As we mentioned in our news section last week, Valve finally put an end to all of the “Steam on Linux” rumors by announcing its plans officially. The reasons for its attention to Linux should be obvious. It’s a small market, but it is growing, and no group of folks have proven more fervently that they want games for their platform.
There’s another reason also, and it might not be what you’d expect. Valve’s CEO Gabe Newell believes that Windows 8 is a “catastrophe”. Yes, he really said that: “I think Windows 8 is a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space.” That’s quite a bold statement, but he makes even more of an impact by continuing, “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.“
Given the biggest change to Windows 8 is its Metro UI, it can be assumed that it’s the reason Newell believes the OS won’t be much of a success. In fact, it seems to be a thought shared by many. Metro is clearly superior for a touch interface, but Microsoft doesn’t seem to understand that most desktop users do not use a touchscreen, or want to.
Newell’s idea that this could cause top-tier OEMs to exit the market is rather striking, however. Though a devout Linux user, I am not sure I’d go as far to say that it’s “ready” for a massive consumer influx, but I do foresee some growth after Windows 8’s release. The same applies to Mac OS X, though I wouldn’t imagine the growth would be quite as large due to the cost of Mac hardware.
What do you guys think? Is Microsoft preparing to screw itself over with the Windows 8 launch? If it does, it’ll continue the theme where only every other major release is a good one (ME, XP, Vista, 7, 8).