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Valve's Newell: Windows 8 "catastrophe" driving Valve to embrace Linux
Valve head—and one-time Microsoft employee—Gabe Newell has branded Windows 8 "a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space" at videogame conference Casual Connect in Seattle.
Valve head—and one-time Microsoft employee—Gabe Newell has branded Windows 8 "a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space" at videogame conference Casual Connect in Seattle. The Valve boss continued, saying that in the fallout from Windows 8, "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."
He argued that one of the last remaining things keeping people away from Linux was the lack of games. Valve is working to bring Left 4 Dead 2 and other Steam titles to Linux in a move that Newell describes as "a hedging strategy." If his predictions about Windows 8 come true, he says "it will be good to have alternatives to hedge against that eventuality."
Newell's low opinion of Microsoft's next major operating system has been known for some time. When Michael Larabel of Phoronix visited Valve's Bellevue, WA, campus in April of this year to learn about the company's efforts to port Steam to Linux, he reported that Newell's "negativity for Windows 8 and the future of Microsoft was stunning."
Newell is not a disinterested third party. Valve makes money from the commission it takes on Steam sales. Windows 8, with its built-in Windows Store, challenges that revenue source. Features such as Xbox LIVE integration could make the Windows Store and Windows 8 a more appealing platform for gamers and developers alike than Steam.
However, the other aspect of the Store—the closed and controlled nature—also concerns him. He attributed Valve's success to the PC's open nature, saying that the company "wouldn't exist" without either the PC or "the openness of the platform." That openness is under threat, though. Newell argues that there is a "strong temptation" to close the platform, because the platform's developers "look at what they can accomplish when they limit the competitors’ access to the platform, and they say 'That's really exciting.'"
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