The Steam platform collects data about the type of computer hardware customers are using, which is then used to make programming decisions. For example, over 80% of Steam gamers are using multi-core systems, with almost 24% using quad-cores. This means that there is a large user base who would be able to take advantage of multi-threaded gaming. Since most games take 2-3 years to develop, spotting a trend early on can set developers on the right path early on, rather than having to patch it later.
One of the biggest questions surrounding the Windows 7 launch would be whether gamers would adopt the new operating system, or stick with the tried and true Windows XP. The latest Steam hardware survey for December shows that almost a quarter of Steam's user base has already adopted Microsoft's latest OS, and has been abandoning the 32-bit Windows XP for 64-bit versions of Windows 7.
The success of DirectX 11 has been tied into the Windows 7 OS, but DX11 can also be installed on computers running Windows Vista. Over 50% of Steam users are capable of supporting DX11 on the software side through Windows 7 or Vista, but unfortunately Steam isn't keeping track of DX11 video cards yet. Over two million DX11 GPUs have been sold by ATI so far, and game developers have been taking note. There are currently over three dozen DX11 titles that are in development or have been announced.