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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Windows 11 gamers will be glad to see the back of this nasty BSoD bug

Microsoft is slowly making progress fixing Blue Screen of Death (BSoD) errors, with another one that could have caused gamers to suffer having been cured in Windows 11.

This fix arrives with the latest preview update for March (KB5011563), meaning it’s still in testing, but the changes will come through in April’s release version of the patch (assuming all goes well with that testing, of course).

As spotted by Hot Hardware, the patch notes state that KB5011563 “addresses a stop error (0xD1, DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL) in the DirectX kernel component.”

A stop error is a BSoD, meaning it completely halts the PC in its tracks, and is a crash that requires a reboot to recover. As the message states, the problem pertains to DirectX – and some kind of driver issue, although it’s expectedly vague as to what might have actually gone wrong – and hence this could be an error that crops up when you’re playing games in Windows 11 (or trying to).

Patch KB5011563 fixes a bunch of other bugs, as well as adding something into the mix for Windows 11, namely the ability to display multiple high-priority toast notifications simultaneously – up to three of them, in fact.


Analysis: Windows bugs can still trigger the blues

Thankfully in modern times, Windows sees a lot fewer BSoD errors, but there are clearly some still floating around – we witnessed a BSoD bring one of our PCs to a crashing halt as recently as last month (albeit that was Windows 10).

Another BSoD being squashed is obviously good news, though as noted, Windows 11 users won’t actually get this fix until next month, as part of the monthly cumulative update for April. That said, KB5011563 is available to grab right now as an optional update if you search for it manually (in Windows Update), but as with anything that’s in testing, installing it could have unwanted side-effects.

You may recall that Microsoft was going to change the color of these crash screens from blue to black last year, but decided against that move later in 2021, so BSoDs will remain blue going forward. But with any luck, they’ll fade more and more into the background as Microsoft fixes errors like this one.

Via PC Gamer

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Windows 11 gamers will be glad to see the back of this nasty BSoD bug

Microsoft is slowly making progress fixing Blue Screen of Death (BSoD) errors, with another one that could have caused gamers to suffer having been cured in Windows 11.

This fix arrives with the latest preview update for March (KB5011563), meaning it’s still in testing, but the changes will come through in April’s release version of the patch (assuming all goes well with that testing, of course).

As spotted by Hot Hardware, the patch notes state that KB5011563 “addresses a stop error (0xD1, DRIVER_IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL) in the DirectX kernel component.”

A stop error is a BSoD, meaning it completely halts the PC in its tracks, and is a crash that requires a reboot to recover. As the message states, the problem pertains to DirectX – and some kind of driver issue, although it’s expectedly vague as to what might have actually gone wrong – and hence this could be an error that crops up when you’re playing games in Windows 11 (or trying to).

Patch KB5011563 fixes a bunch of other bugs, as well as adding something into the mix for Windows 11, namely the ability to display multiple high-priority toast notifications simultaneously – up to three of them, in fact.


Analysis: Windows bugs can still trigger the blues

Thankfully in modern times, Windows sees a lot fewer BSoD errors, but there are clearly some still floating around – we witnessed a BSoD bring one of our PCs to a crashing halt as recently as last month (albeit that was Windows 10).

Another BSoD being squashed is obviously good news, though as noted, Windows 11 users won’t actually get this fix until next month, as part of the monthly cumulative update for April. That said, KB5011563 is available to grab right now as an optional update if you search for it manually (in Windows Update), but as with anything that’s in testing, installing it could have unwanted side-effects.

You may recall that Microsoft was going to change the color of these crash screens from blue to black last year, but decided against that move later in 2021, so BSoDs will remain blue going forward. But with any luck, they’ll fade more and more into the background as Microsoft fixes errors like this one.

Via PC Gamer

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Windows 11 is more popular with gamers, but there’s bad news for Intel in Steam survey

Windows 11 is gaining some decent momentum with gamers, at least going by the latest stats from Steam, although Intel has slipped slightly compared to last month’s Steam survey.

The hardware and software survey for January 2022 showed that Windows 11 is now used in 13.56% of the gaming rigs evaluated for this report, which is up quite strongly on December’s figure of 10.15%.

That’s good news for Microsoft, of course, but the survey produced somewhat disappointing results for Intel on the hardware front.

In December’s stats, Intel actually witnessed an increase in its processor market share among Steam gamers to the tune of 0.82%, with Team Blue securing 69.27% in total.

That looked significant given how dominant rival AMD Ryzen processors have been in recent times, stealing a lot of turf from Intel in the desktop PC world – but the upward movement has ebbed for Team Blue, as it dropped slightly to 69.02% in January 2022, albeit that only represents the loss of a quarter of a percentage point.


Analysis: Nothing too worrying for Intel, and serious momentum building for Microsoft

With the Intel figures, while the chip giant might be slightly disappointed that growth hasn’t continued – and that new Alder Lake CPUs aren’t sparking a continued upswing – it’s not a huge surprise.

This is only a very slight loss for Intel, after all, and in recent times, the figures for Team Blue have been rather up and down anyway (even before Alder Lake came out, we saw some decent upticks with Rocket Lake). Really, this is a pretty minimal downward dip, and could be put down to the typical margin of error that Valve’s survey is doubtless working with.

Windows 11’s progress is a more clearly defined growth spurt, and with an increase of 3.41% for January 2022, that’s almost double the gain Windows 11 witnessed from November to December (1.87%).

In short, there’s a clear suggestion that more and more gamers are making the move to Microsoft’s newest OS, despite the early bugs which we’ve written multiple reports about (mind you, some of these are now fixed up, and it’s not like Windows 10 doesn’t have bugs either).

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How does Norton 360 for Gamers protect your device?

Norton 360 for Gamers is a version of the Norton 360 security suite which is specifically aimed at you guessed it – gamers!

But if all you're doing is playing games in the comfort of your own home, why should you need an antivirus tool? In this article, we break down in detail exactly how Norton 360 for Gamers helps to protect your PC, and what additional defenses are present for gamers in particular.

Core antivirus protection

Norton 360 for Gamers gives you the same core defenses against malware as the vanilla Norton 360 internet security suite. To be precise, you receive everything that subscribers to Norton 360 Deluxe get, plus the gaming extras we’ll come onto in the next section.

That includes real-time protection to keep malware off your PC, on-demand scans, heuristics to detect freshly released threats, and dedicated anti-ransomware tech. As we found in our full Norton antivirus review, these combine to provide a very solid level of core protection.

Norton 360 for Gamers

(Image credit: NortonLifeLock)

Norton puts its antivirus money where its mouth is, with the firm’s ‘virus protection promise’ that gives the customer their money back if a device is hit by malware which Norton’s experts can’t remove.

Further protection is provided by some high-quality URL filtering to keep your web browsing safer, and Norton also implements an intelligent firewall. The latter is a very informative firewall that can help you make decisions on untrusted programs which are trying to use your internet connection – this is a pleasingly fresh and useful approach to firewall execution.

Extras, extras…

Those are the main defenses, then, but Norton 360 for Gamers also delivers the security suite extras found in Norton 360 Deluxe. That includes a backup facility with 50GB of cloud storage space, which could come in very handy if things go awry (always back up your important files, no matter how confident you are in the security of your PC). There’s also a password manager and webcam protection.

Another nifty feature is a built-in VPN, which is far from standard with security suites. To be precise, this is Norton Secure VPN and while it might be a relatively basic VPN service, it’s solid enough and a great bundled inclusion adding to the value proposition here.

Using a VPN for gaming helps to protect your privacy and anonymity online, with other benefits such as geo-blocking. That enables you to, say, stream content you wouldn’t otherwise be able to access. A VPN can also help you avoid the likes of DDoS attacks, which can be aimed at you to bog down your internet connection and ruin an online gaming session.

DDoS attack alert showing on a screen

(Image credit: FrameStockFootages / Shutterstock)

Dark Web Monitoring keeps an eye out for any of your personal details or data being involved in a data breach, because the knowledge that something has been spilled online can enable you to react quickly and keep your accounts secure.

Finally, those with children will appreciate the parental control system. This is a seriously good package to protect kids when they’re online, with all manner of content filtering and the ability to set time limits on device usage, as well as thorough location tracking facilities to keep tabs on your offspring not just online, but in the real world via GPS too.

Gaming goodies

On top of all the above, Norton 360 for Gamers offers a number of extras targeted specifically at those who enjoy PC gaming. We’ve already touched on the Dark Web Monitoring feature, which with the gaming suite is extended to also cover gamer tags and accounts, helping to keep these safe from exploits by nefarious types who may come across your leaked details.

Gamers running Windows also get the benefit of fewer notifications from Norton, with the suite able to detect when you’re running full-screen apps like games, only interrupting you if something critical happens like your PC being actively under attack.

The biggest gaming-related feature though, is the Game Optimizer. This allows Norton 360 for Gamers to intelligently allocate CPU resources to the game you’re playing in Windows to get better performance.

The caveat is that it doesn’t work with every game, but supports titles run via the Epic Games Store and Steam, plus game launchers from Bethesda, Blizzard, EA (Origin), Rockstar, and Ubisoft (Uplay). And bear in mind that you’ll need a quad-core CPU to use this feature, but most gamers these days will have one of those in their gaming PC.

Norton 360 for Gamers

(Image credit: NortonLifeLock)

How does Norton 360 for Gamers protect your device?

As we’ve seen, Norton 360 for Gamers delivers a whole raft of protection. From its core anti-malware measures (and specialized ransomware and web protection), through to security features like an intelligent firewall and integrated VPN.

That VPN can help defend against the likes of DDoS attacks aimed at gamers (or even the terrible practice of ‘swatting’, which is trying to call in a SWAT team or similar tactical response unit on false pretences), and the Dark Web Monitoring is a great extra to keep all your gaming accounts more secure.

Overall, Norton 360 for Gamers provides a commendable level of all-round protection and some nifty gaming-related extras for Windows users, particularly as Norton claims that its optimization feature can help some games run faster.

It’s well worth considering as a security package for those keen on gaming, with the main compromise compared to Norton 360 Deluxe being that Norton 360 for Gamers only supports three devices, rather than five. Both offerings are pitched at around the same price typically, and at the time of writing, Norton 360 for Gamers is a touch cheaper.

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