Newell: Valve making Linux push due to Windows 8 concerns

Valve boss Gabe Newell has expressed doubt in Windows 8 regarding what he sees as a transition from an open platform to a closed one in Microsoft’s next OS.

Speaking at Casual Connect in Seattle, Newell shared his thoughts on how the move could be catastrophic for the PC space.

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,” Newell stated according to AllThingsD.

Newell was referring to Linux as one of those alternatives as Valve has begun to make a push for Linux as a way to hedge its bet.

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.”

Newell further stressed how the transition to a closed platform could stunt innovation in the space, providing several examples of major companies that simply wouldn’t be around if it weren’t for the openness of the PC.

In order for innovation to happen, a bunch of things that aren’t happening on closed platforms need to occur. Valve wouldn’t exist today without the PC, 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.’”

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