Valve head Gabe Newell is not a fan of Windows 8. "I think that Windows 8 is kind of a catastrophe for everybody in the PC space," he said rather bluntly. "If that's true, it's going to be a good idea to have alternatives to hedge against that eventuality."
What is the cause for Newell's vitriol against Microsoft's next OS? He sees a movement away from open platforms to a closed one. Perhaps there's other reasons as well: Windows 8 brings about features like the built-in Windows Store app marketplace and Xbox Live integration--both which threaten Steam's stronghold in the PC gaming scene.
Newell argues that open platforms are important for innovation to thrive. "Valve wouldn't exist if it weren't for the PC," he said at Casual Connect (via VentureBeat). "Id Software, Epic, Zynga, Facebook, and Google wouldn't have existed without the openness of the platform."
With both Apple and Microsoft increasingly focused on closed app store-based operating systems, Valve's increasing investment in Linux starts to make sense. The company recently launched Left 4 Dead 2 on the OS, and has bigger plans for its future. "We have to start finding ways that we can continue to make sure there are open platforms. So that involves a couple of different things. One, we're trying to make sure that Linux thrives."
"Our perception is that one of the big problems holding Linux back is the absence of games. I think that a lot of people--in their thinking about platforms--don't realize how critical games are as a consumer driver of purchases and usage," Newell said. "So we're going to continue working with the Linux distribution guys, shipping Steam, shipping our games, and making it as easy as possible for anybody who's engaged with us--putting their games on Steam and getting those running on Linux, as well."