Gabe Newell, the CEO of Valve, is an ex-Microsoft employee who worked there for thirteen years. Apparently there are still hard feelings between the two because Newell has just raged against Microsoft’s latest Windows iteration, Windows 8.
At the Casual Connect game conference in Seattle, Newell has spoken out against Windows 8. According to Newell, Microsoft will squeeze sale margins out of publishers and PC makers, thus driving a lot of companies out of business. Specifically, Newell is hating on the Windows Store and how it takes a 20-30% cut of sales and how it may tempt Microsoft to make Windows a ‘closed’ platform:
“There’s a strong temptation to close the platform because they look at what they can accomplish when they limit the competitors’ access to the platform, and they say, ‘That’s really exciting.’”
Newell feels the success of gaming on Windows has been due to Windows being an ‘open’ platform and any attempt by Microsoft to ‘close’ the platform will not only hurt publishers and consumers but Microsoft, too. (Funnily enough, Microsoft has already shown signs of control over Windows 8 by only allowing a select number of manufacturers build Windows RT tablets initially.)
Indeed Newell’s dislike for Windows 8 is so extreme he has declared:
“Windows 8 is a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space.”
Of course Newell isn’t saying all the above just for fun. Valve operates the online gaming store Steam and makes money by taking a cut of sales on Steam; so Windows Store could prove to directly hurt Valve’s revenue. This actually is one of the reasons Valve has now decided to embrace Linux, as a ‘hedging strategy’ against the failure or lack-of-openness in Windows 8. According to Newell, lack of gaming support on Linux has been one of the biggest hindrances to consumers who want to use the platform; to fix that problem, and make money in the progress, Valve will now try to bring 2,500 titles to Linux.
Regardless of the reason why Valve has decided to start support Linux, Valve support for Linux can only be a good thing for consumers. And let’s hope Newell’s predictions about Windows 8 don’t come to be true.