Business, Economics and Jobs

Windows 8: A coming catastrophe?


Visitors watch a presentaiton of fetaures of the new Windows 8 operating system at the Microsoft stand on the first day of the CeBIT 2012 technology trade fair on March 6, 2012 in Hanover, Germany. CeBIT 2012, the world's largest information technology trade fair, will run from March 6-10, and advances in cloud computing and security are major features this year.


Sean Gallup

Windows 8 will herald a catastrophe, according to Valve Software CEO Gabe Newell.

Newell is considered a hero among PC Gamers with Valve titles like Half-Life and Portal heralded as works of genius.

“I think that Windows 8 is kind of a catastrophe for everybody in the PC space. I think that we’re going to lose some of the top-tier PC [original equipment manufacturers]. They’ll exit the market. I think margins will be destroyed for a bunch of people,” Newell told VentureBeat at the Casual Connect video game conference in Seattle this week.

Newell's, however, is not an unbiased third party with the new Windows Stores possibly looking to compete with Steam, Valve's digital distribution and communications platform for gaming.

While discussing the frontiers of the gaming industry, the Valve boss criticized Windows 8 and offered up Linux as a possible alternative. 

“…we’re trying to make sure that Linux thrives. Our perception is that one of the big problems holding Linux back is the absence of games. ” Newell said. “…we’re going to continue working with the Linux distribution guys, shipping Steam, shipping our games, and making it as easy as possible for anybody who’s engaged with us — putting their games on Steam and getting those running on Linux, as well. It’s a hedging strategy,” he added.

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Valve is working on bringing more games to Linux, including zombie shooter Left 2 Dead 2 and several other titles on Steam.

Newell’s unfavorable opinion of Windows 8 comes as no surprise to individuals that follow Valve closely – and among PC gamers, there are many that hold Valve in the highest regard. Last April, Tech news outlet Phoronix visited the Valve studios to report on the company’s attempts to begin porting games, and the Steam client, to the Linux operating system. During the visit, Phoronix noted Newell’s distaste for the latest Windows operating system.

“[Newell’s] level of Linux interest and commitment was incredible while his negativity for Windows 8 and the future of Microsoft was stunning,” read the report.

Newell’s opinion of Windows 8 may have to do with the built in Windows Stores accompanying the OS. Valve secures a great deal of revenue from commissions it earns when games are sold on the Steam platform. The Windows Store could become a competitor to Steam, especially considering that Xbox LIVE will be integrated into the store, an already incredibly popular platform on which Xbox console gamers buy and play games. 

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The vast majority of Steam customers are Windows users. Should the Windows Store assert itself as an alternative to Steam, Valve may lose a considerable market share. However, PC gamers hold Steam quite dear. Just days ago, Steam ended its beloved summer sale. During the sale, popular titles are sold for prices so low that many gamers simply can’t resist buying up all the games they’ve yet to play, sometimes for a little as $1. Should the Windows Store hope to wrestle PC gamers away from Steam, Microsoft will have to do the impossible. 

The disciples of Newell are both large in number and incredibly vocal on the internet, sometimes comparing the Valve CEO to Jesus Christ or Gandhi. Newell often personally responds to fan emails and meets with fans face to face that visit the Valve headquarters in Bellevue, WA. 

As Newell denounces Windows 8, legions of loyal fans across the internet will join him.

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