There were quite a few articles on Gabe Newell this week and if you just read the headlines you’d think he thinks Windows 8 is garbage. That’s far from the truth though.
Gabe is afraid that Windows 8 will hurt Steam and other top-tier companies.
If you read the article that others have written about, he only mentions Windows 8 in only one paragraph and the rest is about where he thinks game controllers are going and also about how he runs Valve.
First off he talked about different types of game controls. He said “If you look at the mouse and keyboard, it was stable for about 25 years. I think touch will be stable for about 10 years. I think post-touch, and we’ll be stable for a really long time — for another 25 years. I think touch will be this intermediate….”
Touchscreens are big now, but games like Half-Life, Portal and Left 4 Dead would be rubbish on a touchscreen platform. These games are Valves bread and butter, they don’t have any touch games. Sure I think later down the line we’ll have different types of controls. I think we’ll have different controllers for different type of games.
For instance as Kinect gets better we may see fighting games use it with props like swords and such to make games seem more real. For first person shooters though we may see gun controllers with a joystick for movement and buttons for actions or even as we move the game moves (similar to these). We really don’t know what the future holds but for hard core games touch isn’t it.
Now Gabe is afraid of Windows 8 and maybe he should be, maybe he shouldn’t? We don’t know yet. Xbox live works great for the Xbox, but how will it work for Windows 8 and what will Metro gaming be like?
Now I heard a rumor that Microsoft isn’t going to just have Metro apps in the Marketplace. If this is true then maybe Gabe is right, it will cut into Steam. Valve can make a Steam app. Right now every game I had directly installed on my PC that’s on Steam I uninstalled from my PC to reinstall on Steam (I did this for easy to access, update and the achievements).
Now if on Windows 8 I see games I have on Steam do things different or better on Xbox Live (like if they allow smart glass) then maybe I’ll switch again and that’s what Gabe Newell is afraid of.
Gabe is developing Steam for Linux and this is a good thing. Getting games on all platforms is smart and it may help Linux a little. Lack of games is one reason Linux isn’t popular, but not the only reason. I’ve written about this and won’t go into it any more.
I just hope that Gabe doesn’t give up on Steam for Windows 8, I think both can live together harmoniously. Not all games that are on Steam are going to be on the Windows 8 Marketplace, I’m guessing Valve games are a few of them.
Another thing Valve can do is make a service similar to OnLive, but run it more like they run Steam (except also have game rentals). Steam can still have where you buy your game and if you want you can install it locally or you can get it streamed. Also they can have game rentals where you pay to rent the game by the day, or week.
Steam can also have the free to play games as it has now as well. I don’t think they would have to make any changes with the game developers either. Sure this would be a hard and expensive task but it’s doable. The other option is to go in with OnLive or Otoy (I personally don’t like OnLives business model at the moment though).
A plea to Gabe Newell
Valve started as a game company and you have made some of the best games ever developed. Please don’t give up on this. Please don’t give up on PC gaming and don’t give up on Half Life! Make Half Life 2 Episode 3 or Half Life 3 (whatever you’re going to call it). Valve is one of the best gaming companies around and you should keep it that way.
It’s good that you’re trying different things, working on game controllers, and maybe a console and Steam, but as a gamer and a fan of Valve games, don’t give up on games and the PC.