Putting aside all the criticism Microsoft has been getting on its upcoming Windows 8 operating system regarding its new user interface (and also it not yet being ready for a release), a lot of the harsher criticism the company has gotten for the OS is about how Microsoft is doing gaming on the platform. Valve co-founder Gabe Newell has repeatedly trashed the OS over its new game market scheme.
What Microsoft is planning is an Xbox-like (and possibly branded) game store where developers and publishers will have to get their games approved before they can sell it. Other platforms, such as Valve’s Steam or EA’s Origin, will still be available to PC users, but having a game store built into the OS certainly gives the impression that Microsoft’s game store will be the “official” source for games on a Windows 8 PC. This is especially egregious to indie developers, who often have trouble with companies such as Microsoft when it comes to having their games approved.
This week, Minecraft creator Markus “Notch” Persson vocally criticized Microsoft and Windows 8 over Twitter. Notch tweeted out that Microsoft contacted him for help to “certify” Minecraft, and the developer told the company to go shove it:
Got an email from microsoft, wanting to help “certify” minecraft for win 8. I told them to stop trying to ruin the pc as an open platform.
He followed up with a bold proclamation:
I’d rather have minecraft not run on win 8 at all than to play along. Maybe we can convince a few people not to switch to win 8 that way..
It’s easy to see why indie developers are wary of Windows 8 “certification.” If games have to be approved to make it into Microsoft’s store and seem legitimate to the average PC user, the traditional openness of the PC gaming market could begin to close off to all but the major publishers. Also, while Newell’s comments may seem like the words of a game market competitor, Valve has recently made its Steam platform more open to indie developers with the launch of Steam Greenlight, which allows Steam users to vote on which indie games make it into the store.