Valve: Windows 8 is a 'catastrophe' for PCs

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."
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

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.

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