Gabe Newell is a big deal in the PC games industry.
He heads Valve, the company that turned the first-person shooter on its ear with the original Half Life, then revolutionised PC gaming with its Steam service, the digital delivery platform for games. Fans have been clamouring for Half Life 3, or episode 3 of Half Life 2, for years, so gamers care about what Newell says and what Valve does.
And when Newell speaks, people tend to take notice. So when at a gaming event in Seattle this week, he said (via Kotaku) that he believes Windows 8, Microsoft's next big operating system, is a "catastrophe" that will lead to developers abandoning the PC platform, gamers sat up and took notice.
This is probably the last thing Microsoft wants to hear from a development company that champions PC gaming, especially when PC gaming is already struggling against its console counterparts (some developers now develop their games only for console) but according to site AllThingsD, Newell said Valve was considering developing games for open-source platform Linux rather than Windows 8.
This is what Newell was quoted as saying by AllThingsD: "The big problem that is holding back Linux is games. People don't realise how critical games are in driving consumer purchasing behaviour."
Newell said: "We want to make it as easy as possible for the 2500 games on Steam to run on Linux as well. It's a hedging strategy. I think Windows 8 is a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space. I think 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. If that's true, then it will be good to have alternatives to hedge against that eventuality."
Now, this anti-Windows 8 sentiment could be seen as Newell being unhappy that Windows 8's built-in Windows Store will channel money away from Steam and thereby Valve (I understand that Valve makes money from the comission it charges on Steam sales), but it seems Newell is also concerned about the closed nature of Windows 8, citing the current open nature of the PC platform. Windows 8 is expected later this year.
So, what do you think about Newell's view on gaming on Windows 8 and that it will possibly cause major PC developers to migrate to Linux? Personally, I'm not even worried about Windows 8 at the moment, I'd just be happy to be able to get some of my most-loved PC games playing on Windows 7 without having to jump through hoops to do so.
Last, it's that time of year again: voting has opened for the annual Netguide Web Awards and I'd be honoured if you'd consider voting for the Game Junkie blog in the Best Site for Gamers category. The site was a finalist in that category last year.
Stuff you might also find interesting: Game Junkie is on Twitter and you can email him here. He'll even answer your emails, not get some smart robot to do it. He also has another gaming blog here. It's updated at least once a week.
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