Top Gaming Execs Not Impressed By Windows 8

A couple of days ago, Gabe Newell said that Windows 8 was a bit of a mess. He’s trying to get Valve to push Linux a bit more, which some have suggested was a response to how awkward Windows 8 would be. We spotted the story but Gabe has said similar things about systems before and even with the fantastic opportunity for a headline when he used the word “catastrophe”, it didn’t feel like a particularly interesting story.

Well, now a top Blizzard executive has agreed with Gabe and it’s all starting to look like a bit more than just Newell’s usual uncompromising openness of opinion.

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Rob Pardo is an executive VP of game design at Blizzard, creators of several of the PC’s biggest hits in recent years. World of Warcraft, Starcraft II, Diablo III are all taking a big part in keeping PC gaming unique and interesting and tremendously popular. If Windows isn’t good for those guys, and Valve’s boss is also concerned about it, there are problems.

Of course, this might all be a reaction to having to dedicate man hours to making sure that back catalogues work on the new system but if Microsoft has somehow managed to annoy the largest PC games distributor (by a huge margin) and the largest PC exclusive games developer then I would expect them to back-peddle quickly on whatever it is that’s getting studio bosses in a bad mood.

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36 Comments

  1. This is exactly why Gaben was hedging his bets with Linux. The majority of PC gamers would jump ship in an instant should Linux have the compatibility Windows has.

  2. …maybe they should make there own os. Not one bit interested in Win 8, seems pointless to me.

    • I’ve heard nothing about windows 8 apart from it’s coming out at some point. W7 is awesome – ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

    • Valve also make games so an OS would be a mammoth task and would probably mean all resources are geared towards that.

  3. I am looking forward to Windows 8 and very excited for the Windows Surface (along with Win Phone 8). This is Valve and Blizzard getting annoyed with the fact the Windows Store and Xbox LIVE marketplace will threaten revenue from Steam and Battlenet – that is all!
    It’s a huge risk for Microsoft in that they need to get up to date with a decent “app store” etc and go for a unified experience. But at the same time not to pee off the big publishers and developers who are looking to sell via their own stores.
    I think Micorsoft have the firepower to compete sure, but they will need to do something amazing to compete with Valve’s Steam store, also be prepared to wait quite some time before having any impact if indeed at all.

    But the main point is this is just top execs getting p*ssed off at anyone looking to take a piece of their pie.

    • “This is Valve and Blizzard getting annoyed with the fact the Windows Store and Xbox LIVE marketplace will threaten revenue from Steam and Battlenet”

      I disagree. Battlenet is Blizzard-only, and something of a different deal to Steam or Windows store. And frankly I can’t see Windows competing with Steam just like I can’t see PSN, Origin, etc etc competing with them. Steam has become to download-gaming what the iPod is to the mp3 world; uncompromisingly dominant and for good reason. It’s high quality and gorgeous. Some of the other services might have some nifty deals and attractions, but it’s too late for anyone to unseat Steam without doing something unbelievable.

      • I agree with the difficulty to unseat Steam – and they would have to perform a miracle on an even playing field. Sadly – it’s not even. Windows is that popular that the new store will be shoved in the faces of all the users. Not to mention it’s tie in with Xbox LIVE.
        For us clued up gamers Steam will still be installed of course, and better offers hunted down vs Win Store. But how many “clued up” up gamers are there vs Joe Bloggs – who will see a tempting offer on Win Store and make a purchase.
        Sadly I feel MS will not play fair and in recognising the competition with Steam – use forceful tactics and prey on those who know no better.

      • Uncompromisingly dominant, indeed. Particularly when it’s at the expense of consumer choice by introducing vendor lock through the back door. Want to buy some DLC from Steam? Better make sure you bought the game from Steam as well.

    • Nobody would use a Microsoft digital game store unless they’re forced to. Games for Windows Live? No thanks.

    • Absolutely Fruit (and Mike below) it’s the possibility of Microsoft belatedly strong-arming their way into setting up a Windows ‘App Store’. Thereby turning the currently ‘open’ situation of being able to buy your virtual toys from anyone into a ‘closed’ situation of having to pay Microsoft (at the very least a share of the price) for them instead. Current digital store-fronts are worried about potential revenue loss.

      • CLosed works well (in terms of revenue) for Apple, PlayStation, Xbox. so it’s no wonder Windows is closing up.

      • Apple haven’t ‘closed’ up Mac OS have they?

        Their closed market works fine for them on their electronic products but they have not but any barriers to the openness on the main desktop OS

    • “I am looking forward to Windows 8 and very excited for the Windows Surface (along with Win Phone 8). This is Valve and Blizzard getting annoyed with the fact the Windows Store and Xbox LIVE marketplace will threaten revenue from Steam and Battlenet – that is all!”

      Not exactly, the problem is that PCs (Windows, Mac, Linux) have always been very open platforms, which is the reason why we have Steam, Origin, GamersGate, GFW Marketplace and all the other online games stores..
      The problem with Windows 8 is that Microsoft is pushing everything towards their Metro interface, and the ONLY way to distribute applications that run on the Metro interface is to do so through the Windows Marketplace (where Microsoft takes something like 30% of the sale) – effectively turning Windows into a closed system without the freedom that the PC has always enjoyed.
      While is is still possible to run traditional applications, Microsoft is putting a barrier between the user and the traditional applications. Not too big a problem for experienced users, but for casual users this is going to be a barrier to entry.

      • No Mircosoft is not forcing everything to be Metro only. Yes you have to have a Metro tile but is that any different from a standard desktop icon? No, it’s better.

        Only Windiws RT is going to force you to use Metro and the store but then these are iPad competitors not laptop machines. You aren’t going to be running top notch games on these anyway.

      • didn’t day Microsoft were forcing you to use Metro – but they put it right up front and put it in the way of the desktop because they want you to use it (and the App Marketplace)

        It’s the App Marketplace that you are forced to use for all Metro apps – this is the only way to distribute Metro applications

  4. I read that one of the W8 versions doesn’t allow for online purchases outside of the Windows Store. Really?!?! Hell’s teeth.

    • I have Steam, Origin, Windows Live Market Place and Battlenet on my PC – it is a total mess! Steam is the only one that functions well, Origin is a fiasco, LIVE is bare and Battlenet obviously houses only a handful of games.

      If the Windows Store (including Xbox Live) unifies all my games – great! I’ll only miss Steam out of the bunch and that is assuming the Win Store can even compete. Interesting times

    • Yes that is correct, and thats why Gabe is being gobby.

    • …but you can always have the option of auto-login or something, its not much of a mess to me imo. MS software stink’s I’d really loath to be forced to use there store for certain apps like Raptr and all and various programs where you can download stuff.

  5. Wait, do I get this right? Someone who worked on Diablo 3, agrees with someone who is currently pushing Linux while Linux Diablo 3 players are getting banned?
    Not sure if I should laugh or cry.

  6. I’m glad that it’s this is coming from these two, who are part of few companies that develop for Mac, and not just windows.

  7. I know Gabe has a reason to speak out against it, but I was using it for quite some time and found it utter shit. Might stop some people at the top end looking at Mac for a shiny interface but the meat & bones is just dreadful.
    It alienates businesses
    It alienates PC gamers who want anything more than Angry Birds from a Win AppStore
    It alienates mums & dads
    It’s just a nightmare

    Hopefully Gabe’s interest in Linux & porting of the Valve catalogue & Steam client means GPU vendors will finally have an audience & therefore a reason to sort their Linux GPU drivers out… either that, or roll on Win9 seeing as Microsoft balls-up every other release (Win98 before the Second Edition launched & sorted everything out, Windows ME & Windows Vista, with Win95, 98SE, XP & Win7 proving the high spots)

    • Am I missing something? Windows 8 basically is Windows 7 with a shiny, new Metro overlay and you can still access your PC Windows 7 style with a (or a few) clicks. The Start button might be gone but come on. People are seriously freaking out over this. I guess I’ll have to install a VM and see it for myself but from what I’ve read about W8 people are overreacting whuite a bit.

      • Reminds me of friends going on about Facebook timeline – how it is crap, it was too different and the changes were not needed.
        Same friends now love the new features and are quick to advise others to move on to timeline and experience the benefits too.
        As with most things – it is just a matter of time. I was the same with free-to-play games, Games On Demand, Streaming etc. Now most my games are from a digital store and I’m loving Sim City Social and Age of Empires online.

      • But timeline IS crap. :)

      • For those who can’t live without the “start” button/menu “Classic start menu” does the job nicely in the preview I tried.
        Whether it will still work in the final I have no idea…

        Hate the whole Windows8 experience so far – I genuinely prefer Android on my tablet to the abomination that is Metro! :p :)

      • what you’ve read? Well I’ve used it extensively and so have many of the people who are coming up with the critique

        The problems are many

        Most people have been taken in by Microsoft’s long marketing drive, including most tech sites, there has been very little actual interrogation or listening to people who’ve used it.

        Start button schmart button, who cares, it’s now a hot corner, of which there’s 4… Something which may be fine on a phone or tablet, but on a desktop it’s extremely poor, the amount of mouse travel involved in just using the thing is ridiculous.
        UI-wise… Microsoft and their tech ‘journalism’ industry partners (who’ve basically become part of MS’ PR dept through this promotional period) have only showed you the good clean Metro, but any serious user is going enable ‘system settings’ which clutters it somewhat, you won’t see images of that anywhere and then the problem is compounded when you’ve used it a while and installed plenty of stuff, it’s a nightmare… rather than a nice clean desktop with a pull menu there’s endless scrolling up & down potentially hundreds of tiles.
        Of course the alternative is to do away with Metro and jump into desktop, something which everyone’s at home with but it’s completely alien to Metro, it’s completely jarring to be using one system and then thrown to the other than thrown back.

        Can easily see Metro appealing to apple-types, but anyone who wants to get shit done on their PC will be giving Win8 a wide birth.

        Sellotaping a tablet UI onto a desktop OS isn’t the right way to do things and it comes down to a desire to have a Jobs-ian level of control and revenue opportunity, because to get your app to show up in Metro… the front of the OS, you have to sell it through Microsoft’s forthcoming AppStore which means developers paying the man 30% or whatever the rate is, this will make the vast majority of PC developing (outside the big services like Adobe etc) completely unaffordable

        And no, it’s nothing like Facebook’s timeline. It’s giving up control to the company, PCs are about getting stuff done & if you want to play on on one it’s about choice. MS have removed choice. Choosing where to download your software, media & games and doing what you want with them on any device eg, buying where’s cheapest or where’s plugged into a service where all your friends are. and that’s not even getting started on the issues that Mozilla & Google have with Metro and the unworkable restrictions placed on Firefox & Chrome, where Microsoft’s control which threatens to make alternative browsers unusable, imagine that multiplied through every service you use on your PC.

        The PC isn’t a tablet, it’s not just a consumption device, it’s a production device. The overwhelming majority will stick with Win7, Microsoft know that which is why they’ve made the upgrade to Win8 so cheap in comparison to every other upgrade they’ve ever done.

        The people who are mostly are buying into everything Win8 is & importantly what it stands for are the people most likely to be into or interested in Apple stuff. It’s perfectly fine MS have come up with something great to combat people getting their head turned, what they’ve done is brilliant, but it’s not PC or anything suitable for what 95% of PCs are used for… and for that reason I say roll on Win9 when MS will most likely sort all that out, just like they did with Win98 when they launched Win98 Second Edition, like they did with Windows ME when they launched WinXP and like they did with Vista when they launched Win7…. Win8 is the ‘tick’ when everyone really need to wait for the ‘tock’

      • So basically you are complaining about Metro UI and the desktop mode being too far apart… visually…
        You did acknowledge that there is a desktop mode, which works just like W7 so where’s the problem? Is there a system in place that forces you to use Metro UI? The fact that W8 has been optimized under the hood (Kernel, file sysem, etc.) doesn’t matter at all?
        Wait for W9? I’d say if it is as bad as you make it out to be it will be addressed in SP1.

      • They are. I’ve installed Windows 7 only programmes on my Windows 8 tablet and no problems yet. Infact on the consumer preview I had Steam running on my tablet (ok it wasn’t powerful enough to run games properly but it had the ability within the OS.

    • I’m sorry CC_Star, I just can’t agree with you.

      I’ve used W8 on my desktop and netbook since the first public preview came out – and as long as you don’t mind pressing the windows button on your keyboard every once in a while (and lets face it – I’ve spent so much time pressing the wsad buttons while gaming, pressing the win key now and again is not an issue) then the OS is fantastic.

      The start screen quicker to navigate than the old start menu. Have you figured out how to group items on the start screen or unpin apps and programs you don’t need? The power users menu is a God-send, making access to complex functions totally painless and the ribbon on desktop windows makes accessing common folder commands a breeze.

      Having apps integrated into Windows, like they are on a phone is also a fantastic development. The flyout notifications for emails, tweets etc… make the OS environment more informative, the app previews show great potential. The Start Screen is instantly alive, and personalised with your social network contacts etc… and displays real-time information that makes the old windows environment look static and outdated.

      The integrated stores work well, and provides great hubs for gaming, apps, videos and music; the ability to pin an app to one side of the screen improves productivity and access on a widescreen monitor (for example, while I’m working I can have my emails displayed in the corner of my screen separate from what I’m doing in the larger portion, or a music player always visible).

      The only complaints I’ve found is that shutting down is a bit more cumbersome than on previous versions of windows… I’m sure this will be fixed by either MS or a 3rd party The difference between the desktop and start screen is also a little jarring, but it’s worth it for the access to old programs it gives you. The fact is that as the apps become better and are available in greater numbers you’ll spend less time on the desktop and more working from the start screen.

      I’m looking forward to Windows 8 – and will have it on my desktop, the PC under my TV and on a tablet.

  8. If Valve are willing to go the whole hog and develop a stable Linux platform with full compatibility for the Steam catalogue, then I’m all for it. It would absolutely see a vast number of PC gamers migrating across to Linux if they pulled it off.

    Windows 7 is great. Largely stable, good interface, and it doesn’t cripple your system (well, most of the time!). Windows 8 seems to be targetting a very different market that just doesn’t work for the PC. And if W8 is going to have any integration with XBox Live after the account breaches etc that have been reported and constantly denied by MS, then I just can’t see it as being a secure platform – I wouldn’t touch it with a very long pole.

  9. What a shock… 2 gaming execs whose companies have their own online game stores criticise a new version of the most purchased OS in the world that will come with it’s own built in online game store.

    This isn’t news, its companies attacking new competition.

  10. MS cares too much about money (like any business should) and this should make them reconsider their move. Windows 8 will see a big change…maybe even see a “Gaming Edition”…aaaah MS…I shake my head at you.

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