Steam's opt-in hardware survey has been providing valuable data to the gaming industry for several years now, for gamers looking to upgrade their systems, game designers striving to target their customer base, and PC manufacturers anticipating gaming system adoption rates and trends. However so far it's been limited to just hardware components, which everyone knows is just one part of a gaming system.
So in today's Steam Client Beta release we're extending the survey to include installed software - Any programs listed within Windows' Programs and Features control panel (OS X coming soon) are reported alongside the hardware information Steam collects and reports online.
The new software component of our survey helps us understand what else our customers are using their PCs to do, and as a result, what features we can deliver or leverage to make Steam and our games better. PC users, developers and manufacturers will no doubt also find this information useful, so we plan to publish these results and trends over time. The first set of software survey results will be published among Steam stats at the end of the month.
As always, this survey is both optional and anonymous, with none of the collected data being associated with your Steam account. Survey selection is random; you'll know you're part of the Survey because Steam will ask if you want to take part.