It’s not often you’ll see us address the launch of a new operating system, but Windows 8 is something of a special case. It’s one of the boldest moves Microsoft has made in years, and shows how strongly they believe in the tablet market. Oh, and it’s been touted by many as a serious danger to PC gaming.
Most of the fears surrounding Windows 8 were birthed from the OS’s gated app market, along with the confusion surrounding how you escape the Metro interface to download programs elsewhere. Notch of Minecraft fame has been very vocal about these particular issues, and rightfully so. Although it’s possible to avoid the Microsoft-run storefront and download programs from wherever you like, it’s never good to see an open-platform mold itself into something a little less… open.
This isn’t the only place the operating system seesaws back-and-forth between a convoluted ethos. As mentioned, the Metro interface can be hopped in and out of, enabling users to immediately shift over to a structure not unlike that of Windows 7. But even with this option, the OS is going to throw a very serious learning curve at the non-tech savvy who have used Windows XP, Windows 7, or (dare I say it) Windows Vista for a long time. Metro has the potential to streamline much of what this audience uses a computer for – email, surfing the web, etc – but as Valve’s Gabe Newell has stated in the past, it’s just as possible people will “rage quit computing” after having to use it. Extreme though it may sound, it feels akin to fixing something that's in no way broken, considering what little this demographic will reap from a changed UI.
And in case you harbor any fears about whether the current iteration of Windows 8 will affect the way you use Steam, it won't! You can fire it up the same as ever, and this applies to pretty much any game or program you currently own. As such, the crux of the concerns laid out above hinge more around potential than they do the current state of things. A gated market in Windows 8 could prove troublesome if Microsoft opts to go whole-hog and close the entire platform. As it is now, though, it’s a superfluous addition that gamers can ignore if they’d prefer.
I wish I could comment on how the operating system functions on Microsoft's newly-launched tablets, but I've not yet been able to get my hands on one. I suspect there will be a game drought for a while, but that has more to do with the current Apple and Android dominance of the tablet market.
Now that I’ve gone and said my piece, I’d love to hear what the rest of you think about Windows 8. Should I hate it more than I do? Praise it with endless enthusiasm? Let’s talk about it in the comments!