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PC Developers On Microsoft's "Wrongheaded Strategy" for Windows 8

PC Developers On Microsoft's "Wrongheaded Strategy" for Windows 8

Mon 06 Aug 2012 9:52pm GMT / 5:52pm EDT / 2:52pm PDT
Development

Game developers are at best cautiously optimistic, and at worst are slamming Microsoft completely

Following comments from Valve's Gabe Newell that Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 is "kind of a catastrophe for everybody in the PC space," other developers took notice and mostly supported Newell's misgivings about the operating system. Blizzard's Rob Pardo noted that Windows 8 is "not awesome for Blizzard either" and more recently Markus Persson acknowledged that it could be "very, very bad" for indie developers. GamesIndustry International recently polled other PC developers as well to get their respective takes on Windows 8.

Is Windows 8 really that bad? Some are attempting to give Microsoft the benefit of the doubt, but many are concerned about the "walled garden" approach.

Brad Wardell of Stardock commented that Newell is "totally right." He added, "Hopefully the market will be able to adapt to the wrongheaded strategy Microsoft is employing with Windows 8."

Dean "Rocket" Hall, creator of DayZ, acknowledged that he still hasn't "properly reviewed its impact yet" but he noted "there is some legitimate concern there, particularly for complex games that the PC market has a real hedge on."

"There are some worrying statements that make you wonder whether the intention is to try and emulate what their competitors are doing, or drive their own space through innovation"

Dean "Rocket" Hall

"PC Games have always been gamers' games, edgy and adapting fast. I do really agree with Gabe Newell's comment that the one thing holding back Linux is gaming, and how significant gaming actually is to purchasers' choices.  There is quite an interesting market transition happening right now, that in a way DayZ got caught up in the middle of. With the consoles hitting the end of their life, it would seem PC gaming appears - in the short term at least - to be pushing forward pretty strongly," he continued.

"It's really too early to say what impact it would have for development of projects like DayZ, much of our backend architecture is already running on Linux.  One of the key attributes I think DayZ can claim its success on, is that it doesn't try to be simple. I don't think simplicity inherently means something is better, and this is the concern I think many people have with the focus toward touch-screen technology. Apple have taken the concept of simplicity and driven a closed platform market from it; it works for them because that is what they have been selling as a concept since day one.  But it is just that, a closed platform. The PC experience is very different; this whole scenario feels much like the Microsoft I recall upending the Microsoft Flight Simulator franchise, a decision that I couldn't figure out whether I was more angry or puzzled by."

"Overall, it feels too early to say for most of us I think. It's definitely a concern, there are some worrying statements that make you wonder whether the intention is to try and emulate what their competitors are doing, or drive their own space through innovation. My preference is always for the latter," Hall concluded.

Hugh Jeremy of Unknown Worlds would like more details about Windows 8 to properly judge it, but he's hoping for an open platform.

"For a small developer, a relatively open platform is an enormous benefit. That benefit is the ability to produce, distribute, patch and support content without engaging with the platform provider. Look at what happened to Fez on the Xbox 360. Walled gardens like the App Store, consoles, and now Windows Store can eliminate or damage that benefit, and that is not good for us," Jeremy commented.

"It is not good for our ability to produce great games and to be responsive to the needs of players. We don't know yet if Steam, and our products, will be able to operate effectively outside the Windows Store / Metro environment. There's time left and details still to come, so we are staying optimistic and will have to wait and see what the Windows 8 launch brings."

Chris Delay, Introversion's lead designer, was perhaps the most pessimistic about Microsoft and Windows 8 overall.

"I really hate the general concept of 'closing down' Windows, and this seems to be where Microsoft are intending to go," he told us. "Nothing scares me more than the thought that one day, all Windows apps may have to be certified by Microsoft before they can be released and installed on users computers. That just fills me with dread because I've been on the receiving end of Microsoft's certification process for Darwinia+ (Xbox Live Arcade)."

"What scares me about Microsoft is how the requirements will grow over time... and before you know it we'll be coding Bing search boxes into our game menus"

Chris Delay

"Jon Blow wrote an excellent article recently about how stupid the whole system is - every developer forced to spend weeks working on requirements like the save system warning messages, Xbox controller support, title safe area etc. And there was also the case of Fez recently having to choose between a $40,000 fee to release a patch to their game, or leave in a save game corruption bug that affected 1% of all users. What kind of company thinks it's acceptable to charge developers $40,000 to patch their game? Microsoft. They are such a massive company that they just can't help themselves introducing layers and layers of bureaucracy that just make it harder to reach the customer and harder to release a product."

Jonathan Blow, when asked, didn't have much to say. He hasn't really looked at Windows 8 yet, but he did comment that "it doesn't sound like a good idea to me, though."

Delay continued, noting that Microsoft's policies are only causing more hard work for indie developers.

"It took us three years to design, produce and release Darwinia and we had two developers. Darwinia+ for Xbox Live Arcade took four years and we ended up with more than ten staff by the end. For a port! That is the direct impact of Microsoft's requirements on a small indie game developer," he lamented.   "Not to mention the PC was founded as an open platform - literally anyone can make a program or a game and put a download up, and anyone else can install it and run it. As a core principle that is incredibly powerful, and I'm convinced it's a major factor in the PCs success, and the fact the PC continues to live on and grow over decades, where other devices and consoles come and go."

For Delay, it's as if Microsoft completely fails to understand what makes a good PC environment.

"While I'm on the topic, what is Microsoft thinking with its new Metro start menu? The Windows 7 desktop still exists in Windows 8, but where previously you'd click the start button or press the start key and get a neat Start menu bottom left with your recent apps and a search box, now you get a massive fullscreen app with huge flat shaded rectangles for each program, horizontally scrollable through multiple screens to fit all your apps in. It feels like Microsoft got so scared of Apple and the success of the iPhone and iPad that they invented a (quite decent) tablet interface of their own that was perfect for 7 - 10" handheld touch devices, but then in a moment of extreme stupidity decided it must apply to every Windows device ever made from that point onwards," he said.

"Never mind that PCs have mice and keyboards and not touch screens, and 27-inch monitors in which the new icons are 6 inches high. Even Apple haven't replaced their desktop Mac OSX with the iPad interface - the two paradigms are fundamentally different and require a different approach. And for that reason I won't be installing Windows 8 until there is a preferences option to bring back the 'classic' start menu and desktop, and move the Metro 'App' into a single launch button on the start menu where it belongs."

Ultimately, Delay is fearful that Microsoft's list of requirements will get lengthier and more intrusive as time goes by.

"All App Stores have requirements, and it seems reasonable to have some for the new Windows 8 store. I don't mind this, the Apple App store for Mac OSX is the same with a small set of requirements before you can release anything, but you can always install things outside of the app store anyway. I prefer installing things from the Mac App Store because it brings a level of quality, but I'm not forced to. I can still install Steam after downloading it from the website, and Steam can install my games for me," he continued.

"What scares me about Microsoft is how the requirements will grow over time - they won't be able to resist eventually requiring Xbox controller support, then Xbox Live Arcade avatar integration, then tablet touch input, then Kinect support, and before you know it we'll be coding Bing search boxes into our game menus. The list of requirements for Xbox Live Arcade virtually doubled in size during Darwinia+'s development, and ended up including items about the Rock Band drum kit and guitar and stuff like that."

If Microsoft isn't careful, it could scare away developers in droves. But perhaps it won't really matter. As Chris Hecker (who's currently working on SpyParty) pointed out to us, developers will always find a platform to offer their games on.

"I don't actually know much about Windows 8, to be honest.  I tend to treat those kinds of things as 'the weather'; as a developer I can't control it.  The variable I have direct control over is game quality, and so if I turn that up as high as I can, I have to assume there will be some place to sell my game when I'm done."

Wise words that perhaps more developers should pay heed to.

29 Comments

Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game

1,255 421 0.3
On the release preview every desktop program from Win7 I've tried to install has run, I haven't tried Steam as I didn't want to double up on my games library on a small partition.
But anyone saying, "We don't know if Steam will work," why not install the release preview and install Steam. If it works, whoohoo, you can stop worrying for now. If not you can start moaning with the validation of not using phrases like, "We don't yet know if...".
The touch screen emphasis is a more valid criticism, but I suspect by next year most prepackaged PC desktops and laptops will come with touch monitors. A lot of all in one desktops do already.

Posted:2 years ago

#1

Andrew Lee Pearson Studying Game Designer, Train2Game

24 1 0.0
Yeah another article of angry people saying Windows 8 is bad and they haven't even tested it yet, well we have tested it and works perfectly fine.

Posted:2 years ago

#2

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,630 1,509 0.9
The touch screen emphasis is a more valid criticism, but I suspect by next year most prepackaged PC desktops and laptops will come with touch monitors. A lot of all in one desktops do already
What troubles me is that I think the touchscreen Metro interface is an appalling business decision. The article focuses on dev concerns (whether perceived or actual), but something that hasn't been asked is "Do consumers want a touchscreen driven desktop?" This could cause serious issues for the desktop PC market if MS have gauged this badly. How many average Joes want a mobile interface with there desktop? Far as I'm aware, the average PC buyer wants to surf the web, watch things and write Word documents. Anything that makes any of that harder will have a knock-on effect where the user may end up junking their shiny Win8 PC for a Mac, simply because it's not worth the effort. And that ends up affecting the total PC userbase.

Yes, there's unlikely to be a lot who do that, but it's still something that's a very real possibility.

Posted:2 years ago

#3

Thomas Dolby Project Manager / Lead Programmer, Ai Solve

342 293 0.9
What amazes me is that Microsoft don't seem to be doing anything to quieten these fears. They seem quite happy to sit back and watch all the opinions fly around creating a PR nightmare, occasionally throwing in a mention of something like "hey guys, now you're not even going to be able to boot to the desktop side of the OS, that includes you enterprise users!" to just fuel the fire. Will be interesting to see where things end up this time next year.

Posted:2 years ago

#4
There is a very simple solution to this... don't use or support Windows 8 (i.e. Metro). Support Windows 7, and let the consumers either use the Windows 7 part of Windows 8 - or just plain use Win7.

Posted:2 years ago

#5

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,630 1,509 0.9
@ Michael

The thing is, how many PC manufacturers are going to pre-install Win8 on their products? If Dell, Acer, Asus, Samsung all start selling new products with Win8 on their machines, then the only consumers who are going to choose Win7/Win7 Mode are those savvy enough to know that Win8 isn't a great choice, or those who try Win8 and don't like it. And both groups are then going to have to spend time and money working out how to get it to boot into Win7 Mode or buy and clean install Win7.

Core gamers won't care (they'll have the time and money to buy and install Win7, or pirate it), but the casual market? Again, time and effort.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 7th August 2012 1:26pm

Posted:2 years ago

#6

Brian Lewis Operations Manager, Aeria Games Europe

141 93 0.7
These articles are not presenting themselves well.... because they have an agenda that they dont want to make clear. The issue is the windows 8 app store, and the requirements for apps to appear in this store. Nothing much has really changed in regards to developing games... it is about the inclusion of an app store directly into the OS, and how Microsoft is requiring developers to meet specific standards in order to be listed.

This is really a Windows Store vs Steam issue (like the old i.e. vs netscape issue). The push for digital distribution is extremely important in the short term, and developers are concerned that they might lose out if Microsoft can dominate the market via its new app store (and they are not included).

Posted:2 years ago

#7

Paul Shirley Programmers

178 150 0.8
@Brian&Tom - MS want a world where 'the UI that used to be called Metro' is Windows and desktop is some rump compatibility mode. A world where users expect your game to be Metro or at least findable in the app store.

Don't underestimate the chance of MS achieving this, it always surprised me how many PC gamers refuse to buy a game they can't activate on Steam. Or how many seem happy with iPhone ;) Even users that should know better will happily limit their choices if its made easy.

Microsoft aren't so much making it easy to go Metro as making it hard not to. And that's the problem. By the time the competition authorities give them a slapping it will be too late.

@Andrew Goodchild: I have never worked with a monitor within comfortable touching distance. I doubt I ever will. Doesn't matter how hard it becomes to avoid touch enabled monitors, my arms aren't going to get longer, my ability to hold them horizontal stretched out won't improve enough and Metro will not make any more sense on my desktop. There is no sane justification for it on the desktop, it's purely a way to promote unrelated products (WP7/8 and tablets) and not for my benefit as a user.

@Andrew Lee Pearson: the gaming discussion has little to do with how well Win8 works (or doesn't). Its the long term strategic implications. The UI complaints are a side effect of Microsoft screwing over users to further those strategic aims. Win8 desktop mode might well work perfectly but MS are intent on migrating everyone to Metro, willingly or otherwise, regardless of whether that UI is better or worse for users.

Posted:2 years ago

#8

Joshua Rose Executive Producer / Lead Designer, Storm Eagle Studios

191 81 0.4
I guess I'm one of the few that sees Windows 8 as an good thing wrapped in a multitude of rumors and bad opinions.

Microsoft added the Metro start menu for one reason (which we all know), and that is touch screen compatability. What most people don't realize (or choose to overlook because it's the evil Microsoft) is that Windows 8 was designed from the ground up to accomodate touch screen in such a way, that the same operating system will be loaded on to phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, and any other gadget people decide to come out with that needs an OS.

One other thing that I've heard (and again like everything else, this is a rumor that I can't confirm), Windows 8 will backwards compatible for pretty much every past Microsoft operating system. So in theory, any game made for any MS operating system since the beginning, should be able to run on Windows 8. Whether this is true, we will see. But one thing's for sure, I dont think people realize the potential of Windows 8.

Yes there's a dumb looking start menu (for desktop users), for all I know, there's a setting that allows you to use the classic start menu (as referenced by others in this thread). But remember, this OS is NOT designed for JUST PC's...

Think of the ease of porting your game from one platform to another. It will be slim to none simply because it's the same OS on the computer, on the tablet, and on the phone.

Final comments: I think microsoft hasn't been confirming or denying rumors at all because they don't want their competition to know what's coming. What their plans are not just for the immediate release (because anybody with half a brain could have downloaded the windows 8 Beta and seen what it was about), but what their plans are for the forseeable/unforseeable future.

As far as Linux gaming goes: People were saying that Linux was going to become a major leading operating system and will be essential to the future of gaming for the past 5 - 10 years. I still haven't seen much change other than the stereotypes that everybody already knows:

Windows users lol at Mac users, Mac users lol at Windows users, and Linux users lol at everybody.

Posted:2 years ago

#9

Wayne Gibson UK Marketing Manager for GameKrib.com

69 8 0.1
Let the European court sort MS out if they try to shove their Market place down our throats and make Steam/Origin unusable.

Posted:2 years ago

#10

Antony Cain Lecturer, Wakefield College

263 21 0.1
Let the European court sort MS out if they try to shove their Market place down our throats and make Steam/Origin unusable.
Forgive my ignorance on this but why is it OK for my Mac/iPhone/iPad/etc to come with Safari and the App store but not acceptable for Microsoft to do something similar?

I have no strong opinion either way, just curious.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Antony Cain on 7th August 2012 4:42pm

Posted:2 years ago

#11

Rod Oracheski Editor, Star News

58 23 0.4
Windows 8 loses literally nothing from Windows 7, so far as openness of the platform. All that is still there, just pushed back for a focus on the Metro UI that they want to run across all their products. Steam still works fine. I can even add a Steam icon to the Metro UI startup.

The only 'walled garden' is the RT line for tablets that only allows Metro apps. That's really no different than Apple's iOS.

I'm amazed, with a preview version widely available, that there's been this much "well I don't know, but it SOUNDS bad" stuff circulating still. Take the time to actually look into it.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Rod Oracheski on 7th August 2012 5:10pm

Posted:2 years ago

#12

Semi Essessi Programmer, Escapist Games Ltd

1 1 1.0
I really don't see the big problem...

Far and away by miles the best Windows for indie developers yet. The tools are free and the store handles all the annoyances better than, e.g. Steam.

Maybe I miss something, but none of Gabe's criticisms said anything to me other than "I don't want MS to have a monopoly, but I want to keep my monopoly". There is no reason why Steam won't work on Windows 8, even on ARM devices, its just going to seem pointless when the Store is there, their submission process is easier and their quality of service for the user is better.

I do dislike the idea that MS are hosting it and it comes pre-packaged on PCs etc, but the reasons are selfish because I'd like to see more competition in that space - I have no rational justification for it though. Reminds me of the fuss about IE... however, its significantly less restrictive than what Apple have done for OS X and iOS, from the users perspective it is absolutely the right thing..

All I hear is naïve resistance, the kind that programmers should be incapable of by virtue of being intelligent enough to write code... the idea that Win 8 is bad for indies is thoroughly unjustified.

Posted:2 years ago

#13

Sam Brown Programmer, Cool Games Ltd.

235 164 0.7
All this reminds me of the time Ubuntu ditched the Gnome UI and started using Unity instead, for much the same purported reasons. Because of this I still haven't upgraded past 10.04. ^_^

Posted:2 years ago

#14
@Joshua Rose - "Think of the ease of porting your game from one platform to another. It will be slim to none simply because it's the same OS on the computer, on the tablet, and on the phone."

Woah! Stop right there. You're kidding yourself if you think it's going to be easy & a good thing. In a past life I used to program & port mobile phone games, back before the iPhone & Android. Pretty much every game we made was written in Java ME (of "Build once, run anywhere" fame). Just coping with the differences between different specs of phone was a nightmare (on average we had to make about 150 unique build configurations for each game). I can only imagine the hell you would have to go through to get something working on a top of the range gaming machine (with keyboard, mouse, joysticks etc), and on a low budget mobile phone with nothing but an accelerometer and single touch screen.

The common approach back in those days was to cater for the lowest common denominator... Features & quality were lost simply simply so that the game would run on low spec devices. That's something I really don't want to see happening to PC games.



On another point I can see how Microsoft want to unify their OS across all devices, but why? The more generic you make your OS, the less useful it is for each specific device. Touch-screen on a phone / Tablet - Fine, that could be quite useful, they don't usually have a mouse or keyboard. But on a PC? I have a desk, ergonomic mouse-mats & arm rests for my keyboard, so why would I want to have to lean forward with my arms out-streatched to touch my my monitor? I know it's an efficient way to obscure my view of the screen, smear fingerprints on it and make my arms tired all at the same time, but is that something I really need in a PC? Really?


Perhaps there wouldn't be quite so much opposition to the default Metro UI if it looked a little nicer? At the moment it looks more like a website designed by someone that's just realised to can add different coloured backgrounds to each cell in a table (but haven't yet worked out RGB colour codes so instead they just use "Red", "Yellow" "Brown", and "Make-your-eyes-bleed-green").

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Christopher Beckford on 7th August 2012 5:46pm

Posted:2 years ago

#15

Rod Oracheski Editor, Star News

58 23 0.4
"The common approach back in those days was to cater for the lowest common denominator... Features & quality were lost simply simply so that the game would run on low spec devices. That's something I really don't want to see happening to PC games."

That already happens to PC games. Valve's hardware surveys show them where the money is, and it's not high-end machines. Left 4 Dead 2 looks okay, but it could certainly have looked a whole lot better if they would have targeted higher-end machines (and weren't using such an old engine).

Sounds like Source 2 is in the works, so maybe they'll be stepping up the requirements in the future.

Posted:2 years ago

#16
@Rod
True, but High-end pc -> low-end pc isn't as big a jump as High-end pc -> low-end Phone. Graphics wise it could improve. Mobile graphics are improving all the time after all, but I worry about people dumbing down a game that you can play with a PC's mouse and keyboard to a single-touch phone.

Posted:2 years ago

#17

Paul Shirley Programmers

178 150 0.8
@Joshua Rose: seeing comments like yours frightens me. People in positions of influence who commenting without any checking must gladden hearts in Microsoft.

"for all I know, there's a setting that allows you to use the classic start menu"

Yes, there was a hack to do it (no official way). To stop people using it MS ripped out the start menu code, it's simply not there any longer. So far they've not blocked 3rd party replacements.

It was also possible to bypass the new start screen at logon. They blocked that in the RTM build, only discovered in the last 24 hours on leaked copies.

"Think of the ease of porting your game from one platform to another"

On paper an RT build will indeed 'just work' across phone,tab and PC. And you'll have to sell that through the Microsoft store because that's the only way to install RT apps. You may find that convenient, some of us prefer an open platform without MS interference.

"any game made for any MS operating system since the beginning, should be able to run on Windows 8."

The same was true for Win95->XP->Vista->Win7. Except for the programmes that didn't work. What makes you think it will work better this time? What makes you think MS can resist the chance to let desktop mode stagnate? This is the same company that tried to kill OpenGL in favour of their own tech.

Strip away the 'Metro'/RT stuff and Win8 is a slightly better Win7 core that MS are trying very hard to stop anyone treating as just a better Win7. Doing it because no-one wants WinPhones and they have a handy desktop monopoly to leverage.

I'm damned if I'll sleep walk into a world where MS have stripped away all my control over my own devices.

Posted:2 years ago

#18

Steve Nicholls Programmer

66 29 0.4
Honestly enough already, everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. It will be a non issue. Talk about overreacting.

Posted:2 years ago

#19

Andrew Jakobs Lead Programmer

242 99 0.4
The only time you need to 'certify' your app is when you're going the Metro route, which means you'll have to go through the windowsstore.. But the current way of building PC games is still completely available on Windows 8. The advantage of going Windows metro is that your app will also run on windows RT (ARM) tablets..

But once MS is going to lock out the desktop (which they won't with regular Windows 8) THEN you should worry..

Posted:2 years ago

#20

Kessia Thomas Studying 3D Computer Animation, University of the West of Scotland

16 1 0.1
I installed the release preview, played with it for a couple of hours, decided that the metro interface was simply NOT for a PC platform and killed the install. It is a baaaaad idea. fine for laptops and tablet devices but for a desktop system no. I may be alone in this but having greasy finger prints all over my screen while trying to work in Maya or Mudbox drives me absolutely insane.
I've been in the computer industry since WFWG3.1 and like a lot of people, I'm not happy with the idea of Microsoft 'locking down' windows and forcing users to go through an App store to get new apps and forcing the developer to go through lengthy and expensive procedures to make their product acceptable. The whole success of Windows was the SDK and making the platform open and free to create software for. If Jobs had done the same with MacOS, all those decades ago, we'd all be using Macs. Microsoft has been getting to big for its boots for decades and now it seems as if it has gone insane at the same time. Good luck MS, Win8 will not be finding its way on to any of my workstations.

Posted:2 years ago

#21

Rod Oracheski Editor, Star News

58 23 0.4
Oh if only you could use the Metro interface with your mouse instead of touching the screen...

Posted:2 years ago

#22

Dave Knudson Sr. Technology Manager, Electronic Arts

42 7 0.2
This seems like a problem that solves itself. If Win8 is really terrible, then there's nothing to worry about. Win7's operational lifetime would be extended, another OS refresh might be hastened, and perhaps whatever the public (or enterprise) hates is addressed in SP1.

If it does end up being a hit with consumers, then there is a need to adapt. Even then, I don't think there is any real impact on games themselves...it's the delivery and discovery methods that need to be adapted.

Posted:2 years ago

#23

Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd

343 812 2.4
I do suspect the case for Metro drawing people away from the traditional desktop purely because it's the first thing you see on bootup is being somewhat overstated.

People use PCs to play games, browse the web, and use productivity software. Usually while multitasking heavily. And they do so with mouse and keys. This entire pattern of use is at least made unfamiliar, if not severely compromised, when working through Metro. For people who moaned about the Ribbon UI, this would be 1000x worse.

Chrome and Firefox have made significant in-roads on IE. PC users' expectations are to be able to use the software of their choice to achieve their aims, something which environments like iOS have never intended to offer.

Even with Microsoft's internal politics in the dysfunctional state that they're in, I would hope that the feedback they're getting from beta testers, added to the concerns of Valve, Blizzard, Mojang, etc., would at least lead them to offer the option to banish Metro completely when not running on a touchscreen device. If not at launch at least in the first service pack.

I think I'll hang on to a Windows 7 disc for a while just in case.

Posted:2 years ago

#24

Simon Garner Managing Director, Gameplanet NZ

11 5 0.5
The whole success of Windows was the SDK and making the platform open and free to create software for. If Jobs had done the same with MacOS, all those decades ago, we'd all be using Macs.
Wait, what? Developing applications for MacOS was just as "open" and "free" as developing Windows apps. Windows had no advantage in that regard whatsoever - heck, if there were any truth in that line of argument, we'd all be using Linux, not Windows.

In fact, as far as development goes, OS X is even more literally free than Windows now - as Apple offers the Xcode IDE as a free download for anyone to make Mac software, whereas you have to pay to buy Visual Studio for Windows development.

However, as of Mountain Lion the new Gatekeeper security "feature" blocks users from installing apps that haven't come from the App Store (unless you turn Gatekeeper off, which you'd expect most users won't). So while you can make an app for free, releasing it is another matter.

By contrast, in Windows 8 only Metro apps will be required to be distributed through the Windows Store. From what Microsoft has said so far, desktop apps will remain freely distributable. As long as that's the case, I don't think developers need be too concerned.

But of course, it wouldn't be much of a leap for Microsoft to lock down the desktop as well, and I think that's why you're seeing this level of alarm coming from Valve, Blizzard, et al.

Posted:2 years ago

#25

Sam Brown Programmer, Cool Games Ltd.

235 164 0.7
whereas you have to pay to buy Visual Studio for Windows development.
Actually, the Enterprise version of Visual Studio has been free for a long time (at least 2003), and you don't have to use it for Windows programming anyway (I've happily used GNU), but I take your point. The comparison isn't really valid.

If I remember correctly, MS's Windows/IE antitrust issues were mostly to do with it being the dominant operating system - it was on 90% of computers at the time. But iOS is nowhere near that dominant in any sector of the market, so they'll probably avoid a problem (for now). However I could easily see it being an issue for MS again if they adopt a walled garden, which may cause the authorities to take a second look at Apple. Who knows? This is law, nothing is certain. ^_^

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Sam Brown on 8th August 2012 8:19am

Posted:2 years ago

#26

Peter De Jong CEO, Codeglue

1 2 2.0
First of all it's a shame we don't hear both sides in this article (was Microsoft asked to respond?). And an opinion from someone that doesn't know Windows 8 that well, or hasn't tried it, well what should I say?

We use Windows 8 quite a lot now, and it's basically an improved and faster version of Windows 7. It has that extra Metro layer, which you can like or dislike, true.

I don't see why you can't publish your apps/games outside the (Metro) Store. As far as I know nothing has changed, the platform is still open, unless you want to be in the Metro Store. This is exactly how things work on a Mac. Nobodies is crying about that.

And... Steam just runs fine on Windows 8. We run Steam games on our Windows 8 machines all the time!

One of our game programmers wrote a blog post on all the Windows 8 flaming that goes on right now. At least it's an opinion of someone who has used the platform for 6 months now : http://dgoemans.wordpress.com/2012/06/12/is-the-windows-8-hate-justified/

Posted:2 years ago

#27

Florent Castelnerac Managing Director, Nadeo

3 0 0.0
It's about culture.

If you want to bring the majority if people to use your OS the opposite way it is supposed to be, then you are bringing things in the wrong direction. Steam made a lot for games on Windows. If you are put in the back of the car when you deserve to be in front, you can annoyed.

People came to Windows in spite of it: virus, price, update hassle and long history of malfunctionning OS (BSOD) Some came because of the work compatibility and some came for entertainement with games. I doubt Metro is for the productivity work side of the OS, so it is probably designed for entertainement/games.

And at the very end, when you see how people made efforts to play on PC, I doubt they will have trouble to use the Windows 8 desktop part of the system or to stay win Windows 7.

It is just a culture issue for developpers, but it can end as the real one for MS: developers will start to seriously look for other platforms, prepare for it and be ready to jump out of the wagon when it go in a dangerous slope. And to prepare yourself means to develop for other platforms, with other API, to potentially start to make your market on it, etc. And without the real issue being there, you start to do it. So, it is just about culture, but it can move a lot. And this article is a good symptom of this.

In fact, it is really simple: some billlions of MS come from the sells of the OS, and it is deserved for the service they bring to the devs who make the applications on it. DirectX is a good example of it. If this service starts to diminish, there is less reason for the billlions to be made and resources brought by clients will go elsewhere, like hardware and games.

And this is why I think they will reverse.

Microsoft should find a solution to help download/sells and updates of softwares like Steam does, but potentially without the price cut/approval path/hosting etc. As far as I remember the story, Valve ask for this feature set to be integrated in the OS but they now operates it like Microsfot wants to do a little for Windows 8 I think. So, as long as Steam did not found another solution, I would not make too many critics. And maybe I am wrong on all the line here, but it is only what I can think with my knowledge.

So, it is about culture.

And I agree that too many comments are made in one direction only. If Microsoft is able to bring all tablet users and wide audience to Windows, it can do a lot of good for the game sellers on Windows as well, especially more wide audience games. It may be the common mistake of the advanced user who wants his world to stay as it is, as expert as it is, without taking real care of the wider audience. If they did not developped more on Apple before, maybe it was for good reason. So, maybe it is a good news for them that Microsoft try to stay in the game. But they need to stay in both world at the same time and progress on both sides. For Windows 8, they better start to say what they have now on the gamers side of things.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Florent Castelnerac on 8th August 2012 2:23pm

Posted:2 years ago

#28

Sergio Rosa "Somewhat-Creative Director", Domaginarium

66 41 0.6
Quoting Bryan Lewis: "This is really a Windows Store vs Steam issue (like the old i.e. vs netscape issue). The push for digital distribution is extremely important in the short term, and developers are concerned that they might lose out if Microsoft can dominate the market via its new app store (and they are not included)."
My thoughts exactly

Posted:2 years ago

#29

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