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Windows 8 debate: ‘Microsoft has Apple envy’ – developers weigh in

Thursday, 8th November 2012 10:55 GMT By Dave Cook

Windows 8 has received a bit of a bashing lately from several developers, including Valve’s Gabe Newell. Several developers have come together via Eurogamer to discuss the problems at hand with Microsoft’s new operating system.

Speaking with Eurogamer, Introversion Software’s Chris Delay stated, “They’ve got Apple envy, big style. In the past they were the successful ones, but then they sat down and watched while Apple took over. It’s left Microsoft looking old and behind the times. They look at Apple and the iOS Store and see the royalties they’re taking on this closed platform.”

The closed nature of Windows 8′s marketplace has been a common talking point among gamers and the development community, and wasn’t helped by Microsoft’s recent about-face on its refusal to stock mature-rated content on its store front.

Delay’s comments follow Serious Sam developer Alen Ladavac’s recent tirade against Windows 8 on the Steam forums, in which he claimed, “Gabe Newell did not overreact. What you don’t see here is that, under the hood, the new tiled UI is a means for Microsoft to lock Windows applications into a walled garden, much like the one on iOS,

“If it was just about ‘being downloaded from Windows store’, it would not be a problem. It would be nice to have a common hub to download things from. But to get an app onto that store, it has to be certified by Microsoft. So far, we know that they’ve banned mature games, like Skyrim, Call of Duty, and Serious Sam [a policy that is being revoked]. They have forbidden modding. They could very well forbid Open Source if they want.”

What’s your take on the nature of Windows 8? Is the walled approach damaging to consumers and gamers alike? Let us know below.

Hit up Eurogamer for the full roundtable on Windows 8.

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18 Comments

  1. The Auracle

    It’s one thing to complain about the walled garden style that Apple have popularised but for me, the complaints aren’t legitimate. They sound more like whinging without suggesting a viable alternative to the closed platform style… as if Mac OS, iOS, Windows, and Windows Phone have EVER been an open-platform. They haven’t and these devs are making themselves look silly here.

    Fact is each of the developers that have moaned about the ‘walled garden’ approach of iOS caved and now use the platform to generate revenue. From the big players all the way down to the indie lot, they all had reservations about iOS. Before you knew it everyone’s all aboard the bandwagon.

    Sure, Microsoft want to compete with The App Store with Windows Store and who can blame them? If they didn’t change, these devs would then be critising MS for not adapting to the way the market delivers content now. MS had to do this, plain and simple. They know it, the devs know it, the consumers know it.

    All in all, far too much ire is thrown MS’ way over what has always been a closed platform. “Apple envy?” Possibly. Means to an end? Absolutely.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. mojo

    its just too gay

    #2 2 years ago
  3. mistermogul

    @2 – lol!

    Microsoft have been behind the times for years. They rarely innovate and always follow the leaders when the competition get it right:

    MacIntosh OS > Windows
    Wii > Kinect
    iOS > WP7 (eventually after the embarrassment that was WP6!)
    iPad > Surface
    blah > blah > blah

    They need to get rid of Ballmer and hire a CEO that takes risks and will lead the company to the success it is capable of…

    #3 2 years ago
  4. roadkill

    Well I’ve tried Linux yesterday and I have to say that I’m impressed. I’m switching operating systems as soon as developers start making games for Linux. Apple got a store and look how many games they have available. Microsoft will be in the same situation at some point. I’m not going to support them.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Freek

    The Windows 8 app store does not equal the whole of Windows 8.
    It is just that: an app store, nothing more.
    It has policies, same as Steam does, they do not aply to your entire computer.
    You can download from anywhere and instal anything you want, same as you have always done on a PC.
    The whole debate is rather silly.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. setohayato

    @4 I guess once steam for linux is available you will have good number of games to play.Well actually I think the steam beta has a fair number available.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Stardog

    @1 “Sure, Microsoft want to compete with The App Store with Windows Store and who can blame them? If they didn’t change, these devs would then be critising MS for not adapting to the way the market delivers content now. MS had to do this, plain and simple. They know it, the devs know it, the consumers know it.”

    You’re talking absolute nonsense. Developers WANT Microsoft to deliver content this way. The Google Play store is completely open. Queue weak excuses about the quality of the content.

    Microsoft knew that a closed app store would give them totalitarian control is, the dev’s don’t want that, and the consumers don’t know jack shit about anything and will take what they’re fed – the same thing you’re eating.

    Ultimately, MS is just copying Apple and has no ideas of its own. Windows 8 will be a failure bigger than Vista.

    Non-developer comments on this issue are typically ignorant and will lead us down a slippery slope.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. The Auracle

    @7 – “The devs don’t want that,” yet they go against their principles and submit their content to The App Store and even the likes of Facebook for review. Microsoft does the same thing, everyone’s up in arms. Double standard, much? Each of these entities – no matter how totalitarian/draconian/eeeeeeeeevil they are/percieved to be – have the fundamental right to administrate what goes up on their platform and what doesn’t. It’s theirs. If you don’t like closed-platforms, don’t support them… but don’t go having a whinge when your favourite software isn’t compatible or even available on your preferred open platform.

    By the way, freek’s (#5 entry) spot on. I’ve been using Steam on Windows 8 since the Consumer Preview. I have the full version of Windows 8 and am still able to download software the traditional way.

    Finally, this is technology. There are no ideas original, just ideas made better after they’ve been passed from pillar to post.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. The Auracle

    @3 – You make some interesting points but it’s not Mac OS that has the market share that Windows enjoys. The Wii > Kinect example was a bit better but also slightly non-sequitur. Nintendo passed on the technology that ultimately became Kinect and Microsoft got their own success out of it. Furthermore, Kinect does what the Wiimote, Wii Motion Plus and Wii Sensors cannot do. One could argue that Microsoft furthered the idea Nintendo successfully introduced to the marketplace. A better example of direct replication of the same idea would be Sony’s PlayStation Move.

    Additionally, it’s not that the competition got it right that influences companies like Microsoft to follow suit but more the fact that the business generates a substantial amount of profit and that there is a market to try and replicate said success.

    I would suggest reviewing your statement about innovation where Microsoft and Apple are concerned. I think you’ll find Apple have rarely invented anything.

    Thanks for the discussion. ^_^

    #9 2 years ago
  10. TheWulf

    I’m going to be blunt. Most people actually aren’t bright enough to understand what worries developers, hackers, and modders.

    I’m sorry to have to point this out, but this is true, and most of you would happily throw away every right you had for your next shot of entertainment. And honestly? This worries me. There are things in Windows 8 which should scare you guys, and you should actually be bothered enough to want to educate yourself on the potential issues.

    Okay, let’s start at the beginning. Microsoft has a history of monopolies and trying to lock people out. This new approach looks like the most insidious effort yet. With things like UEFI and software signing, they could essentially turn the PC space into a closed platform. They have that power. This isn’t just doomsaying, all the pieces are there.

    Now, if you’ll shush for a bit and read, I’ll educate you.

    The Unified Extensible Firmware Interface

    On the surface, this looks to be a system to make computers boot into Windows faster. What you don’t know is that it’s also a way to lock all PC hardware into running windows. If you want a computer to run something else, then an OS developer needs to buy an OS license from Microsoft. If they don’t have one, then your computer won’t boot their OS.

    The obvious problem with this is that Microsoft aren’t obligated to sell such licenses. At any point they could legally refuse an OS developer a license. So if they felt that Ubuntu or Linux Mint was offering them too much competition, then all they would have to do is refuse them a license for nebulous, made up reasons.

    Another issue is that they could price licenses so ridiculously high that hobbyist OS developers wouldn’t be able to afford to buy one. The same issue would occur for non-profit OS devs. So this could be another way that they could completely crush all non-Microsoft operating systems. Consider this: You don’t use Linux, but most of the Internet does.

    Almost every web server you visit is running Linux. I have no doubt that VG24/7 is on a set of Linux server farms. This is because Linux is very good at this. But what if server farms started to only run Windows? What if to get updated hardware, you had to get a Windows server OS?

    Software Signing

    Microsoft has put in place some weird software signing systems in Windows 8. These are similar to their driver signing systems in Windows 7. Right now, these seem innocuous and are simply used for certification into Metro. But what if they decided that their Metro interface (which I hear they don’t like me calling Metro, so I’ll continue to call it Metro) was the way to use Windows?

    All it would take is a sizeable service pack to actually make it so that Windows 8 will only run signed applications. In other words, you’d need a license from Microsoft to run a certain application on your computer. In this way Microsoft could take complete control of your software library, and any piece of software that they felt was in competition with them, they could refuse the installation of on nebulous grounds.

    They could refuse Steam, Firefox, Chrome, and so on. Your torrent software? They could refuse to allow that. Your non-DRM ridden media players? They could refuse to allow those. They could essentially pick and choose what your OS looks like, they could shape your OS usage by dictating to you what you are and are not allowed to use.

    Will they do these things?

    Yes. It’s distinctly possible. They’d have to be careful as to how they introduced each of these, and they’d have to try to make the pill as easy to swallow as possible. But do you honestly think that microsoft wouldn’t love this control? That they have these systems ready to roll out actually bothers me.

    Your OS isn’t Microsoft? Too bad.

    Your app isn’t Metro? Too bad.

    Right now, things look rosy on Windows 8. But that could change very quickly if Microsoft decided that their best way forward was to, with successive service packs, phase out the traditional Windows desktop and remove your ability to run old-style applications. “It’s for the best,” they’d say, “signing is for your security. It’s easy for a developer to get a license.”

    But then they can keep a developer in license-acquisition limbo. Valve could apply for one for Steam and could still be waiting six months later.

    I’m sorry, I really don’t like this.

    What people don’t understand is that the problem isn’t what Windows 8 is right now. The problem is what Windows 8 could become if Microsoft decided it was in their best interests. This is why I’m sticking with Windows 7 for now.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. NiceFellow

    @10 nicely put. Couldn’t agree more.

    Buoyed by their current brand strength and the success of Xbox as a closed platform I believe MS are indeed gearing up to make a big push to make the Windows platform closed and turn the market from a choice of closed ecosystem (Apple) vs open ecosystem (PC) to a choice between two closed systems.

    TBH If things do go this way I’ll probably switch to Apple. I don’t like the idea of closed systems but if there’s no choice then I’ll go with the one that’s most mature, organized and furthest ahead that was at least open about being a closed ecosystem.

    Of course, if they do go this route the time might finally be right for Google to work with PC hardware makers to offer a new open ecosystem – with the relative dominance of Android on mobile devices this would make a very interesting counter.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. apollyonbob

    @10 You can claim that you know more than everyone else with regards to Windows 8 development, but your actual statements indicate you don’t really know as much as you claim.

    Seriously software signing is not “weird”, it’s not Microsoft-only, it isn’t Windows 8 only … quite the opposite. It’s very standard software security. The idea that Chrome/Firefox isn’t signed already is kind of laughable to anyone who knows anything about development.

    As for UEFI … who makes that? Let see … board is run by 11 ‘promoter’ companies, “AMD, American Megatrends, Apple, Dell, HP, IBM, Insyde Software, Intel, Lenovo, Microsoft, and Phoenix Technologies” Oh man, I bet Apple and IBM are really into the idea of Microsoft owning everything everywhere forever.

    Of course, the real problem was Microsoft having requirements from OEMs that could potentially stifle other OSes from being installed, by requiring secure boot. They changed those requirements so that’s not the case anymore, but still, eeeeevil right?

    But by all means, please, explain it all to us Clarissa.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. apollyonbob

    @10 Also, pro-tip, Windows XP 64-bit required drivers to be signed.

    There were ways around it, but the point is that the idea of software signatures is not new to Windows 8. Moreover, now it just gives you a warning, it doesn’t require it.

    In otherwords, they got less strict with their signature requirements.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. Kalain

    @10

    Wow.. Not to be funny, but you really are just spreading rubbish.

    UEFI is from a consortium of hardware and software vendors, which doesn’t include MS. One of MS’s requirements for hardware certification for Win 8, is that secureboot must be enabled for x86/64 hardware, but with a provision to turn it off, which you can do in the bios. Secureboot cannot be turned off on ARM processors. Other companies have said this could cause problems if a normal user wants to install another OS, but it hasn’t stopped Apple, HP and IBM.

    Software signing in Win 8 is only on a driver level, and not an application level. If you want to build applications for Metro/Modern UI and sell it on the MS APP store, then you need to go through certification, which is to be expected. This is a route they will not go down, so please don’t scare monger. Going down that route would be commercial suicide, which is why Apple/IBM/HP hasn’t gone down that route.

    For someone who considers themselves above the intellect of us normal people and has considerable knowledge in all things, you provide very little insight into actually researching what you’re saying instead of all this hogwash..

    #14 2 years ago
  15. G1GAHURTZ

    @12:

    Clarissa Explains it All, eh? Now there’s a blast from the past! Lol!

    #15 2 years ago
  16. OrbitMonkey

    Well let’s say Microsoft went the evil empire route & sized all the internets bases… How long would it be before they got charged with creating a monopoly and ordered to stop?

    A day? Maybe 2?

    Hell it’s probably illegal in the EU.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. GrimRita

    Ive got Windows 8 and pretty much enjoying it. Didn’t think I would but for a £30 upgrade to Pro, I couldn’t turn that bargain down

    #17 2 years ago
  18. Hybridpsycho

    @3

    >implying microsoft doesn’t innovate
    >says apple is good :3

    Oh you, tell me something new that apple has contributed to the mark in the past 10 years.

    SPOILER: You can’t say iPod, iPhone, iPad or any of the releases they’ve had btw. Cause they’re not innovations. Other companies were doing all that before, just that apple starts trend cause of their faggot fanboys.

    Oh, and apple is “shiny”.

    #18 2 years ago

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