Valve CEO Gabe Newell said the closed ecosystem of Windows 8 is a danger to game makers, and will dramatically hurt the openness of the PC gaming market.
In the remarks made Wednesday night in Seattle at the Casual Connect conference, Newell was reportedly upset about the way Windows 8 would effect PC game sales.
Windows 8 will come with a Windows Store included in the operating system, and Microsoft will take a 30% cut from developers on that store.
“Windows 8 is a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space. I think we’ll lose some of the top-tier PCs, and 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 said, according to BBC News.
Newell has a large investment in the open games marketplace. Valve’s own games marketplace, Steam, now boasts 2,500 titles from several different developers and publishers. Steam also has 40 million active users, and is a significant player in video game distribution on PCs.
When it comes to game marketplaces on the PC, Steam is the biggest player in town. Apple offers some games via the Mac App Store — and Amazon’s PC and Mac software store has a number of titles as well — but steam is the juggernaut.
Microsoft’s Windows Store could be real competition for Steam — especially if Xbox integration could become a reality.
Moreover, Microsoft is going to require Windows RT devices — such as ARM tablets — to get software from the Windows Store, which means Steam will potentially be cut off from that market.
Newell, who worked on Windows himself for 13 years until he left to found Valve in 1996, said they would be exploring other options, such as Linux, to make Steam games available.
“We’ve been a free rider, and we’ve been able to benefit from everything that went into PCs and the internet,” he said. “And we have to continue to figure out how there will be open platforms.”
Do you think Windows 8 will change the face of gaming, like Newell claims? Let us know in the comments.
Image courtesy Official GDC, Flickr.