By now you may have heard that some game developers are freaking out over the soon to be released Windows 8. If you haven’t, go here for to get general idea of the concerns. We have already talked about this once or twice briefly on Wonderpod. I still felt I like there was more to say on the issue. Specifically how I refuse to get caught up in all of these doom and gloom predictions about Win 8 when it comes to games. I have quite a few reasons for my stance, but that does not mean I can’t be proven wrong. That is a key thing to remember in all this. Nobody has an clue how it will all shake out in the end.
My first reason and the easiest to point out, is a little thing called Games for Windows Live. What you have never heard of the beast? That really isn’t shocking as it has been almost a total failure. It started with Vista and has now been crammed head long into the anus of Xbox live. It was meant to be Microsoft’s answer to Steam. Well that is what I always looked at it as. Either way it was largely ignored by both developers and gamers. I see no reason why the Windows 8 store won’t meet the same fate. No one has yet given a decent explanation why platforms like Steam, GOG and Origin can’t just forgo the Windows store all together. If that is in fact possible than all the panicking and hand wringing is for nothing.
Second reason and one that is as old as Microsoft itself. Every new OS has been labeled as the harbinger of the end times. I recall talking to hardcore Windows 3.1 users, who claimed Win 95 was just going to spell doom for MS. That of course was before the Internet, but the song was the same as it continues to be. The best example was Windows Vista. Listening to the hardcore XP crowd you would of thought by merely installing Vista you would be left suffering from cancer and sterile to boot. Mind you the ease with which anybody could get a blog and scream bloody murder, the howling seemed much more intense than it actually was. I am also pretty sure the hardcore XP user whining about Vista were the same people who screamed when XP replaced Win 2000. You just couldn’t hear the buggers then. I will give them props for brow beating MS into releasing Win 7 sooner than they probably wanted too. Having used both it amuses me to no end the similarities between Vista and 7. Bottom line, I have been through this new OS panic to many bloody times to get my sack in a twist this time. Plus I doubt the entire PC user base is going to switch immediately. This isn’t an Apple product after all, It’s Microsoft.
Finally let’s look at the “alternative” that is being offered to combat the evil Win 8. That would be the last seen on a milk carton OS known as Linux. I am repeating myself by saying this, but might as well cover my ass best I can. I have no problem with the existence, use or growth of Linux. It’s a nice alternative for people who want something wide open and easy to tinker with. That said it’s a horrible choice to use Linux as a threat against MS or Apple. (I am looking at you Newell) For one thing most game publishers are not going to want games on a platform that is the definition of anti DRM. It’s called open source for a reason people. Some hardcore Linux proponents are already telling Steam to piss off due to it’s DRM. Second and contrary to popular notion, A large chunk of PC gamers are not that into tinkering. They do not lay awake at night wondering how they can get Crysis to run at over 60 FPS. Not everyone who hates constantly tinkering with memory and video cards has scurried off to console gaming. They are not going to want to hassle with Linux. So they will either move to consoles exclusively or stick with Windows.
Some of this disaster prophesying feels a wee bit self serving. I admit that is just a feeling I personally get. There is also the put your money where you mouth is aspect. If some of the more high profile developers and publishers don’t like the OS landscape, then why not do it yourself? I mean it’s an option right? It’s not like the folks at Valve are flat broke. As I said in my opener there is always the chance Win 8 will be a complete disaster. Even I’m smart enough to see that as possible. I just don’t see this as a battle worth a lot of my time and effort at this point. Talk to me six months after Win 8 drops and I may be singing a different tune.