Is Windows 8 a catastrophe or a success?

Spoiler Alert: Windows 8 is a blinding success and it's not even out yet. Valve excluded.
Written by Ken Hess, Contributor

By now, you've seen the headlines on ZDNet and other places about Valve Software's co-founder Gabe Newell stating that, "Windows 8 is a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space.” I'm sure Ballmer and the boys over at Microsoft paused their glass-clicking just long enough to laugh at that statement. So, to let you know, in case you can't figure it out for yourself, Windows 8 is, in fact, so not a catastrophe for anyone except for those who don't understand it. Windows 8 is basically, in my humble opinion, Windows 7 R2 with a new interface dubbed 'Metro.' Admittedly, I wasn't a big fan of '8' in the beginning. I've changed my mind--in spite of what some fanboys think--without a penny coming to my bank account from Microsoft.

And, in spite of what you or Gabe Newell might think of Windows 8, it's no catastrophe.

Gabe, you silly, silly boy.

Of course, Gabe's statement certainly put his little software company on everyone's radar. Before this, I'd never heard of Gabe Newell or Valve Software. That might seem odd but I don't do any gaming on the Xbox* mainly because I don't own an Xbox. We've always been Nintendo people at my house. Sure, I've heard of a few of their games but who really pays attention to the company that creates them? Not me, but maybe that's just me.

I'm not sure I can tell you who created Angry Birds (Rovio?) and I'm a huge addicted fan of that one. The last PC game I was hooked on to any extent was Delta Force by NovaLogic. I know it was NovaLogic because I tried to contact customer support a few times. Actually, I wasn't able to contact customer support at NovaLogic and the result was that I had to give up playing Delta Force--my favorite game that I bought online and downloaded. However, that's fodder for another post/rant.

I'm not really sure that we should care what Gabe Newell thinks about Microsoft's Windows 8 platform. It will exist and be wildly successful in spite of what he says. For that matter, it will be wildly successful in spite of what I say or even what Steve Ballmer says about it. Microsoft owns the desktop. Unless gamers want to maintain two PCs: One Windows and one Linux, they will have to choose between the two.

Valve Software can choose not to create games for Windows 8 and I'm not sure anyone will really shed a tear. I know I won't. I absolutely couldn't care less if Windows 8 plays games at all. It does, though. Ever hear of running a program in compatibility mode? If not, you should. It might be a good idea to send Gabe an email with that information in it.

Maybe Microsoft should build a desktop operating system for business and one for play. Oh wait, they kinda do already: Windows 8 and Xbox. I'm just saying. If you want to play games, then buy something that plays games. If you need to work, by a tool, like a PC that runs Windows 8. A little productivity probably wouldn't hurt. A few situps wouldn't kill you (or me) either.

The bottom line is this: Gabe should stick to managing his company that builds games on whatever platform he chooses. Microsoft should build operating systems for business and game consoles for games. I personally think the two should never cross paths. Again, that's probably just me.

A hammer is for hammering nails. A screwdriver is for screws. A PC and desktop operating system are for work. If you choose to juggle with hammers and screwdrivers, you have to accept the consequences of doing that.

*Yes, I know they make PC-based games too. I don't play them either.

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