Hey there, folks. long time no see. Sorry for the marked lack of posts on Double Crit. I’ve actually been on vacation (long story, all you need to know is that someone very close to me passed away and the burial was several provinces away on the week of the 19th.). But hey, I’m back now, and ready to jump right back into regular updates. For the time being, I’m probably going to stick to Wednesday updates; I might add Friday to the mix at a later date. We’ll see how things go.
Anyway, this post is going to be a little different from my usual fare (if I can even be said to have a ‘usual’), in that it might not necessarily appear to relate to gaming at first. But trust me, it does – those of you who’ve been following industry news lately can attest to that. So, let’s get right down to it:
I will never, so long as I have the choice of alternatives, use Windows 8.
Whoa. That’s a rather extreme statement, isn’t it? What’s the basis of it? Surely, I’ve got to have my reasons, right? “
First and foremost, I actually don’t have a huge problem with Metro. Truthfully, I’m still pretty indifferent to it, and I’ve seen good points made on both sides. On the one hand, it looks like it’ll be pretty great for productivity, and it’s definitely more streamlined than other versions of Windows, which often tend to become a chaotic, cluttered mess.
On the other hand, it looks far better suited for Windows tablets and smartphones rather than PCs, and the inclusion of gesture controls designed for touchscreens seems like it’s in blatant disregard of the mouse and keyboard setup. Plus, the aesthetic doesn’t fit a PC setup at all. It’s all, I suppose, a side effect of consolidating their mobile and desktop markets into the same ecosystem.
Anyway, we’re getting off track. That’s not the reason I refuse to touch Windows 8. As a matter of fact, the interface has absolutely nothing to do with it- though the idea behind it does. See, Microsoft seems to be raring to make Windows 8 an entirely closed platform. You want an idea of what’s happening? Think iOS. Unless you have a jailbroken phone, every single app you download has to come from the app store.
Blizzard, Valve, and Mojang- three big names in the gaming world- have weighed in on the new platform, and none of them particularly like the direction it’s heading. Gabe Newell outright stated Windows 8 to be a catastrophe, opting to hedge his bets by pushing for Steam support on Linux. Notch of Mojang has stated Windows 8 to be very, very bad for indie developers if Microsoft decides to lock down the platform (as it appears they’re trying to do), while Rob Pardo(the guy who designed Starcraft-kind of a big deal) of Blizzard agreed with Newell, stating that it’s not awesome for Blizzard, either.
A Poor Infrastructure For Gaming
This post, sums it up pretty well, if we’re assuming the worst-case scenario. Metro simply isn’t made with games in mind. The interface isn’t suited for it, nor is the Metro App Store geared towards PC developers. The fact that Microsoft’s willing to compete with its third party hardware manufacturers(they recently announced the Windows Surface tablet) doesn’t inspire a great deal of confidence in their direction, either.
If we assume that the Metro Store is going to be the primary source of applications on Windows 8, it means that the majority of games are going to have to go on the Xbox Store- and guess who gets to control what content appears on there? Yep! Microsoft.
Gabe Newell said it best:
“It’s sort of ominous that the world seems to be moving away from open platforms. I’m worried that the things that traditionally have been the source of a lot of innovation are going- there’s going to be an attempt to close off those so somebody will say “I’m tired of competing with Google, I’m tired of competing with Facebook, I’l apply a console model and exclude the competitors I don’t like from my world.”
They wouldn’t do that, would they?
The idea that every application developer for the Windows platform would have to pay Microsoft (or give the company a cut of their profits) to have their app appear in the Windows App Store, and that that store could be the only source of applications on Windows 8 is a very bitter pill to swallow, and not just for independent developers. Really, the entire games industry- the entire entertainment industry- stands to lose a lot if such is the case.
But the whole idea smacks of absurdity, doesn’t it? I mean, why would Microsoft take Apple’s closed-source mobile strategy to the PC? Why would they make such an avaricious and short-sighted cash-grab? Could this really be their plan for the system?
To me, it doesn’t seem like something Microsoft would do. But I can’t say for certain.
The question remains: do these tall tales ring true? Are they really going to screw over their consumers and shun game developers in favor of the enterprise customers it seems they’re trying to cater to? After all, the platform isn’t completely finished yet- we’ve still got until October until it’s final release. One would assume, then that Microsoft is still listening, right?
It’s not like Valve and Blizzard are podunk organizations- both of them have quite a lot of pull with the developer, and Microsoft stands to lose far, far more than they’d gain if they decide to restrict their platform, stifle the competition, and shoehorn users into only utilizing Windows-approved apps.
At the moment, it’s hard to say whether or not Windows 8 will be a closed platform. But given the evidence that’s surfaced so far (a movement towards a more mobile-esque experience, the Microsoft App Store, and, most tellingly, Microsoft’s failure to respond to Newell, Notch, or Pardo), it doesn’t look good.
As for me? I’m going to be sticking with Windows 7 for the foreseeable future. If indeed the rumors are true, and Windows 8 completely borks up the indie gaming market and games development as a whole…
Looks like I’ll be switching to Linux.