Windows 8, in all its mobile-revolution promotin’, touch-screen totin’ glory, is due to hit PCs everywhere in late October, and represents a major departure from previous Windows iterations in several respects, including interface and, in what promises to be a hot-button issue for game developers everywhere, a closed platform designed to promote the use of Windows apps. Valve and Blizzard execs took the past week as an opportunity to chime in and explain the potentially hazardous landscape Windows 8 could present for gamers, as well as the possibility of the rise of Linux.
Valve head Gabe Newell didn’t pull any punches, calling Windows 8 “kind of a catastrophe for everybody in the PC space.” Newell considers Microsoft’s movement toward a closed platform a direct threat to game development, due in no small part to the temptation for Microsoft to take complete control of any and all applications that can run on Windows via their own Apps store, which could restrict game industry options in terms of direct distribution. It is speculated that Microsoft could take as much as a whopping 30% cut of any and all software sold through their own Apps store.
Blizzard exec Rob Pardo also chimed in, tweeting his solidarity with Newell earlier this week. It’s easy to foresee other gaming developers jumping aboard in the coming months.
So where does Linux fit into the picture? The direction of Windows 8 is reportedly a major reason why Valve has taken significant steps in bringing mainstream gaming to the Linux platform, which allows gaming to remain on an open, accessible platform for developers and players alike.
Newell elaborates: “We have to start finding ways that we can continue to make sure there are open platforms. So that involves a couple of different things. One, 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. I think that a lot of people—in their thinking about platforms—don’t realize how critical games are as a consumer driver of purchases and usage . . . so 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.”
Could this be Linux’s big break? Several iterations of Linux operating systems (Red Hat, Ubuntu, among others) have been on the cusp of mainstream use for some time now. The emergence of Linux as a legitimate option for gamers (along with the unbeatable price of FREE for Linux-driven operating systems) could very well give open-source OSes the final boost they’ve been missing for quite some time. We welcome your thoughts below, dear reader.
In other gaming news this week, steampunk Xbox controllers, GTA V goes viral, Diablo III receives a story critique, and Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford accuses the gaming industry of fostering rampant plagiarism. Read on!
- Like steampunk? Of course you like steampunk. How much would you pay for your very own steampunk Xbox 360 controller? Have to admit, this is pretty badass — beautiful worksmanship.
- Has Bethesda acquired the rights to the STALKER franchise? Nothing official yet, but rumor has it...
- Rockstar has begun their viral marketing campagin for GTA V in the form of a new religion: the Epsilon program, which should be familiar to longtime series fans.
- A Hollywood writer examines the flaws in Diablo III’s story, raising some valid points and ignoring some others. Stay tuned to Tor.com for a comprehensive critique of the game in the near future.
- Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford recently talked to IGN about rampant plagiarism in the gaming industry. We suppose that’s eventually inevitable in an industry where a specific handful of genres are targeted.
- Finally, Hitman: Absolution debuted 17 minutes of footage at Comic-Con. Gameplay seems tight, intense, and in-line with prior series offerings, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.