Valve: Windows 8 is a 'catastrophe' for PCs

Valve: Windows 8 is a 'catastrophe' for PCs

Summary: First it was Gartner -- despite its retraction and somewhat tetchy record on commentary -- but now Valve has chipped in claiming the forthcoming operating system will be a "catastrophe."

TOPICS: Windows, Microsoft, PCs

Microsoft's next-generation operating system has taken a beating from the press, analysts, and developers alike over the past year. 

Now we can add another industry leader to the mix.

"Windows 8 is a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space." -- Gabe Newell, 2012.

Those few words that will likely end up etched on Windows 8's obituary. He went on:

"I think we'll lose some of the top-tier PC/OEMs, who will exit the market. I think margins will be destroyed for a bunch of people. If that's true, then it will be good to have alternatives to hedge against that eventuality."

Newell used to work at Microsoft, so presumably has some affection for the software giant, but spoke honestly about how the upcoming operating system affects the PC and gaming business. 

Coming ahead of the Windows 8 launch, pegged for October 26 this year, the head of Valve made the disparaging comments at the video game conference in Seattle, known as Casual Connect, Slashgear reports.

Newell's opinion should be considered through a gaming lens, as Valve is a popular portal that allows customers to download games and link their accounts to the cloud through Steam. The concern is that once Windows 8 is established, the revenue stream changes, and the rival in-built Windows store may make Microsoft's alternative more appealing to consumers and developers, especially when you consider features such as Xbox LIVE integration.

However, it is not only the restrictive and closed nature of the Windows Store which is an issue. Valve's success was attributed to the PC's "open" nature; Newell said that Valve "would not exist" without the open and flexible platform.

He also said that there has always been a "strong temptation" to close a platform, due to the profits that can be gained from the PC market. Newell noted that developers "look at what they can accomplish when they limit the competitors' access to the platform, and they say 'That’s really exciting'." It may not be in the interests of consumers or competition, but it may certainly bring up the profit margins for dominant players in the PC industry.

The head of Valve must have something up his sleeve to publicly trounce Microsoft, surely? Apparently so; Newell believes the only thing holding gamers back from adopting the Linux platform is a lack of gaming choice on the system, and so Valve is currently working on bringing some titles to Linux -- including Left 4 Dead 2 -- just in case his predictions bear fruit.

According to the publication, Newell describes the move with Steam towards the alternative operating system as a "hedging strategy," and it will "be good to have alternatives to hedge against that eventuality" if Windows 8 does disrupt the success of the Valve gaming portal and disrupt competing developers. 

Newell is not the only face in the industry to speak out against the Windows 8 operating system. Gartner analyst Gunnar Berger removed a sentence from a blog post that called the OS "bad", as ZDNet's Zack Whittaker previously reported

Image credit: CNET.

Topics: Windows, Microsoft, PCs

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  • Gaming

    It takes so much more effort to code for other systems, it has been proven time and time again just how superior DX is.

    He's just mad because the MS store can take 30% of their revenue or whatever.... however they can still sell games the old fashion way, and have users install it on their desktop no problem, exactly the same way as they do now. I think he's just a bit mad users will download more cheap games like Angry Birds than expensive games.
    • Ask Blizzard-Activision has more than 8 million subscribers

      A company that sells only games for PC and Mac and not for game consoles that has had between 4 and 8 million active subscribers between 2004 and 2012 is something to think about.

      The popularity of Blizzard Activision games is worldwide, they have cloud servers in North America, Europe, Asia, South America and Oceania. They have excellent support, patch their games often periodically (like 2 years) they launch new expansions for their games.

      Maybe this is a reason why the PC market isn't dying, the MMORPG industry has so much popularity in the PC industry, so the Game consoles popularity like Xbox or PlayStation is not a threat to their sales, in fact there are two different types of people that play MMORPG and types of people that play console games.
      Gabriel Hernandez
      • I agree...2 Kinds of Gamers

        There will always be 2 kinds of gamers. That's not going to change. As gamers search for an advantage, they will continue to search the PC marketplace.

        That's not MS' problem. Their problem is their persistent failure to come up with practical IT solutions for the corporate world. They are far behind expectations. In the past, they were able to trade on the perception of substance, but their "window" of salesmanship is closing.

        Prediction...the PC hardware end of the industry will fight back and win this battle. We could see a legit OS that has all the answers for IT and for home and mobile use in the next couple of years. Open source is producing programmers who are well acquainted with the challenges of developing OS and office software. Someone will come along who won't make the best of them quit their night job to earn a living. And let's not forget, Linux is not far from being an efficient platform in IT terms, too...
        • 2 kinds of gamers

          "That's not MS' problem. Their problem is their persistent failure to come up with practical IT solutions for the corporate world. They are far behind expectations."

          Huh? If being the enterprise software leader is persistent failure then sign me up. I'll take 1% of that revenue and retire happy. between the surface and win phone 8 stuff I think Microsoft has a very good enterprise AND consumer story. If I was the valve CEO I'd be looking to see how I could use the upcoming store to complement the store I own, rather than make it the enemy.
          • He must mean Linux... surely...

            AltBo's comment makes no sense unless he means Linux's persistent faily to come up with practical IT solutions in the Corporate world.

            MS have everything covered that other OSes certainly dont.
      • Well, there's also Minecraft.

        Well, there's also Minecraft. Sure, it's on the 360 now, but it was originally PC/MAC only, and it gained quite a following.

        And of course there's Steam. Steam is also doing a good job at keeping PC gaming going. Loads of good games there.

        Heck, I'd say Valve has done a lot of good keeping PC gaming alive. Unfortunately, it came at the cost of their own games (still waiting on Half Life 3!). But they *have* done a lot to keep a lot of people on PCs.

        Indeed, I'd say that yeah, Windows 8 *could* be a threat to Steam. It's got a store built right into it, and you can bet publishers will be putting their games there.

        Indeed, it would be crazy for publishers *not* to use the Windows 8 store. It's gonna be on every new PC.

        And it could likely herald a new era of PC gaming, if consoles don't get their act in gear and start developing a new generation of consoles.

        Because, between the PC and mobile, I'd say there's actually a rising threat against consoles. I don't think the console market is gonna stay on top forever, not if they stay where they are.
        • Actually...

          Minecraft was PC / Mac / and Linux, with Linux being a considerable portion of the game's sales - especially early. Linux is on the rise. There's no disputing that. The revenue that Valve may lose to the MS app store will be more than made up for by:
          a) people leaving Windows for Mac / Linux
          b) Linux users purchasing games in Steam

          Linux will be just fine, Valve will be just fine. The potential loser here is Microsoft.
          • Linux is on the rise?

            Where did you see that? I hope you are not talking about the rounding errors you see when looking at statistics...:


            Linux lost 32% marketshare in the last 5 months.

            "[i]Linux is on the rise. There's no disputing that.[/i]"

            Pffft!! I didn't just dispute that, I just proved it wrong with actual hard numbers!
          • Silly numbers

            Linux fluctuates between 0.98 and 1.56

            No wonder you're obsessed about that 2%
          • Linux as a dekstop doesn't work

            I also bet a lot of those 1% of Linux are developers who have both for the occasional tool that Linux does better. My copy of Ubuntu runs in a VM occasionally - on top of Windows 7.

            Linux's market share won't ever improve because you still have to do horrible, unfriendly things like sudo to install apps... general consumers don't want that, enterprises don't want that. Only devs do, and devs are a very, very small % of the desktop population.
          • Linux as a dekstop does work

            The market is simply controlled by one monopoly who has a large ecosystem behind it, that's all.

            Sudo has nothing to do with it. That's just an ignorant, lame excuse used by somebody who's never used Linux before.
          • Yes and no...

            I agree, the sudo thing is bogus. Windows essentially has the same thing anyway these days, which is a good thing.

            However, there are some real problems for Linux. Probably the biggest one is not even Linux itself, but rather the X11 window system it adopted from its UNIX predecessor. X was designed for thin clients, not feature-rich desktop PCs.

            As such, it is not a good platform for running games, and probably never will be until something replaces X11.

            If you look at MacOS, it's essentially UNIX sans X11.
          • Wayland

            Wayland might help.
          • X11?

            I agree, OSX is an UNIX without X11.
            But if X11 was that bad, Apple wasn't now trying
            hard to integrate it into MacOSX.

            And a heavy OpenGL game running on Linux
            is just a single X11 client, so that's not a problem...
          • Linux remains too complicated and obscure for consumers.

            Besides, consumers cannot buy their favorite title for Linux. It only takes one or two favorite titles to keep people from trying Linux.
            M Wagner
          • Mint & Wine run Office and many other apps just fine

            I never crash and burn, dont bother with viri, and have a tight system with Mints KDE. It's layed out just like windows and not much different then driving an old Saab 900 where everything is just a little bit different but you end up liking the results. Crossover support hundreds of Windows games on Linux and Steam has almost 200. It will be up to the industry. Updates are free so people in a tight economy will save money using Linux.
          • Linux as a dekstop does work

            You're just wrong. The vast majority of people who like Desktop Linux are in IT. If you're developing for *nix servers, it's very convenient. But for everyone else, not so much. I recall trying to install a new version of Firefox on Ubuntu 3 or 4 years ago and finally just gave up and stuck with what the OS came with. Maybe they now update to new versions via the update utility (which was generally excellent), but at that time, it didn't and it meant that you couldn't easily get the latest features until the next version of the OS came out.

            Developers at my company are migrating to Linux (because most of our servers are *nix based), but there's no way we could do that with accounting, marketing or HR. It'd be a disaster.

            Linux fan boys have been talking the wide adoption of Linux for over 10 years and it's gone nowhere.
          • Couldn't have said it better...

            My thoughts exactly.

            @ItsBeenALongDay Hey, my grandfather used Ubuntu
            without a problem. Was he a developer? No.
          • lol

            Options to install things in Ubuntu: apt-url (just click a link and approve), the Ubuntu software center, download and double-click the .deb installation file, use the standard package manager software, etc...

            You only need to use *one* of thesr, pick your favorite.

          • In the machine room, maybe!

            Where Linux has been displacing UNIX for a decade but the desktop remains firmly in the hands of Windows (~90%). Apple Macintosh takes ~8%, leaving Linus in that ~2% range.
            M Wagner