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Why Valve Wants To Port Games To Linux: Because Windows 8 Is a Catastrophe 880

An anonymous reader writes "Gabe Newell wants to support Linux because he think Windows 8 is a catastrophe for everyone in PC space. He wants to move away from a closed ecosystem of Microsoft Windows 8. He recently made a rare appearance at Casual Connect, an annual videogame conference in Seattle. From the allthingsd article: 'The big problem that is holding back Linux is games. People don't realize how critical games are in driving consumer purchasing behavior. We want to make it as easy as possible for the 2,500 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.' Some Linux users think that this is a win-win situation for Linux users as it will brings good game titles on the Linux system that haven't been there and it will protect steam business model from both Apple and Microsoft."
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Why Valve Wants To Port Games To Linux: Because Windows 8 Is a Catastrophe

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  • Re:Good luck... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @08:54AM (#40775765) Homepage

    Most of the games on Steam will be DirectX, not OpenGL.

  • He's Right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rodrigoandrade ( 713371 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @08:56AM (#40775791)

    Look no further than iOS and Android. No matter what the fanbois of each platform say, games invariably are among the top downloads.

  • TFA != TFS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sarten-X ( 1102295 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @08:58AM (#40775817) Homepage

    So the summary is implying that several years ago when Linux Steam work began, somehow Valve knew that Windows 8 would be bad even before Microsoft had done much with it beyond initial planning? TFA actually presents a much more balanced picture: Gabe Newell had an interview, and spoke about many things including wearable computers, open platforms, and Linux support. As usual, the Slashdot submitter posted the most inflammatory piece, and the editors like it that way. TFA only even mentions Windows once, in the quote TFS copied!

  • by acidfast7 ( 551610 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @08:58AM (#40775819)

    the real thing holding back Linux is games?

    how about the fact that opening MS Office docs on Linux with one of the many "Open Office" solutions is still a nightmare?

  • And.... (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 26, 2012 @08:59AM (#40775831)

    Most folks will continue using Win7, etc, until Windows 9....and the number of Linux users that are gamers will remain unchanged.

    gabe is a tard.

  • by Kelerei ( 2619511 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @08:59AM (#40775837) Homepage

    In my opinion, the biggest hurdle that Valve will face won't be porting Steam itself over to Linux, but porting the library of games over.

    While I don't know what the actual facts and figures are, I think that it's a fairly safe bet that most of the games on there will have been coded around Microsoft's DirectX graphics API, making the games themselves Windows-only. Yes, they can be rewritten to use OpenGL instead, but this would require substantial effort -- Valve would have the resources to do this with their own titles, but some of the other publishers on Steam may be of the opinion that it's not worth the effort.

    This is as close to a perfect example as one can get as to why vendor lock-in is a bad thing. Arguably, the DirectX lock-in is probably why gaming on OS X hasn't really taken off either.

    Still, this move by Valve could well be the snowball that sets off the avalanche...

  • by teg ( 97890 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @09:00AM (#40775843) Homepage

    Even if games was a major factor in holding Linux back, just making Steam available is not going to fix that.

    Steam was launched for Mac two years ago [], but other than Valve's own games the only top game that has been made available is Civilization V. Some indie games, sure, and Blizzard's games are available outside Steam, but all the other games are just as absent as they were before Steam was ported.

  • by Rooked_One ( 591287 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @09:04AM (#40775889) Journal
    for the first time, or at all, BECAUSE of games? I know I did. I know that they taught me lots of things - especially even just programming very rudimentary games on the apple deuce in 7th and 8th grade. That gave me a huge appreciation for computers, what they can do, and what a good product looks like. My text based zork type games were very easy to write, however the pixelized boxing game (that I was creating with the wrong process) took many many lines of code and required mass critical thinking.

    And I can relate this to what was supposed to be a huge blockbuster, although I don't know if their programmers are just new, inexperienced, or just don't know what a good game is - or, they were told to dumb it down as the company wanted an incoming stream of income like they had with their graphical chat room (WoW).
  • Re:TFA != TFS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 26, 2012 @09:04AM (#40775897)

    I'm guessing that the Steam on Linux work began as a side project for more-or-less bored Valve employees, who, as I understand it, get significant leeway as to what they spend (part of) their time on. Later, though, when it became apparent that Windows 8 appeared to be a crappy OS, Gabe and other seniors realised that this Steam on Linux thingy might actually be a very very good idea to finish before long. Meaning they allocated more resources (including hiring new people) to the project, and actually, you know, acknowledging its existance.

  • Re:Good luck... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by binarylarry ( 1338699 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @09:05AM (#40775909)

    Hell, ATI/AMD has been trying to make working OpenGL drivers for longer than that!

  • by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @09:06AM (#40775931)
    Because in order to stay modern they are going to have to make Steam compatible and integrate it well with Windows 8 because that is what a huge chunk of PC users are going to use simply because the OEM slapped it on there.
  • by MetalliQaZ ( 539913 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @09:15AM (#40776013)

    ... is DRIVERS!!! Good luck getting real open source drivers out of Nvidia, ATI/AMD, and Intel for their graphics hardware.

  • by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @09:17AM (#40776049)

    The problem for Valve is that Windows 8 is going down the app store route, and the main point of Steam is really to be an easy download and auto-update platform for games. Sure, Steam does other things too, but if it weren't for the distribution channel (which is the only distribution channel for Valve's own big name games) I don't really believe anyone would stick with it just for the minor perks. This leaves only two possibilities:

    1. Steam has a powerful lock-in. In this case, a lot of people who have spent a lot of money with them based basically on trust are about to have their faith questioned. Since Steam's standards terms and conditions are a joke as far as guaranteeing anything to anyone but themselves, this leaves two variations:

    1a. They will do right by their customers at almost any price, assuming this is even possible with whatever technical and commercial infrastructure MS adopts to go with Windows 8. This might save their reputation and business model, but would surely hurt Valve's bottom line significantly.

    1b. They can't or won't pay that price and customers who move to Windows 8 will suffer a worse user experience, limited ability to buy new games, or in the worst case lose access to the existing library they've already paid for. In any case, Steam will take a huge PR hit that will at best severely damage Valve's credibility.

    2. Steam's lock-in isn't that powerful. In this case, Microsoft can beat them at their own game (no pun intended) and outright steal their business.

    There are exactly zero outcomes in there that are positive for Steam, and some represent an existential threat.

  • Re:Good luck... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by crazyjj ( 2598719 ) * on Thursday July 26, 2012 @09:20AM (#40776071)

    In an era where Apple can patent a fucking rectangle with rounded corners, you can bet pretty much EVERYTHING is patented these days. It's almost guaranteed that the second you achieve any success at all on a given product, reversed engineered or not, you *will* be sued (probably by multiple companies).

  • by obarthelemy ( 160321 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @09:25AM (#40776141)

    Steam is an appstore, Windows 8 too.

    Yep, it's a catastrophe. For Steam.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @09:29AM (#40776183) Journal

    Windows 8 is a catastrophe only for those who use it with a keyboard and mouse.

    It's also a catastrophe if your business model involves running a 3rd party app store. Good luck competing against Microsoft, Gabe.

    +1 for identifying the second horn of the dilemma.

    On the one hand, if MS underperforms, their historical platform buddies face the real risk(at least outside of enterprise stuff, where entrenchment goes a lot deeper) that Apple will eat into the desktop/laptop/portable segment(and Apple has made it fairly clear that 3rd-party vendors are forbidden on iOS and grudgingly permitted, for now, on OSX) with Sony on consoles and a somewhat chaotic flux of Android devices on mobile.

    On the other hand, if MS does a good job, they have their fingers in, or heading for, so many of their platform partner's pies that that won't clearly be a win for those platform partners. They've got their own application store, their own cloud/SaaS thing, their own console, an unknown-but-enough-to-make-the-OEMs-nervous amount of their own PC and tablet hardware, their own pet phone company...

    Getting the Steam catalog to 'Just Work' on linux isn't going to be a picnic; but you can't exactly blame them for looking for plan B.

  • Re:He's Right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mjwx ( 966435 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @09:30AM (#40776201)

    Look no further than iOS and Android. No matter what the fanbois of each platform say, games invariably are among the top downloads.

    Erm no, Your top downloads on the Play store are things like Maps, Streetview, Facebook, Youtube, Viber, hell even Flash is still up there. Out of the free applications [], the first game is at number 16 (Angry Birds), out of the top 25 there are 5 games.

    This is because a lot of people who own smartphones don't play games. For the most part people own smart phones as mobile email/web. I'm a PC gamer and I've tried to play a few games on my Android phone but most of them have such clunky control schemes that its more annoying than entertaining. Add to this the fact that EA have been losing big on mobile games and it's pretty clearly not the way for a company to go if they want to make good games or make money.

    As for Windows 8, Gabe Newell is dead on the money. It's a complete train wreck, the Windows 8 Express has already derailed somewhere between Poor Concept Central and South Retarded Design. What I disagree with Newell is that OEM's are going to be hit hard, they're going to do what they did when Vista was released and keep selling Windows 7 against Microsoft's objections. The big difference is, this time OEM's will be ready to tell MS to bugger off.

    Still, might be a good time to get rid of MSFT stock, especially if Windows 9 is just as bad as 8.

  • by ledow ( 319597 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @09:31AM (#40776203) Homepage

    Not really. Games For Windows Live is already really an appstore for PC games. It's universally berated as a heap of junk. Origin is an appstore for PC games. It's universally berated as a heap of junk.

    Steam have the best appstore at the moment. Sure, MS focusing on them could really hurt them but *killing* them without costing more than it would take just to buy them out is probably not easy at all, even for MS. For a start, I have several thousand dollars invested in my Steam account and have been using it for nearly 9 years now. That's a HELL of a legacy to just abandon, just switch over to a Windows appstore for.

    Most existing Steam users will still want to keep their paid-for Steam accounts on Windows 8. Thus Windows 8 appstore is hardly a threat to Steam, really. But Steam is certainly a threat to the Windows appstore, especially if every Steam user on Windows 8 ends up installing Steam anyway - and that could bring trouble.

    Hence, I think, why this "get the community on your side" effort is likely to be quite successful for Valve/Steam. If nothing else, you then bring in the Linux crowd as an extra weapon to ensure your own survival. I think it's a pre-emptive levelling of the playing field to ensure they don't become an easy target for MS, personally.

  • by mikael_j ( 106439 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @09:34AM (#40776265)

    I'm not sure if you're serious here. Console FPS games almost always use some sort of auto-aim to help players out and sales figures are not the same as quality, if they were then Windows 95 would've been an amazing operating system....

  • Re:He's Right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mjwx ( 966435 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @09:38AM (#40776299)

    Except he's not right. The vast majority of PC buyers do not play games beyond what comes preinstalled with Windows or what they find online. Even the entire user base of Steam represents maybe a couple of percent of all PC owners.

    Except that you're ignoring the majority of "PC buyers" are in fact business and they put an absolute shitload of third party software on their PC so people can do their jobs.

    If we only count consumer purchasers, gamers make up a sizable percentage. Not only do they make up a sizable percentage, gamers:
    1. Upgrade more frequently than non gamers.
    2. Buy more cutting edge components than non gamers.
    3. Buy more components than non gamers.

    So a gamer buys a new rig every 2 or 3 years and spends upwards of $1000 on it, a consumer buys a $5-600 laptop every 5 to 7 years.

    Gamers are a large part of the PC market whether you want to admit it or not. Look at Dell, Dell develops the XPS and Alienware lines to target gamers, the XPS line they try to cross over into the much larger and more profitable business division. Cheap consumer PC's are thrid place to this.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @09:45AM (#40776415) Journal

    Eh, I'm not sure that it'd be as difficult as you suggest.

    Yes, Dell and friends want to get into software support like they want an extra hole in the head(which is why, unless you are paying for a nice support contract that lets you talk to a real support guy about why the TOE feature on the BCMXXXX LoM is corrupting packets under Server2000whatever, the advice is 'reboot, reimage); but if somebody came to them with an order for a suitably large number of standard-configuration boxes, they'd take it, no problem.

    Consider Dell's existing [] "Hardware and Services for OEMs" program. Currently, it's mainly server-based, with offerings for people who make assorted enterprise network appliances, but workstations are also available. Basically, you, the OEM, supply the software and the customer support. Dell fulfills all hardware orders(with Dell designs, dell branded, unbranded, or customized-chassis, depending on volume and how much you pay) and handles all hardware replacements and FRUs. Dell ships more whiteboxes, you get to sell your linux softswitch or firewall appliance, or enterprise search widget, or what have you without developing any hardware supply chain or expertise. Simple enough.

    Certainly neither Dell(nor, for that matter, Valve) would want to get dragged into the morass of 'let's support "linux", everything from antique versions of Redhat to Timmy-tweaker's ub3r Gentoo ricebox!'; but Dell wouldn't blink at shipping and (hardware) supporting the box of your choice if the volume were right, and Valve presumably wouldn't have any problem with saying 'Steam Just Works on Ubuntu Gaming Groundsquirrel LTS: if you can get it working elsewhere that's cool too".

  • Re:He's Right (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Junta ( 36770 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @09:47AM (#40776439)

    Of course that doesn't matter. Let's assume you are right and maybe the entire user base of Steam is 5% of the Windows market. Steam has no reason to care at all about the 95% that they don't care about. So if only 5% come over to Linux, then Steam's current business model is preserved.

    If you think the MS app store will open up the 95% to gaming more that would compete with steam, that would be a silly proposition. Acquiring steam is so trivial, that I can't see that as a significant barrier to adoption. Maybe 95% will start throwing a buck here or a buck there on an angry birds type game, but that doesn't represent a threat to Steam's current business model, only a threat to Steam's expansion opportunities.

  • by theweatherelectric ( 2007596 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @09:49AM (#40776465)

    Why would Valve care if the drivers are Open Source?

    Because they find them easier to work with. To quote a recent blog post [] by one of Intel's open source GPU driver developers: "The funny thing is Valve guys say the same thing about drivers. There were a couple times where we felt like they were trying to convince us that open source drivers are a good idea. We had to remind them that they were preaching to the choir. :) Their problem with closed drivers (on all platforms) is that it's such a blackbox that they have to play guess-and-check games. There's no way for them to know how changing a particular setting will affect the performance. If performance gets worse, they have no way to know why. If they can see where time is going in the driver, they can make much more educated guesses."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 26, 2012 @09:50AM (#40776481)

    Yep, Microsoft want to turn the PC into an Xbox, where everything is bought through their channels.

    They want to squeeze Valve out of their own market, and Win 8 is the first step in this strategy.

    Watch out for the next versions of Direct X etc. being Metro only, and traditional desktop apps crippled in terms of what they can access by comparison.

    At that point the only way to get the best performance will be through being a Metro app, bought on the store, giving Metro apps a competitive edge. Microsoft would be unlikely to approve Steam as a Metro app in much the same way Apple would reject any app which acts as an alt app store.

    If all the locking down isn't ringing alarm bells with people they need to remove their heads from the sand. I think Gabe has realised this, and knows they need to build on an alt platform, or risk getting wiped out, the same way the rest of the games industry is currently hell-bent on wiping real physical stores.

  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Thursday July 26, 2012 @09:55AM (#40776543) Homepage Journal

    Getting the Steam catalog to 'Just Work' on linux isn't going to be a picnic

    It should be a lot easier to make it "just work" on an OS you have the source to than an OS you only have hooks, many of them undocumented.

    Nobody else seems to have any trouble making their software "just work" on Linux. Hell, I bought a bluetooth dongle that supposedly had no Linux support at all, I plugged it in and it just worked. On the Windows box I had to install software and drivers and reboot a couple of times, and it kinda sorta worked.

    In the last 10 years, MS and Linux have switched places in the useability and maintenance aspects. Windows needs far more maintenence than previously, and more than Linux, and is far less useable than Linux. This is the opposite of the situation 10 years ago. Anyone who has used both OSes lately is aware of this.

  • by mauriceh ( 3721 ) <maurice.harddata@com> on Thursday July 26, 2012 @10:02AM (#40776631) Homepage

    This has been the typical "disaster" that has been suffered by EVERY company who have built a successful business model based on Windows:
    If it is profitable, then sooner, rather than later M$ WILL steal your business.
    Ask Lotus, Borland, Word Perfect, Netscape, Corel, and so on how it felt.

    Unfortunately I see little different with the case in Win8 than in any of the predecessors.
    Steam are screwed.

  • Re:Boot-to-Game (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 26, 2012 @10:14AM (#40776773)

    Because people don't want to close everything to play a game. Convenience is important, even if a game is good, if it's inconvenient people won't play. Especially now people like to listen to mp3s and chat etc. while playing.

  • by AngryDeuce ( 2205124 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @10:19AM (#40776813)

    The only reason you find them superior is because you've been using WADS since 1992, you're used to it. If you'd been playing FPSs on a console for the last 20 years, you'd be pointing and laughing at the K&M users.

    The keyboard part of the combo is fucking awful for a beginner. It's not intuitive at all, especially in games that greatly extend beyond the standard WADS interface and have a shit-ton of extended function keys (most FPSs these days).

    It's really no different than why the standard QWERTY keyboard layout stuck around all these years. It's no inherently better than the most common alternatives like DVORAK, but they'll never catch on because everyone learned on QWERTY and thus are most familiar with it.

    You can find the same arguments in the controller versus motion control debate. Maybe we should all just get the fuck off each other's lawns and accept the fact that it's an issue of personal preference and little else?

  • by Slider451 ( 514881 ) <> on Thursday July 26, 2012 @10:29AM (#40776957)

    I guess I missed where Steam won't work on Windows 8 like it does on Windows 7. Please link.

  • by Morgaine ( 4316 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @10:36AM (#40777055)

    He's right in many more ways than one. Hedging his bets against a future in which Microsoft is his biggest rival is only one reason for doing this. The other big reason is simply to expand the gaming market, and to lead it.

    It's no secret that the Linux world is full of endearing geeks and nerds who love to play video games --- there could hardly be a bigger truism! And yet they are totally under-served on their favorite platform, and frequently have to run a Windows box for the sole reason of being able to play their games. That presents an obvious business opportunity.

    By supplying Linux gamers with good games on their favorite platform, not only is he expanding his customer base to a whole new audience of Linux-only gamers, but is also making it possible for Linux gamers to avoid running a Windows box at all. And that can remove one of his rivals from the competition entirely. It would be a move of genius.

    What's more, if Linux gaming takes off bigtime (his company certainly has every opportunity to make that happen), then he will be the leader in a new gaming frontier, and everyone else will be playing catchup. That is worth a gamble all by itself, and it's not even a high-risk venture.

    I think Gabe's business nose can sense a big opportunity here, a huge and almost unexploited market that he can make his own, while at the same time safeguarding his future against Microsoft.

  • by Chris Mattern ( 191822 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @10:42AM (#40777143)

    Linux from the manufacturer has never been about the technical difficulty of shipping a pre-installed Linux box. It's always been about the unwillingness to support two different operating systems and, above all, the reluctance to offend Microsoft for an uncertain and probably small payoff.

  • And it is THAT, that right there, that I don't get. Are you telling me MSFT hasn't run a single focus group? hell I've had over 400 folks that has gone through my shop try it, everyone from teens to little old ladies and down to a person they HATE METRO on a bog standard non touch desktop.

    And lets not kid ourselves, the economy is a corpse and both AMD and Intel are reporting sales slumps as it is so do you honestly believe that adding a HIGHER price now by adding touchscreens is gonna do anything but torpedo the figures of anyone stupid enough to try? Hell has nobody in fucking Redmond ever been into a Walmart? Or a Best Buy? Have they ever bothered to ask anyone selling PCs retail WTF is going on? Walk into ANY B&M and what you see sure as fuck ain't "ultrabooks", oh they may have ONE which they'll tell you an't selling for shit, but what do you see? AMD as far as the eye can see, why? Because the "sweet spot" is between $350-$500 with the $400-$450 laptops being the biggest sellers and you just ain't gonna hit that price point with most of the Intel line and you sure as hell ain't gonna hit it by tacking on another $100-$150 a unit for touchscreens that nobody wants because poking your damned laptop or desktop all damned day is uncomfortable!

    So that is what I don't understand. I mean surely to God they can see that freightrain of failure rolling down the track full speed ahead, can't they? Can't they see that the desktop and laptop form factor simply doesn't work with a touchscreen? Hell have they even looked at the sales numbers for non tablet touchscreens? I have, last figures I could find had just 4% of the X86 units being sold with touch and BTW that was counting industrial like POS and kiosks. if you remove those? Less than 2% of the world X86 market is being sold with touch.

    And before anybody says it, yes i know they are getting the shit stomped out of them in cell phones, but how does torpedoing the only OS business you aren't getting stomped in make ANY sense at all? If they wanted to use a single codebase, with the Metro UI on the tablets and phones and a standard desktop on...well desktops and laptops? Okay, makes sense and saves money by cutting out reinventing the wheel. But what they are doing here is completely batshit, its just the opposite of the "Hey lets make phones teeny tiny desktops!" that they did for a decade with WinCE. Can they not read reviews in Redmond? Can they not see the memes on YouTube where people throw a relative on Win 8 just to watch them be lost and fumble around? How can you not see what a fucking disaster you have about to take a shit all over one of your few remaining profitable divisions MSFT?

  • by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @11:56AM (#40778237)
    The general consensus seems to be that Microsoft knows Windows 8 will flop, and is willing to accept this if it means reorientating the industry in a manner which will be of more benefit to their long-term aims - specifically becoming a serious player in the tablet/mobile space and securing themselves a lucrative slice of app-store pie. They saw how well Apple and even Google, not traditionally an OS vendor, managed to achieve this and now Microsoft wants in - even if it means taking a big short-term hit by releasing an OS everyone loathes.
  • by GodInHell ( 258915 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @11:58AM (#40778257) Homepage

    Watch out for the next versions of Direct X etc. being Metro only, and traditional desktop apps crippled in terms of what they can access by comparison.

    At that point the only way to get the best performance will be through being a Metro app, bought on the store, giving Metro apps a competitive edge. Microsoft would be unlikely to approve Steam as a Metro app in much the same way Apple would reject any app which acts as an alt app store.

    At which point the Justice department steps in and kicks MS's balls into mid-jowl. Microsoft just got burned for this in Europe, and was almost broken up by Justice in the 90s. Maybe they want to test the line -- see what they can get away with today -- but the answer is probably "not much."

  • Re:Good luck... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ekgringo ( 693136 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @12:03PM (#40778353)
    They could be booting a LiveCD image in the background while they're displaying all of the AMD, ATI, Nvidia, Intel, Dolby Digital, SquareEnix, LucaArts, EA, and other development and production house, etc. full screen ads that come up when you launch any major title these days. I doubt anyone would notice the additional delay of loading an entire operating system.
  • by citylivin ( 1250770 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @12:25PM (#40778711)

    " you can't convey different intent (right-click, middle-click, other mouse buttons etc.) easily."

    Um, pretty much every modern touch screen device allows you to right click by holding your finger in place for 2 seconds or so. This generally brings up a context menu. I have personally done this on my GF's google nexus phone as well as those 42 inch dell touch screen display things you find in certain kiosks and displays. There is a windows control that controls the behaviour of this in windows 7 even.

    So your statement is factually incorrect. I still think tablets are mostly stupid, however they do have their niche uses, and those uses are growing. Remember that smart phones these days are basically tiny tablets. And more than half of everyone I see on the train in the morning is glued to their phone. There is definitely a market.

  • by Electricity Likes Me ( 1098643 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @12:27PM (#40778735)

    That is not "easily", which was obviously my point. A mouse can have several buttons to hit and convey intent.

    Your example is using one type of possible intent conveyance (long touch) to emulate another (right click). But it's still limited - it's not as effective, and we're removing an intent option (we can't use long touches for other things). With a mouse for example we can have right click and long right click, if we so choose.

    I was not factually incorrect in anyway.

  • Actually I'd say from watching my customers who have had them get me tablets that the reasons tablets have touchscreens? Is that people use 'em as big oversized iPods. Watching my customers they aren't answering their webmail, or writing a doc, or frankly creating squat with their tablet, they are playing music or video or at most Googling something from the couch, like what the name of the actor is in the show they are watching.

    Frankly the ONLY ones pushing the whole "post PC" thing is those that stand to gain from tablets. be it by lock down like Apple and MSFT, or eyeballs like Google, or the hardware manufacturers that hope they can have a MHz war with ARM like they did with X86 from the early 90s through mid 00s. But actually interacting with the people buying the things i can tell you they are NOT replacing their PCs, be it desktop or laptop (most have both) for a tablet or smartphone.

    In fact, and this will blow the mind of many a geek but the average consumer? Does not look at the phone or the tablet as a computer at all! The phone is a "phone that plays games and does Google" and the tablet is a "touchscreen that lets me watch videos and does games and Google" and that's it. As far as they are concerned it might as well be a washer and dryer because to them its an appliance not a computer!

    So it isn't about what is or isn't a good solution or form factor, its simply about accepting the reality of the market. Once PCs went multicore they passed "good enough" and went into "insanely overpowered" for the vast majority. Hell do you think anything Suzy the checkout girl is doing on a PC is gonna stress even a 5 year old Phenom I triple? Of course not, so she doesn't buy a new one until the old one breaks. We are VERY close to seeing that in ARM as well, just look up "ARM dark silicon" to see we are about to hit the wall just like we did with X86 but in this case the wall is power instead of thermal as the batteries simply can't feed the chips. Once that happens and everyone who wants one has one the bottom will drop like with X86, sure people will break a few more of these than computers but it won't be a boom like today.

  • by tycoex ( 1832784 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @12:52PM (#40779113)

    If it's not better then why do games that allow K&M on consoles have to create separate rooms for K&M players and gamepad players?

    I'll tell you why, because in the mixed rooms the K&M players destroy the gamepad players.

    Now obviously if everyone is using the same control scheme it doesn't matter how "good" it is, because everyone is using the same crap. However, if you let K&M players play against gamepad players in an FPS the gamepad players will get destroyed.

    For other kinds of games, such as action or fighting games, the gamepad is preferred for me. But that doesn't mean I deny that K&M is better for FPS.

  • by TellarHK ( 159748 ) <tellarhk&hotmail,com> on Thursday July 26, 2012 @01:45PM (#40780251) Homepage Journal

    Not necessarily. Steam isn't just an application you use to buy games, it's a whole platform you use to buy, play, and message in games. If you buy a game in Steam, it's hooked into Steam's DRM forever unless you break it out. This might -sound- like a bad thing, but in this particular case it's probably one of the best things Valve could use as leverage to fight being locked out of any newer versions of Windows. Microsoft, as stupid a company as they can be, aren't going to want to wind up under the threat of the lawsuits and pure hatred that would come from millions of gamers suddenly unable to use the dozens or hundreds of paid-for games that they already have attached to Steam. This isn't the case of an isolated application being supplanted, this is an entire application store and platform with billions of dollars invested in it.

    There are a lot of issues people can have with Steam (particularly here on Slashdot where closed source and DRM are considered unnecessary evils by a significant percentage of the readership) but for people who get games using the platform, it's incredibly convenient and tends to be more hassle-free than buying physical media. Valve managed to get it right, where nobody else was even trying.

  • Re:Good luck... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by siDDis ( 961791 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @04:09PM (#40782921)

    You forgot step 7 for Windows. Click ok for administration mode and next, next, next, and finally make sure to hook off those extraordinary browser bars.

"An organization dries up if you don't challenge it with growth." -- Mark Shepherd, former President and CEO of Texas Instruments