It’s interesting to see Gabe Newells reaction to the upcoming Windows 8 release.
I was kinda hoping some more high profile folks would start speaking out about this, because I’ve been thinking exactly the same for some time now. Windows 8 will be bad for PC users, including gamers, but especially for indie developers. Finally they seem to be appearing.
First thing, my business evolved a little this year. Now, instead of doing freelance software development, my company does general IT support (including software dev.) So I’m now in the business of supporting clients who mostly run Windows. From what I’ve seen of Windows 8 and specifically Metro, it’s going to make life far more difficult for corporate users. I expect I’ll be fielding calls day in and day out asking where the start button has gone. A lot of people are used to Windows standardization. Ironically, it’s what MS has pushed for years in order to make life easier for the less technically inclined. Then there will be needing to do things like disabling the Metro store to prevent unauthorised purchases and downloads. All nice for me I suppose since it’s billable work, but for my clients a lot of needless expense.
But my misgivings about Windows 8 go a lot deeper.
MS appears to be moving Windows to a closed platform. The Windows/Metro store is the only way to get applications that run on the metro interface, at least until it’s jailbroken. This means that no software gets on Metro without approval from Microsoft (as is the case with Apple and IOS) and MS takes a 30% cut from all apps sold on the store.
At least we can still use the desktop, right?
Well sure, but for how long? As has been said elsewhere, it appears that MS has been moving to close up Windows since Vista.
Indie developers now have to cope with their customers getting nasty warnings about their downloaded software being possible malware. Some virus checkers actually remove the software automatically if it is not ‘popular.’ And Windows 8 apparently gives the aforementioned warnings, plus it makes it difficult to proceed anyway.
How’s that going to affect independant developers, both of games and other applications? Hurt sales much?
And if it is Microsofts long term plan to close Windows up so that you can only get software from them? I guess we’ll see when Windows 9 is released (if W8 does well that is, personally I expect it to go the way of Vista.)
Who then do we go to? Apple is following the same path with OSX.
Linux is looking better and better all the time.