Valve CEO: Windows 8 Is A Catastrophe

The head of Valve says the company is working to develop for Linux, calling Microsoft’s Windows 8 a “catastrophe” that will lead product manufacturers to abandon the platform.

At a gaming event in Seattle last night, as reported by AllThingsD, Valve CEO Gabe Newell said the one thing holding back Linux is video game support.

"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, according to AllThingsD. "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."

Earlier this year, Stardock CEO Brad Wardell wrote an article for Kotaku about Windows 8's issues. Wardell called the new operating system a "usability nightmare". If other PC developers feel similarly, perhaps they’d be more than willing to follow Newell’s lead to the Linux platform.

Newell also talked about touchscreens, calling them "short-term" and saying he thinks the future of interaction will be through computerised wristbands.

"We think touch is short-term," he said. "The mouse and keyboard were stable for 25 years, but I think touch will be stable for 10 years. Post-touch will be stable for a really long time, longer than 25 years.

"There's some crazy speculative stuff. This is super nerdy, and you can tease us years from now, but as it turns out, your tongue is one of the best mechanical systems to your brain, but it’s disconcerting to have the person sitting next you go blah, blah, blah, blah... I don’t think tongue input will happen, but I do think we will have bands on our wrists, and you’ll be doing something with your hands, which are really expressive."

Perhaps we’ll be using them to make Steam hats. According to Newell, there’s a guy in Kansas making virtual hats for $US150,000 a year. $US150,000 a year. Anyone else want to get into the hat-making business? [AllThingsD]

Republished from Kotaku Australia

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    This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted.

    Meh,.. Valve sucks anyway. Who needs 'em..!

      Piles and piles of people who jsut purchased games through the steam summer sale disagree with you.

        People only buy games from Steam because they like Valve.

        It doesn't have anything to do with the games being incredibly cheap coupled with the lack of decent competition in the digital distribution space and retail stores being overpriced garbage.

        Nope it's completely based on how people feel about Valve.

          I hate Steam with a passion that rivals the love for my family and friends, yet still buy games in the Summer Sales because they're cheap. Half-Life and Portal are the only good games Valve have ever made IMO, otherwise they just ruin games like Counter-Strike and produce crap for "girl gamers" and the guys that chase them (TF2). Honestly, I don't see why anyone would give two damns what Gabe thinks.

            I just bought BioShock 2 for $4.99. That's hard to beat.

              Pirated it for $0.0


                Good work. Your heroism will not go unnoticed!
                You're great!

                  Thankyou, i needed that.

          Your sarcasm seems oddly misplaced here. Clearly I'm not the only one who doesn't like them!

            OK. What are your reasons?

              Intrusive, always on DRM that isn't a far cry from Ubisoft's system that everyone hates.

              Pun intended.

                Its actually not a problem at all. Steam is an seamless and no nonsense approach to digital distribution, and the only company that does it right (GoodOldGames is a great service too and probably the only online distributer that follows Steams lead). Other companies, such as EA, Sony and Microsoft just want to price gouge and rip the customer off. It's also logical for an company to protect their IP from people who think they should get other peoples works for nothing. Invasive DRM is def. not the way, but Steam handles it excellently with its client based format. And CDprojekt is theleader in the DRM respect.

                Also, the "always on" point is moot, as you can run games on steam in offline mode after the initial validation. ie you dont have to connect to the net at all if you don't want - and also don't have to bother putting in the disc.

                  I figure that I'll address all three of your posts here so as to avoid confusion.

                  "@Ted Talk shit much? HL/HL2/Left4Dead/Left4Dead2/Portal/Portal2/DOD/TF2 etc."
                  I agreed with you that both the Half-Life and Portal games are great. L4D was fun for the first night or two after it's release, otherwise it's just monotonous run and gunning and the lie that is L4D2. Their games that may or may not be good are beside the point though, as in this thread we're discussing Steam.

                  You second post makes it sound like Steam doesn't price gouge? You do know that certain titles are still cheaper with an American account and credit card, don't you? I don't even know what you're talking about in relation to protecting IP's?

                  Finally, Steam's offline mode is a joke. Back at my old house I lived in the sticks on a 3G connection and could almost NEVER connect to Steam (even better buying a game in a store then coming home to find out I still couldn't play it) and the offline mode didn't work either. In fact, I tried tethering to my phone when I moved here (before the internet was switched on) so as I could login to Steam and, $30 worth of credit later, still couldn't get in. And what about the people that move overseas and have to buy everything in their Steam libraries again because of the region locking?

                  Steam is FAR from good, they have a good sale once or twice a year, but that's it. Careful how personally you take this stuff or someone might mistake you for a fanboi.

          I have no loyalty I bought the games because they were cheap. So this statement is a lie!

    Is it because, perhaps, people will use Windows marketplace instead of Steam for their casual games needs?

      And aren't Microsoft planning on pushing Xbox Live through Windows too? getting rid of the awful GFWL in the process.

      And don't Steam and Xbox live have around about the same number of users? and wouldn't there be a fair amount of overlap of said users?

      Maybe it's not just casual games that people might consider purchasing.

      Cry moar, Gabe. Competition is good, and if you don't think Steam is good enough to compete with Win8's store don't let the door hit your arse on the way out. I *do* think Steam is good enough, and it's about time they got some decent competition!

      I wonder what Valve's cut is? Maybe Gabe is scared because they can't (or don't want to) match MS' scaling commission system for popular titles?

        Gaben ain't goin nowhere, you idiot!

    Valve CEO said "duh, I am derp".

    "calling Microsoft’s Windows 8 a “catastrophe” that will lead product manufacturers to abandon the platform"

    Unless of course the public actually like Windows 8 and buy it, in which case product manufacturers will keep with the platform like they have for years

      It's not that customers will buy it because they like it. It's that they'll buy it because they'll feel left-behind without it and because the upgrade is cheap. For an OS whose name is Windows, the name Walls would be more appropriate: Metro is a walled garden of apps, it has a wall of tiles for a start screen, and with any luck, the writing is on the wall for Windows now that the big influencers in IT are looking down on the OS with intense disgust.

        Metro on Win RT is the walled garden, Win 8 can run anything that Win 7 can, including steam. Metro apps may be only available on the Windows store but how is that different from other vendors that limit things to their own marketplace.

        The wall of tiles is not necessarily a bad thing, I don't mind having a wall of tiles with updating information as opposed to a wall of icons that I tend to end up with on my desktop currently (really need to clean that up)

        The big influences in IT may be looking down with disgust. But if people start buying Windows 8 and it's not the massive failure that these people think it might be (which if people are going to upgrade because they’ll feel left-behind without it and because the upgrade is cheap then it's pretty likely that it wont be) then you can guarantee that these big influences in IT will be lining up to release stuff for the Windows store to cash in.

          You can actually swap between the metro desktop and the traditional desktop at any time anyways, so not really much of a problem.

            There is no such thing as a "Metro desktop", there is Metro OR the desktop.

        "It’s not that customers will buy it because they like it. It’s that they’ll buy it because they’ll feel left-behind without it and because the upgrade is cheap."

        I dunno. I know plenty of people skipped Vista. I'm pretty certain that wasn't just a weird anomaly involving people around me either. I mean years after Vista came out you still had no trouble walking into a computer shop and getting a new PC with XP on it rather than Vista, cause people really wanted to avoid Vista.

        I think stating that product manufacturers will abandon the platform is ridiculous, but at the same time I don't think everyone is going to exactly feel forced to use Win8.

    @cleverclogs nailed it.

    It's a catastrophe for Steams business model, why go to Steam if you can get the same stuff through the official Windows store? Backing Linux is a hedge for Steam, not Windows users.

    This is easy to figure out...
    Valve CEO = [investing in Linux...need to drive business his way] "Windows 8 is a catastrophe!"

    The truth is... Apple have touch. Google have touch. Windows will have touch. Linux has... ?

      Umm android..

      Apple and Google only have touch in the mobile space currently where Valves platform is desktop centric. The fact Mountain Lion was shipped with any major touch functionality also shows they are some way off going that path for desktops.

    After looking at OS X 10.8 I found myself thinking yeh maybe it’s time to try apple! As a lifelong Windows user I envied the incremental refinements, the little extras and the ironing out of niggles that transforms an average product into a great product. Then I got a grip, reminded myself his was Apple! and like Valve started thinking Linux.... Having recently seen the dictionary definition for Gimmick it for me encompasses all that Windows 8 is “an ingenious or novel device, scheme, or stratagem, especially one designed to attract attention or increase appeal” Don’t get me wrong I think Microsoft should be developing New OS’s, trying new things but they should also be thinking about their current customers. Those of us who are reasonably happy with our OS and just want it improved. Microsoft is breaking the golden rule with Windows 8 it’s ignoring many of its customers and telling us what we it thinks is best. This is not a clean slate [excuse the pun!] like Apple had with iOS they were developing an all new touch interface/system, Microsoft are trying to change midstream which is very different.

      Yeah, I reckon it is a good thing that Microsoft is finally giving their company an overhaul.

      Best thing to do is run an multiOS PC system like this;

    Gabe is right, windows 8 is really, really horrible!
    Metro apps do not work well with a keyboard and mouse, the metro screen is a backwards step for program launching (hey MS, why do you think that people who launch programs from the task bar want to be kicked out to an other screen when even the start menu is too much for them?!), the whole idea of metro “apps” only being being sold via the windows store is flat out anti competitive and what happens if they drop the desktop in Windows 9?

    Think you idiots!

      Umm people who launch apps from the taskbar can still do that in windows 8

    Linux doesn't even have multi-screen support for desktops, let alone touch for tablets.

      Uh, yeah it does?

        It will only 'mirror' a second screen, you cannot enable an extended desktop and it will only display lowest screen's resolution, should one screen resolution be different to the other. This has been an ongoing complaint.

          Really? I have ubuntu at home. My two monitors are definitely showing different bits of my desktop. and have been since I got a second monitor back in 2009 with ubuntu 9.10. That second monitor was a 1024x768 4:3, and the main was a 1920x1080 16:9. I have since ditched the 4:3 and got another with the same resolution and size as the main one. I can have windows for apps open on one screen, and different apps on the other. full screen or windowed. I can even have a window half way in between both screens (but there's no point it just looks stupid, but it means I can drag the window from one screen to the next). Please stop spreading FUD.

            No FUD. My system simply does not allow an extended desktop, using an AMD Radeon Graphics card and CCC. The Ubuntu forums have been, and still are, full of unresolved posts with people having issues getting things to work with 12.04. One may be able to set it up and have it working for a moment, and on reboot, it's back to the mirrored setup. Canonical is not putting any effort into addressing this issue.

              Maybe I got lucky? I'm on 12.04 now. Radeon 4300 (I think? 4900? Radeon 4XXX anyway, with flgrx drivers or however you spell that ), and AMD CPU (no idea which one). One monitor hdmi, one dvi, from the same graphics card. multi-monitor enabled ever since 9.10. sticks through upgrades and reboots, with 3D unity support (not forced to 2D unity or anything). It might not be the same graphics card I had back at 9.10 (things get fuzzy going back), but it's always worked. Only negative thing is it will only do 60hz refresh rate with extended desktop, even though both monitors support higher rates (75hz) if set individually.

      As to the touch angle, ubuntu netbook remix (UNR) v 9.4 or 9.10 worked fine with the touchscreen on my eeePC T91. single touch only, but that's all that model of eeePC supported. Other people with the later multitouch eeePCs had multi touch working in UNR from the Ubuntu forums I was reading back then

        Ubuntu is not slated to have any significant touch capability until 2014: Canonical is begining to sound like the Black Knight out of a Monty Python movie.

          Touch is a hardware issue, Linux can interface with touch devices just fine. Note the date this video was posted! There aren't any significant (that I know of) touch devices runing a fullblown Linux system but the capability is there.

          And unlucky that you have an AMD GPU, they're known to have driver issues because of AMD's (terrible I've heard) closed source drivers. That makes it hard for Canonical to do anything, they can't force AMD to fix their drivers. The open source drivers are also developed through reverse engineering as far as I know (correct me if I'm wrong) and that sounds like quite a challenge.
          Here I'm running a Linux system with dual screens, both different resolutions, perfectly fine (nVidia though). The WM I use actually has excellent multi-monitor support, that is seperate tags/taskbars per screen, easy window movement between screens, multiscreen wallpapers and so on.

          Your one problematic setup is not representative of Linux as a whole, and neither is mine. However I haven't gone to say things like Linux has NO problems with multi-monitor setups.

            I tried using Ubuntu on an Atom based tablet and touch simply did not work. Nothing that I could find would make it work. It doesn't matter what the cause, if it fails to work, it won't be taken up as a serious system.

            The AMD issue is the same. No matter why it happens, if the probelm can't be overcome, then it cripples any potential progress. Consumers aren't interested in excuses, they simply buy what works and retailers will do the same.

      I hate using Linux as much as the next guy, but I was seeing extended desktop linux boxes 8 years ago.

    Windows has >90% of the software(OS) marcket, Linux has about 1% , I know what OS I'd be writing S/W for and it aint Linux.

    Only problem with touch and magic wristbands is while it might be fine for games, i cant imagine myself coding and designing UIs with touch or air gestures (touch maybe if the screen was positioned like a keyboard) i cant keep my arms out in front of me and accurately position elements let alone do that for 8 to 14 a hours a day.

    Touch for some things im fine with, i think touch is much better than this so called wristband thing cause with touch i can quickly and accurately hit a point if your hands are a fair distance from the screen you need to see a cursor and it would be even more difficult than using a mouse.

      I agree on all points.
      I'm pretty sure the wii got the waggle out of everyone's system. I don't think we'd be needing that in a professional environment.

    Pfft, every second Windows release is unpopular anyway, it's a little early to be calling 'abandon ship!'

    No matter how much people love Steam, I don't think they're going to follow it to a different OS.

    There are certainly many things holding back Linux but I don't think games is going to offer a magic bullet to suddenly make it popular. Android is probably the best way to drive interest in other forms of Linux but I doubt more than a tiny percentage of Android users are even aware that it is Linux.

    QUOTE "Microsoft’s Windows 8 is a “catastrophe” that will lead product manufacturers to abandon the platform."

    Holy Moly, that is a big call to make.

    linux. lol

    With Apple just releasing a really crap OS and Linux have 0.99% OS market share I don't think Microsoft is too concerned about Gabe's comments right now.

    Windows 8 consumer preview was/is indeed a steaming pile of junk. I have always been firmly seated in the Windows camp, but a small part of me died on the inside whilst trying to use Windows 8 - especially with multiple monitors (there are some positive improvements btw).

    Windows 8 sure is nice and snappy, but I have also kept Ubuntu running on my HTPC, and will be making the shift to Linux when/if gaming (not just Steam) and multi-monitor support is improved. Install Windows 8 and then ask your parents/partner to try using it, not a great experience for the normal everyday person. Now do the same with Ubuntu. Hopefully version 9 will be a more polished and complete system, for the next 2-4 years I will keep 7 thanks.

    P.S. Nobody cares that Brad Wardell also had negative things to say about Windows 8? Read his article for Kotaku, pretty much sums up my experience during testing perfectly.

      I'm sorry but I don't see it at all. If anything, Win8 is so ridiculously simple that users will tend to overthink things. I see that regularly in reviews of Zune - they get frustrated because they think that it must be harder to do things than it seems and don't try the obvious (and correct) things. There is one hump a new user needs to get over and after that it is smooth sailing. Of course, if MS weren't being so stupid and bloody-minded about it and just left the Start Button there, there would be no issues at all. But if you compare that to all the really annoying changes they made in Vista, all of which have carried through to Win7 & 8, it is a pretty small hurdle to overcome.
      As for UBUNTU, I'd classify myself as a power-user and I can't work out how to do lots of things in any Linux distro. I daresay a simple task like checking your email would be beyond any casual user in UBUNTU.

        I'm not sure you could be considered a power user of anything if clicking an email icon in a taskbar in ubuntu is something you consider beyond the ability of a casual user.

          I agree. I could run programs easily as a _child_ on an old Red Hat system. I didn't actually have an email at that point but the point is, I could've checked email easily. Really, the latest Ubuntu doesn't make opening Firefox/Chrome/standalone email any harder.
          I'd be interested to know exactly how much time you've spent with any Linux distro MM.

          Clicking an email icon may open an application but it won't set up your email for you, will it? Sure, neither will Outlook but most sheeple already now how to do it in Outlook and even if it is a similar process, that is exactly the kind of thing that casual users will baulk at. Then they have to work out what Linux applications substitute for all the other Windows software they've been using for years and it all becomes way too hard. Its all the same sots of things that gave Vista such a poor reputation, multiplied by 10 or so. And that's not even taking into account the fact that some things are almost certain not to work out of the box. e.g. Last time I had Linux on my work machine, about 4 years ago, it wouldn't support the native 1920x1200 screen res of my QuadroFX powered laptop and it took IT half-a-day to sort it out. Things like the web-cam never worked at all under Linux. I'm sure it has improved since then but probably not enough to make it viable for most.

    I haven't thought of this before, but Windows 8's store model is indeed a huge threat to Valve's steam. They are right to feel threatened.

    ...have any of you even used Linux?

      *raises hand*

      Ubuntu on my desktop, netbook and laptop. WebOS (which looks like it has linux roots, but I'm not sure) and android on my tablet. android on my phones. My Popcorn Hour media player runs some sort of embedded highly customised linux. my routers and adsl modem also.

    I've used Linux, it's not very good.

      You didn't even say which one...
      I was using Linux Mint on the desktop which I installed Windows 8 on, and truth be told I had a better time with Linux. Win8 isn't great for desktop at all, I like full screen on busy apps, not email, im or even browsing necessarily. Not to mention my sound is borked. Works well, I'd prefer it on a tablet.

    Really? All Valve need to do is make a metro launcher for Steam. Seriously, redesign the current steam app to run in metro, and have the games launch from there. I don't see how that could be so hard for a company like this.

    Microsoft are just tidying up the rest of Windows the way Valve already tidied up peoples game collection.

    Or should we rant that Steam is what will lead to people abandoning PC gaming and moving to Console?

      Problem is, that's a design choice I have always disliked. It's been the biggest barrier to me getting an iPhone since day one. I don't want a protective sheet over my data, I want windows with files, not apps with contents.

        So you don't use steam either then? Then your beef is with Windows 8, and nothing to do with what Steam are claiming.

      they don't even need to do that... steam runs quite happily on win8 desktop mode.

    why would you use wrist bands when tech like the kinect exists?

    Linux support for Steam is something I've been waiting three years for and I'm still waiting for it, I'm looking forward and happy to know Valve cares.

    soon every new pc or laptop in the world will be sold bundled with windows 8 and before you know it everyone will have to adapt. Does anyone have stats on how many people are still running the older versions of windows?

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