increasing the requirements of a game (let alone the platform itself!) was one of the first fears to develop when Steam was released to the public. While it’s true that according to the Valve Hardware Survey only 1 631 or 0.14% of all Steam users still have Windows 98 (Windows ME isn’t listed), those one thousand and six hundred people, a few of whom are complaining on the forums, will shortly have their currently perfectly functional software rendered useless unless and until they upgrade their systems.

Single-player gamers with pre-Steam boxes will be able to continue running their Half-Life 1-era titles, albeit with very outdated builds, or try to remember never to start Steam while online. Online players and everyone who bought the game in stores after its Steam re-launch, or on Steam itself, will have no realistic choice but to buy a new operating system.

While a more significant 11 876 or 1.03% users don’t have SSE, it isn’t unreasonable to assume that most of them will be playing Half-Life 1-based games on very old systems — SSE being a standard feature in all even vaguely modern processors.

Of wider interest is what could be happening on 30 June to actively exclude older operating systems. Vista support comes to mind: Microsoft’s recent code libraries have many features unsupported by pre-NT versions of Windows. A new authentication system is another possibility, although relying on OS components would almost certainly break Steam’s long-maintained — and in this age of rootkits and hardware layers thoroughly commendable — OS-independence.


80 Responses to this post:

52 Comments

  1. Tom Edwards Says:

    It wouldn’t work. 98 isn’t supported because it doesn’t have the right software, not simply because. 🙂

  2. strider Says:

    its well tight. i have a vista laptop but i cant use it unkless i have my parents permission. so when theyr not home all i have is this stinkin win 98 comp. it used to be win 2000 but it got virus and had to reboots to win98. this sucks steam

  3. dylan Says:

    my computer is a windows me and is up to date and runs very fast and has a great graphic card how can i play wit windows me?

  4. Tom Edwards Says:

    You just can’t. Treat yourself and get Vista.

  5. Dave Says:

    Some people just don’t have the money, or don’t want Vista. I for one, un-installed it on my new computer to put 2000 on it. If they stop supporting 2000, then Steam can go KISS MY ASS. I always thought it was a conspiracy Valve and Microsoft put together.

  6. Andy Simpson Says:

    It isn’t a conspiracy. 98/ME is just old technology. It was replaced, for lots of really good reasons, by the NT line, of which 2000, XP, and Vista, are the descendants.

    The sooner the 9x line of operating systems die a miserable death, the better.

    What’s wrong with Vista, if you don’t mind me asking?

  7. Dave Says:

    Lets see…

    With my “rig” (Intel Pentium 4 3.0GHz 2GB ram) and perhaps anyones which os would run faster? XP or Vista? For the most performance from my hardware I would use the older and more well supported OS. Oh and take a look at the price tag on Vista.

  8. Tom Edwards Says:

    Steam will still run on XP.

  9. ollie Says:

    i think their just going to keep on upgrading steam to higher and more advanced computers every 1, 2 or 3 years. which will decrease the selling production of all steam clients to original users. but maintain a selling rate if computers don’t go selling £2000 ($4000) plus, which is most likely to happen with new software and updates being created every day!

  10. Duarte Freitas Says:

    My other computer is too old to run windows xp but it works fine on windows Me, its ok if they stop suporting windows 95/98/me…but they should had released a patch or something like that, to let ppl like me still be able play CS online on older OS. Something like play Steam Games on Windows 9x on your own risk…:)
    I called Steam plenty names after i put an old pc runing and can’t play on it…:/
    But I still love Steam, play and use it on Windows XP (new PC) but, i could be playing right now on this old pc that is at my worksatition. It’s a shame 😡
    Btw i think there is someone in this world that can make steam run on windows Me again, but maybe that person, with that kind of knowleged doesn’t know that some cs lovers can’t play cs on old OS that worked fine in the past.

    Thanks!
    p.s. sorry for my english, probably there’s some bad typing =)

  11. Valve is a Souless Says:

    I read a comment one of the administrators made, “Treat yourself to visa” he says.

    That is quite the treat indeed, more errors to deal with, little to no support from the help functions they program into it, more succeptable to viruses and spyware and a whopping price to top it all off

    Windows 98 was made before corperations started pulling shady moves like what steam is doing right now, therefore it is the most reliable system they got.

    Regardless of any legal “rights” they have to pull the support of windows 98, morally, we small majority of 98 users deserve respect to play the games we purchased from this company.

  12. JFF Says:

    win 98 has small problems fixed with freeware

    put win 98 in a fast machine it runs 2x faster than
    vista in same machine way less overhead

    i have tfc non steam and i play bots

    steam is pushing its players away

    consider me pushed away

  13. The Revolution Says:

    I say bollocks to these new policies. Although we may be a very minute minority, we still should be able to play steam at our leisure without having to worry about being cast away like a used up blow-up doll because of our technological “inferiority”. If our old operating systems work fine, then why not be able to use them? Why would we have to buy a new operating system just because ours are a little out of date. Obviously we still use those systems for a reason whether it be we can’t afford them (mostly because the majority of this minority are teenagers with no money) or that we prefer ours over others.

    Our numbers may be small (a little over 13,000 not including windows ME users of which I am one) compared to the rest of steam users, but if we confront the administrators of this problem with an overwhelming number of those affected by this travesty, then we may be able to sway them to reverse this new policy. So I say all of you out-dated users, let us rise up to these tyrants and show them that we will not be shunned.

  14. The Revolution Says:

    O yea, and piss off Tom Edwards ya prick

  15. Tom Edwards Says:

    Thanks for commenting!

  16. The Revolution Says:

    O my pleasure you pompous twit

  17. Dave Says:

    When are they gonna stop support for 2000? I gotta know so I can get a 360 by then.

  18. Tom Edwards Says:

    Win2000 uses the same NT codebase as WinXP, so support will probably drop for both at the same time. Given that 67% of Steam users run XP I’d say they’ll be around for some time.

  19. Yushatak Says:

    I’m still pissed off about this.

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