Gabe Newell: “Windows 8 Is A Catastrophe” For PC Games
I haven’t upgraded to Windows 8. And the more I hear about it, the more I probably won’t do so, since it’s starting to feel like Vista in terms of the hate aimed at it. And it seems the people I know who hate it have prestigious company, as they’re now joined by none other than Billionaire Gabe Newell.
Newell made an appearance this week at Casual Connect in Seattle. During that appearance, he spoke at length about digital distribution, the future of games, and so on, but it’s his comments on Windows 8 that have tongues wagging and mouths saying OHNOYOUDIDNT. During a brief discussion of Valve’s recent decision to bring Linux to Steam, he said publicly what everyone I know who’ve used it have said privately, that Windows 8 sucks.
The big problem that is holding back Linux is games. People don’t realize how critical games are in driving consumer purchasing behavior.
“We want to make it as easy as possible for the 2,500 games on Steam to run on Linux as well. It’s a hedging strategy,” he said. “I think Windows 8 is a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space. I think we’ll lose some of the top-tier PC/OEMs, who will exit the market. I think margins will be destroyed for a bunch of people. If that’s true, then it will be good to have alternatives to hedge against that eventuality.”
Newell didn’t elaborate on why, precisely, he believes Windows 8 will be so bad for PC games, however it would almost certainly have something to do with the fact that Windows 8 was designed with tablets in mind, specifically. That conclusion seems supported by comments he made about closed versus open platforms during the same event.
In order for innovation to happen, a bunch of things that aren’t happening on closed platforms need to occur,” said Newell. “Valve wouldn’t exist today without the PC, or Epic, or Zynga, or Google. They all wouldn’t have existed without the openness of the platform. There’s a strong tempation to close the platform, because they look at what they can accomplish when they limit the competitors’ access to the platform, and they say ‘That’s really exciting.’
“We are looking at the platform and saying, ‘We’ve been a free rider, and we’ve been able to benefit from everything that went into PCs and the Internet, and we have to continue to figure out how there will be open platforms.”
What do you think, Game Fronters? Windows 8 sucks, or not?