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?

Via VG 24/7

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7 Comments on Gabe Newell: “Windows 8 Is A Catastrophe” For PC Games

Admiral Adama

On July 25, 2012 at 6:02 pm

I think most people seemed to expect this. For the last 15 years, Windows alternates between awesome and terrible releases.

Windows 98 – Great
Windows 2000/ME – Terrible
Windows XP – Kick ass
Windows Vista – Freakish hellscape
Windows 7 – Godlike OS
Windows 8 – I’m going to go with pile of elephant dung

Bring on Windows 9!


On July 25, 2012 at 6:51 pm

I hope they gonna fix all before launch,its beta so don’t expect much…
need to fix..
start button mod(off/on),all previous windows full integration so gamers can run all games(windows 7 is great for it),that is enough for me :)


On July 25, 2012 at 7:13 pm

I started using Windows 8 Release Preview 64-bit (on my Desktop rig) about a month ago. For Gaming, I don’t have any complaints (so far) and everything looks/sounds/plays great-better than Windows 7 (IMHO). For non-Gaming use, I’m still messing around with the different features and changes. I do miss the Start button and a few other things. I don’t know if I agree with the statement Windows 8 was designed “exclusively” for Tablets but it does lean in that direction. I want to see and use the finished Windows 8 before I say it sucks or not. Again, just MHO.

Ross Lincoln

On July 25, 2012 at 7:28 pm

So Adama, what you’re saying is that Windows is like Star Trek. Every other movie is good.


On July 25, 2012 at 8:01 pm

I’m not surprised that Newell doesn’t like it. Everything I’ve heard has been unimpressive, at best. I have no interest in tablets, and it does sound like 8 is primarily concerned with just giving MS an ipad competitor, so I’m having trouble seeing why I should care about it. Maybe I’ll be wrong, but 7 has been solid for me, so I’m in no hurry to upgrade.


On July 26, 2012 at 12:14 am

Hey Gabe, I bet the idea of a Steambox is starting to look way more appealing now, right? *nudge nudge wink wink*


On July 26, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Its good to see that the stench of a “phonified” Windows is starting to reach even the lofty heights of Valve’s leadership. Its also nice to see that Mr. Lincoln is one of the few in the tech press who actually gets what Gabe is trying to do. He’s basically threatening Microsoft with putting the full weight of his gaming library behind another platform. Could he accomplish this? Yes, I think so, although the investment would be large and the hurdles many. But just consider for a moment a Valve-approved Linux distro. Does anyone think that couldn’t become a real threat to Windows in short order if it was done well? Are there really that many Microsoft fanboys who wouldn’t jump ship if another platform offered the same speed and reliability, all the same games and better customization ability – and for free or cheaper? Think about all those system builders paying the Windows tax. The potential for a huge disruption is significant here. I’ll tell you something else..if I was Apple I would be looking real seriously at teaming with Valve to beef up the Mac’s gaming capabilities before a critical mass forms around a Linux gaming platform. There’s little question that Windows 8 is going to be the biggest failure since Windows ME. The only real uncertainty is what, if anything, Microsoft will learn from their mistakes this time around.