Windows 8 and the gaming industry

This is sort of an unofficial sequel to my last blog post, but this time the topic is much more specific. A friend of mine asked me after he had read my previous post that why I did not address in it the concerns that many gaming industry’s big players had expressed against Windows 8. Well, my previous post was actually written before those complaints rose to public, but it was released after them. So thanks for the question Mikko, I dedicate this post to you and all our fellow PC-gamers out there.

I believe this fuzz was started by Valve’s Gabe Newell spit out the soon-to-be infamous sentence: “I think that Windows 8 is kind of a catastrophe for everybody in the PC space.” Newell’s fear was that Windows 8 somehow magically scares “some of the top-tier PC OEMs” out of the market. He actually did not explain his thoughts any further, so one can only speculate if this was carefully executed bash against Windows 8. Why, you say? Windows 8 brings Store for the first time on Microsoft’s PC OS. Earlier in August Valve published its plans to start selling software titles through its digital marketplace, Steam, which will obviously compete directly against Windows’ and OSX’s stores. Valve has also recently expanded to cover GNU/Linux gaming too, so Newell’s comments can be seen as part of his boosting campaign toward that development as well.

Gabe Newell frowns upon Windows 8

Gabe Newell frowns upon Windows 8

There is a silver-lining to Newell’s words, but somehow most of the sites which cited him did not write a single line about. In his words: “But when you start thinking about a platform, you have to address it. You have to address mobile.” And that is exactly what Microsoft is doing with Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8; unified experience, unified ecosystem.

Within a week after Newell’s comments, Blizzard’s Executive Vice President of Game Design Rob Bardo tweeted that Windows 8 “is not awesome for Blizzard either.” This was also largely cited around the Internet, although Bardo did not explain at all what he meant with that comment. Around the same time Markus Persson (the Minecraft guy) threw AMA on Reddit where he expressed his fears of Windows becoming a closed platform, which would “be very, very bad for indie games and competition in general.” I think this is the core question of which this fuzz has been swirling around. Closing Windows up for good is not happening right now and this is just healthy speculation. However Windows Store actually makes is really easy for any game developer to publish and make money with their games, whether they are solo programmers or a big gaming company. Actually if I remember correctly, Valve takes a bigger chunk of sales on Steam platform than what Microsoft takes on Store (I do not even bother to compare neither one of those to Apple App Store’s polices).

Latest notable name from gaming industry to comment Windows 8 is id Software’s John Carmack. He did say that he would be happy if Windows 8 didn’t actually exist, but again most sites around the Internet forgot to mention that that is due to the fact he absolutely loves Windows 7. Carmack also mentions that he is really excited about Microsoft Surface tablet (and so are we at ArcticMSP blog!) and that id Software is going to start testing Windows 8 soon as the official launch date is getting closer.

The upcoming Windows 8 Surface

The upcoming Windows 8 Surface

I conclude this post to some positive news: EA’s Chief Operating Officer Peter Moore told Bloomberg that Windows Phone 8 is going to be central for its handset strategy. EA is going to focus much more heavily on mobile gaming than ever before, and close co-operation with Microsoft surely does give it a nice boost. Positive feedback has also come from Denmark, as Robert Jakobsen, an analyst in Jyske Bank, appreciated the close relation between Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 as it is a huge bonus for game developers. In my opinion the ease of porting games between the ecosystem’s platforms will no doubt become much simpler and tempting task for devs.

The Microsoft EcosystemP.S.: Microsoft offers Windows 8 Enterprise 90-day trial for free. Grab yours here and start developing your own game for Windows 8: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/jj554510.aspx

About the Author

Joel LattoJoel Latto (Website)
Joel is an Information Systems Science student from Jyväskylä University. He is into all things digital, always seeking out the thrills of new technology and innovations. Between that and his work at mobile marketing, he tries to hide his geekyness behind random extreme recreational activities.
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About arcticmsp

The Finnish Microsoft Student Partners are a group of enthusiastic students, who are interested in technology and all things new, techy and cool!
This entry was posted in End User, Gaming, Windows 8. Bookmark the permalink.

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