As Microsoft continues to prepare Windows 8 for its eventual launch, more and more game developers in the indie spotlight have continued to highlight problems that they see potential in the platform. The most recent has been Markus “Notch” Presson of Minecraft fame. He has added his own voice to previous dissent from both Blizzard and Valve about the potential for Windows 8 to become a “walled garden” which could stifle innovation from indie game developers.
“If Microsoft decides to lock down Windows 8, it would be very, very bad for Indie games and competition in general,” he said in response to a question during a Reddit Ask Me Anything session. “If we can keep open platforms around, there’s going to be a lot of very interesting games in ten years, mixed in with the huge AAA games that we all love.”
He’s continued this trend with a tweet stating that he’d rather escape from Windows 8 (blocking Minecraft from the platform entirely) if they don’t conform to the standards he expects them to deliver. “Got an email from Microsoft want to help ‘certify’ Minecraft for Windows 8. I told them to stop trying to ruin the PC as an open platform,” Notch posted to Twitter Thursday.
These same issues have been brought up by Valve Software CEO Gabe Newell, “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.” Once again in reference to the potential walled-garden effect if Microsoft goes forward with adding a application store to their interface, which he fears could push developers away.
The marketplace, assessed as being attached to the Windows 8 Metro interface, is feared that it will mimic the style of app market as built by many others such as Apple App Store, Google Play, or even Xbox Live, which has been seen to limit the exposure and capabilities of game developers to such an extent that they have fled those markets for greener pastures. Most of those pastures have been browser games and the Windows market itself, which has largely been without limitations or restrictions for game developers.
There have been scant few details coming out of Windows 8 itself, with Microsoft revealing very little about how it plans to implement its software marketplace it may be a bit too soon to see doom-and-gloom emanating from it.
However, with several extremely prominent game developers coming forward to speak fears of a “brave new world” in the Windows 8 software marketplace we should keep an eye on what direction Microsoft does intend to take it. Hopefully whatever they do will not run afoul of these concerns, after all, it will be a business decision that has not yet even been unveiled to the public.
Never fear: as of yet, the sky is not falling.