This week, Microsoft released Windows 8 to manufacturing, which means the new OS has officially hit “RTM” status. Developers and OEM manufacturers will get access to the final code shortly, and the countdown to the death of PC gaming as we know it has begun. Am I being a bit extremist here? Absolutely not.
Valve’s Gabe Newell, a Microsoft veteran, made headlines when he called Windows 8 a “catastrophe“, and not long after he said that; Blizzard’s Rob Pardo replied via Twitter that Win8 wasn’t good for Blizzard either. And now Minecraft creator Notch was doing a bit on Reddit where he went off on how bad Windows 8 will be for indie developers.
Why are these big name developers lashing out against the new Windows? Because thanks to Microsoft’s money grab, the OS will kill not only OEM suppliers; but also the PC gaming industry as we know it.
You see, in Windows 8 all applications and games must be officially licensed by Microsoft. Either in retail or through Microsoft’s Windows 8 store, developers have to pay a license fee to Microsoft to get their apps to run on the operating system. This also means the popular digital distribution storefronts, such as Steam, Origin, and Impulse cannot run on Windows 8 as the only distribution platform allowed is the Windows Store.
Windows 8 is locked down, and the actual wording of the documents that developers like Blizzard and Valve have access to tells them that Microsoft considers it illegal to run any application on Windows 8 that isn’t licensed by them. There’s a reason why Microsoft hasn’t really been talking about this; as they know the backlash for it would be epic. Luckily we have developers like Gabe, Blizzard, and Notch who aren’t afraid to speak out over Microsoft locking down their main OS and killing PC gaming.
I should add here that last week Apple released OS 10.8 Mountain Lion, and in it is a feature called “Gatekeeper”. While this feature, which locks out apps not in the Mac App Store, is on by default; users can very easily turn it off. Windows 8 does not have that ability.