Gabe Newell: "I think Windows 8 is a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space."

T.J. Hafer at

Tech blog All Things D reported on the recent appearance by Valve's Gabe Newell at the Casual Connect conference. He had some very interesting things to say about everything from open platforms to Windows 8 to computers you control with your tongue. Read on to be enlightened by the words of the Godfather of PC gaming.

Perhaps most interesting of all were Newell's comments on the PC as an open platform and harsh criticism of Windows 8.

"Valve wouldn’t exist today without the PC," he insisted, "or Epic, or Zynga, or Google. They all wouldn’t have existed without the openness of the 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.’

“We are looking at the platform and saying, ‘We’ve been a free rider, and we’ve been able to benefit from everything that went into PCs and the Internet, and we have to continue to figure out how there will be open platforms."

Newell even went as far as to say that a change of operating systems may be necessary in the future to preserve the open platform, so get those boot CDs ready.

"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," he said. "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."

"What we are interested in is bringing together a platform where people’s actions create value for other people when they play. That’s the reason we hired an economist.

“We think the future is very different [from] successes we’ve had in the past. When you are playing a game, you are trying to think about creating value for other players, so the line between content player and creator is really fuzzy. We have a kid in Kansas making $150,000 a year making [virtual] hats. But that’s just a starting point."

On a lighter note, Newell speculated about what direction user input may be headed.

"The mouse and keyboard were stable for 25 years, but I think touch will be stable for 10 years," he said. "Post-touch will be stable for a really long time, longer than 25 years. Post-touch, depending on how sci-fi you want to get, is a couple of different technologies combined together. The two problems are input and output...There’s some crazy speculative stuff. This is super nerdy, and you can tease us years from now, but as it turns out, your tongue is one of the best mechanical systems to your brain, but it’s disconcerting to have the person sitting next you go blah, blah, blah, blah."

So you heard it here first, PC gamers: You'll be playing Guild Wars 3 on a Linux distro with your tongue! ...OK, maybe not.