Microsoft Defends Windows 8 Gaming

    August 9, 2012
    Sean Patterson
    Comments are off for this post.

It says a lot about Windows 8 that Microsoft finds itself in the position of having to defend its newest desktop operating system. Aside from the criticisms leveled against the OS from desktop users who use their PC for work or some other productive tasks, gamers and game companies have also been voicing concerns about the platform.

Valve co-founder and Managing Director Gabe Newell has called Windows 8 a “catastrophe for everyone in the PC space.” Newell was speaking at the Casual Connect videogame conference when he made that statement. He has since refined his statement to make it clear he was referring to the Windows 8 app store. Valve has begun to implement its Steam platform for Linux, as an alternative and “hedge” against a possible Windows 8 disaster. It has also just announced that Steam will begin selling creativity and productivity software in addition to games.

This week, a Microsoft spokesperson told VentureBeat that the company believes Windows 8 is “ideal” for gaming. VentureBeat quoted the spokesperson:

“With Xbox on Windows 8, we created easy entry points into the types of entertainment that you’ll enjoy, including games. The Games app prominently features your avatar, profile, friends and Gamerscore and allows you to explore your friends’ avatars.”

Windows-based PC gaming has been a mainstay of the gaming industry for decades now. If Microsoft thinks that PC gamers want Xbox avatars and achievements, it may be in for a rude awakening. While some gamers will certainly enjoy the ability to sync their PC gaming experience to the Xbox 360 console, many PC gamers will not want to organize their gaming habits through a console or tablet-like interface.

Much of the concern from the gaming industry, however, is the fear that Microsoft might lock Windows gaming behind licensing walls, the way it does for Xbox gaming. While some developers would have no issues publishing their titles through a Windows 8 store, smaller, more independent developers could face the same frustrations they run into with the Xbox LIVE Arcade. Polytron, the indie game developer of Fez, voiced these frustrations in a twitter conversation with Minecraft developer Markus “Notch” Persson. Persson phrased the concerns well during an AMA with the Reddit Minecraft community:

“I hope we can keep a lot of open and free platforms around. If Microsoft decides to lock down Windows 8, it would be very very bad for Indie games and competition in general.

If we can keep open platforms around, there’s going to be a lot of very interesting games in ten years, mixed in with the huge AAA games that we all love.”

With Windows 8, Microsoft has the power to flip the PC gaming world on its head. It also has the responsibility, though, to keep the platform open enough for developers who cannot afford an app store approval process. If Microsoft does codify a console-like gaming experience into Windows 8, Newell may end up being the harbinger for a future Linux gaming boom.

(via VentureBeat)

  • Michael

    I think microsoft is making a huge mistake with Windows 8. If people wanted the console feel they would buy a console. I for one will not use windows 8 not even of they sold it for a dollar. If I end up buying a new computer I will make sure I could downgrade to Windows 7.

    • http://ismail.teamfluxion.com Ismail Ansari

      Same has happened to the Windows Phone, and unfortunately, they cannot be downgraded to the Windows Mobile 6.x series.

    • wx

      Ever tried clicking on “desktop”? Works well for everyone else.

  • http://www.zebracomputers.com Michael P

    Have you even installed and ran Windows 8?
    I have, and it seems to have better performance than Windows 7 on old hardware even.
    It will take some time for me to get used to the Tiled interface formally known as Metro, but keep in mind that this is Windows NT version 6.2 not 7.0 so its a lot of Windows Vista and Windows 7 and a lot of new stuff in the mix. It does use Windows 7 and Vista drivers as well as native ones. So don’t knock it IF you haven’t tried it…
    nuff said

  • http://securityplus.elementfx.com Jimmy G

    I have used Windows 8 and I disagree, it is not faster than Windows 7 on my hardware, I used the previews for over 2 months and just could not stand the time it took to wait for Apps to load, or to go from the desktop to the Metro screen and back again. I have given it serious considerationg, but I am happy with my decision to go back to Windows 7 and completely skip Windows 8, hoping that this Metro whatever app crap will be gone by Windows 9. I do not like Windows for any tablet like behavior. I cannot stand Sandboxed full-screen apps, and I already have begun using Linux on my older PCs that can not handle Windows 7/8. If Windows continues to take away desktop accessibility I will just move to Linux completely.

    • http://ismail.teamfluxion.com Ismail Ansari

      The feeling is mutual.

    • wx

      The preview loading time between screens isn’t representative because the final version dropped the graphical hungry aero style. If you have a crappy computer (especially a crappy gpu) i can understand your problem, new os’s aren’t really made with old machines in consideration. In mine it runs faster, games load faster and have better framerates. Don’t like metro ui? Simple, don’t use it then, doh.

  • Dave

    Running Win8 for production and for gaming. Runs beautifully: quick, easy to use and far more intuitive than any prior Windows (and I’ve been involved with PC’s of various types for 40 years). don’t like (old name) Metro? Press the Windows key – you get Windows standard desktop: what is so hard? Everything I have tried from old dos games to Skyrim runs without any issues. I remember the same arguments for the Windows 7/Vista interface, and for the XP interface, and for the 95/98 interface, and for the Win 3 interface (it’s not DOS for God’s sake). Time for the community to grow up and stop MS bashing: without Microsoft, where would the IT world be? Trapped in the Apple box complaining or using one of myriad Linux implementations complaining? After all, if you don’t like the ‘metro’ X-box link for games – which has worked without an issue on Windows Phone 7, then don’t play metro games: play windows ones.

  • wx

    Game producers are only concerned because windows will charge them a cut to have them on the microsoft store, pretty much like Apple does. All games that i had on windows 7 worked even better on the windows 8 preview, better framerates and faster loading times. Windows 8 is a 2 in 1 system, it has all the productivity and convenience of windows 7 plus a mode (metro UI) that is designed to work best on mobile devices, that’s just it, the great agitation that it’s creating is completely idiotic, most people that criticize it are the biggest idiots because they never even used it, at least i gave OSX a chance before saying bad stuff about it.