Windows 11 looks like a flop with gamers compared to Windows 10

Windows 11 is not proving all that popular with gamers if you go by the stats pulled from the most recent Steam hardware survey.

Obviously, this is just a limited snapshot of the gaming community who use Valve’s platform, but Steam is a major presence in the gaming world, of course, and the survey for March shows a rather paltry uptick of 1.25% compared to the previous month.

In February, Windows 11 adoption among Steam gamers was 15.59%, so it has now risen to 16.84%. It seems like a real slowdown is setting in when it comes to the number of Windows gamers who are making the transition to Microsoft’s latest desktop OS, as we can see looking back to January of this year, and December 2021.

In January, Windows 11 gamers stood at 13.56%, and that was up 3.41% compared to the previous month – a major gain. But since then, we’ve seen more modest increases of 2.03%, now slowing to 1.25%.

Windows 10 still holds a 74.69% share of Steam gamers, with Windows 7 on 4.14%, and away from Microsoft, macOS has a 2.43% adoption, while Linux slipped just a touch to bang-on 1%.

Analysis: Slow burn adoption could well pick up in the future, though

While we have to take Steam’s figures with a pinch of salt as mentioned – or any such individual report like this, which obviously has a limited capability to inform on the entire PC market – Microsoft is likely going to be disappointed with these most recent figures.

Mainly because as mentioned, when 2022 kicked off, it looked like Windows 11 was starting to gain some serious momentum with gamers, but those larger strides forward appear to have morphed into smaller steps.

Most worryingly, the overall progress of Windows 11 adoption for gamers remains way, way behind what we witnessed for Windows 10. As PC Gamer, which highlighted the release of the latest Steam survey, points out, seven months after release – which is where we are with Windows 11 now – Windows 10 hit a tally of 36.97% of Steam PCs. So that’s more than double Windows 11’s current 16.84% market share on Steam.

Let’s be frank – that’s not really a great advert for how adeptly Windows 11 is managing to tempt the gaming fraternity. That said, with Windows 11 being less of a major upgrade – and more of a case of building on and refining Windows 10 – it’s not too surprising that more folks are taking a wait-and-see approach.

As far as gamers go, there’ll certainly be some seriously compelling reasons to consider a switch eventually, when gaming-focused tech like DirectStorage is supported by more games in the future. (While DirectStorage will be available for Windows 10 users as well, it’ll have much more impact thanks to the storage optimizations found in Windows 11 – and the tech will be about much more than just speeding up load times, too).

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Rise in zero-day exploitations in 2019 in Middle East compared to three years ago

Cybersecurity firm FireEye has seen as an increase in zero-day exploitations in 2019 than the previous three years in the Middle East.

Speaking to TechRadar Middle East, Alister Shepherd, Director for Middle East and Africa at Mandiant, a unit of FireEye, said that there are more private security companies investing a large amount of money, apart from governments such as state-sponsored actors, to develop offensive cyber capabilities and services to make additional income.

As a wider range of actors appears to have gained access to these capabilities, he said that there is going to be a greater variety of actors using zero-days, especially as private vendors continue feeding the demand for offensive cyber weapons.

“Unsophisticated threat actors have been able to buy malicious tools from the dark web for some time – you can buy access to a network and then buy the ransomware, and you just take the risk to deploy it.  We’re now seeing this being mirrored at a higher level, as Governments who have not developed their own capability, or who wish to extend their capability, can now buy off the shelf with sophisticated capabilities,” he said.

According to industry reports, espionage groups such as Stealth Falcon and FruityArmor have targeted journalists and activists in the Middle East, between 2016 and 2019, by buying malware sold by NSO, an Israeli software company, which leveraged three iOS zero-days.

Becoming increasingly commoditised

Shepherd said that SandCat, suspected to have links with Uzbekistan state intelligence, has been using zero-days in operations against targets in the Middle East.

BlackOasis, which could have acquired zero-day from private company Gamma Group, has demonstrated similarly frequent access to zero-day vulnerabilities in the Middle East.

“We believe that some of the most dangerous state-sponsored intrusion sets are increasingly demonstrating the ability to quickly exploit vulnerabilities that have been made public. In multiple cases, groups linked to these countries have been able to weaponise vulnerabilities and incorporate them into their operations, aiming to take advantage of the window between disclosures and patch application,” he said.

Even though financially-motivated groups continue to leverage zero-days in their operations, he said that they are less frequent than state-sponsored groups.

“Countries with the strongest capabilities are Russia, China, North Korea, the US, Iran and Israel, apart from other countries. We typically see Russia and China deploying these tools most broadly,” he said.

Moreover, he said that access to zero-day capabilities is becoming increasingly commodified and state groups will continue to support internal exploit discovery and development.

However, he said that buying zero-days from private companies may offer a more attractive option than relying on domestic solutions or underground markets.

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