40 days with Windows 8: A gamer’s perspective

Posted on Dec 10 2012 - 9:00am by Eric Guzman

inline 2 windows 8 logo pgram 40 days with Windows 8: A gamers perspective

There’s been lots of negativity surrounding Windows 8, its new interface, the Windows Store, and how all those elements affect PC gaming. Valve’s head-honcho, Gabe Newell, has vocalized his disapproval, although it can possibly be linked with the fact that his company will soon have another competitor in the software distribution market. Likewise, Minecraft creator Markus “Notch” Persson also voiced his displeasure with Microsoft’s new OS.

But what does any of this mean for you, the common gamer, who has no interest in software development or distribution? It means absolutely nothing and everything. Let me explain.

Windows 8 40 days with Windows 8: A gamers perspective

Windows 8 UI
Windows 8′s new panel-driven “Modern UI” interface, at one point called  Metro, replaces the standard desktop when booting into a PC (you can return to the a slightly neutered desktop view by clicking the start button). A few actions that I once found simple to execute have become a bit more complex and counter-intuitive–uninstalling a game quickly comes to mind.

If you’re in Windows 8′s traditional desktop view, you’ll find that you can only delete desktop apps. Software downloaded via the Modern UI is uninstalled from within the new interface. Applications not yet supported by the tile-based UI (Steam, Origin) launch from the classic desktop by default.

This disorganized, schizophrenic split between the new and old is frustrating. Playing The Walking Dead takes me to the desktop, while Microsoft games open in the new view. It might seem like a minor complaint, but if you dig deeper you’ll find that this affects the way developers build their games.

windows 8 store games1 40 days with Windows 8: A gamers perspective

Windows Store
Microsoft has had its hand in digital sales for quite some time with the very well established Xbox Live Marketplace, and plans to expand with Windows Store. There’s additional upside to this: having a certification process creates conformity and regulates requirements that all apps should meet like the ability to uninstall, sanitized and organized code, and overall app efficiency. This also means that patches have to be thoroughly tested, and any kinks within them fixed before they’re released to the public. This should hopefully prevent another Fez situation from occurring and deliver top-quality product free of disastrous bugs (Skyrim, I’m looking your way). If this works out how Microsoft intends, consumers and gamers will have easier times updating their software, and buying and playing games. 

The way content is categorized makes sense. If you know what you’re looking for, the search bar is a blessing (just remember to hover your mouse over the top right corner of the screen for it to appear). Gamers, rest assured that even Mature (PEGI 18 for you British blokes) titles will be available in the store. Modders, games purchased from the store will not be moddable, but if they’re purchased elsewhere, you’ll be fine.

Playing Games in Windows 8
I was able to enjoy everything I was playing on Windows 7 before the big move to Windows 8. The Walking Dead, Borderlands 2, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, Guild Wars 2, Hawken, Braid, Bastion, and Super Meat Boy.

What Windows 8 Means for Gaming
Ultimately, Windows 8 gaming can go in one of two directions. Nothing changes and gamers continue to experience the joys of PC gaming, or the more bleak but improbable case where developers refuse  to support the platform. Notch has already stated that he will not.

As much as I respect Notch for his game design and indie development prowess, Minecraft is a browser-based Java game that’s made its way to numerous platforms meaning that he needn’t worry about compatibility issues. I don’t know about Notch’s future products, but would he really ignore Windows 8 in favor of Mac OS X? Or Linux? Both of those platforms are moving forward in terms of gaming, but we can safely say they aren’t close to matching Windows’ footprint. I don’t see developers going anywhere right now.

Instead, why don’t we revel in the new platform’s power? Windows 8 is PC gaming’s “next gen.” Direct X 11.1 and 12 is knocking on our doors and pushing the graphical possibilities. Xbox owners have another platform on which to attach their gamertags and stay connected with friends. Smart Glass integration improves media interaction across the Xbox and Windows 8.  You’ll still be able to play your favorite games some even running better. There’s a huge reason we’re only hearing complaints from distributors, but not a peep from other PC gaming markets. Graphics card and peripheral manufacturers would certainly voice their concerns if they felt that Windows 8 has the potential to harm PC gaming in any way. In fact, ATI and Nvidia are already pushing out updated drivers.

After 40 days of  using Windows 8, I’ve found the new operating system responsive and free of compatibility issues. Sure, it has a duality that may prove vexing to some, but gamers have very little to fear at this point and no reason to prematurely dub Windows 8 a flop.

WordPress Author Box

Features Editor Eric Guzman will play any game at least once. Any game. That even means Detective Barbie, although he prefers to flex his video game muscles with fighting games such as Street Fighter IV and Marvel vs. Capcom 3. When he isn’t in the digital dojo, he loves watching films or reading comics.

Follow me on Twitter
Follow @eric2dx on Twitter

9 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Jeremy C December 10, 2012 at 2:30 PM - Reply

    Hey i cant believe that no one has commented on this. You sir are correct. The OS does offer speed improvement which in PC gaming are never a bad thing. I really cant see what all the crying is about. I respect M$ for being so bold as to use the same kernel across the ecosystem. I think the next year or so we’ll begin to see what devs can really do with it.

    • Eric Guzman December 10, 2012 at 6:14 PM - Reply

      Thanks, I do find it frustrating at times, but I do believe the OS is refreshing and hasn’t hampered my gaming experience one bit. I agree next year we’ll see its capabilities.

  2. Rob December 16, 2012 at 2:41 PM - Reply

    The first thing Windows 8 did was to tell me that software I used fine on windows 7 would not work because my graphics card driver was not correctly installed. As always with Microsoft products, nothing ever works properly or first time and there is no way of getting proper help.

    • Jeffrey L. Wilson December 16, 2012 at 2:55 PM - Reply

      Did you manage to fix the issue? Did it require GPU driver updates?

    • Eric Guzman December 17, 2012 at 10:39 PM - Reply

      I’m confident that every major GPU manufacturer released a driver update upon windows 8 release. This isn’t a Microsoft problem and it’s probably a needed update.

  3. dogface December 31, 2012 at 10:44 PM - Reply

    Windows 8 is the most disgusting operating system for a desktop computer I have seen. I would not use it if they gave it away for free. I don’t just dislike it, I hate it! I never actually hated an operating system from Microsoft before this. The main reason is that I have no choice. I want a desktop operating system for my desktop. Windows 8 looks OK for a touch device, but since I have no choice in my desktop OS I will not buy any Windows 8 device and I will advise all I know not to buy Windows 8 devices. Screw you Microsoft for trying to jam this abomination of an OS down everyone’s throat.

    • Jad March 15, 2013 at 2:50 PM - Reply

      You obviously have not a hint of a clue what you are talking about, but I guess you have seen ONE screenshot of the new and EXTRA user interface, which does not replace the well known desktop. That is still there.

  4. Jason January 3, 2013 at 9:50 AM - Reply

    I prefer lists and files, rather than big tiles. Everywhere I look, tradional lists are being replaced by these large tiles that take up a lot of space and give minimal information, which makes browsing slow and more work. A classic example is the iOS app store. It was fine before ios 6, with a list you could quickly scan through alphabetically. Now it takes much longer – you have to look at full screens for each app and they can be slow to load and you can’t see the app in alphabetical context. On mobile devices it is excusable but on a widescreen monitor, what is the point of having huge tiles? It’s ridiculous.

    Perhaps we are entering an era of such simplified interfaces, but Windows 8 is definitely not the way to do it. I think many serious windows users consider the previous window concept far superior in comparison as to what the industry is apparently heading to.

  5. Darkguardian1314 January 3, 2013 at 11:31 PM - Reply

    WIndows 8 was oversold to those with single core processors as a reasonable replacement for WIndows XP. I bought it and used it for 30 days before finally reinstalling Windows XP. One to many Blue Screen Of Death at the worst time.

    I ran the compatibility software before buying and passed with only one item not supported. (iTunes)
    Though it runs on an AMD 64 with 2 GB Ram and GeForce 8400, it shouldn’t be attempted even if it cost only $40.

Leave A Response