Windows 8: Is It Any Cop?

By Lewie Procter on September 14th, 2011 at 12:30 pm.


Surprise! The company that is responsible for the operating system what runs on most of our computers is planning a new version. Again. Following on from the success of Windows 7 comes, for once logically, Windows 8. Major changes are afoot in the world of Windows, and some of those changes might even be relevant to us. Microsoft is currently holding its Build conference, intended for developers to get clued up about what’s going on with their latest OS version – if you’ve got a spare couple of hours, why not fill them with Microsoft employees talking about Windows 8 by watching the Keynote presentation here? Or don’t, because it’s a bit dry. So here’s my summary of the more game-relevant bits…

  • Touch first, Metro UI. This is the big new thing. Previous iterations of Windows have had support for touch screen controls (I think at least as far back as XP), but with Windows 8, there is a whole new UI designed around touch interface. You will still be able to use keyboard and mouse for everything, and you can also easily switch back to the classic Windows interface if you prefer. “Metro” is the name they give to swish menus with panning and zooming, following on from ‘Aero’, which powers Vista/7’s 3D and translucent bits.
  • Fundamental performance gains: On a 3 year old netbook, for example, the current build of Windows 8 uses 281MB of RAM, whereas Windows 7 would use 404mb. Extra RAM being available for games could be quite nice to have, especially on older systems.
  • All Windows 7 apps will work on Windows 8. In fact, they said “Everything that runs on Windows 7 will run on Windows 8″, so that’s that. Hopefully it means no nasty compatibility issues with games and other software alike
  • Xbox Live Integration. This is the one where it’s hard to tell exactly what to expect. What they clearly do not mean is being able to put Xbox discs in your PC, despite hysterical claims along those lines from other parts of the internet. Xbox’s global mouthpiece, Major Nelson, shares some vagaries about the plan for Xbox on Windows 8 over on his blog here, but it seems to me like, aside from now including their marketplace for games inside the OS, along with their services for music, movies and TV , the key focuses are going to be on sharing achievements and social guff between the various Microsoft and Windows platforms, and “touch first” Metro-style games, which potentially could be cross developed for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 7 (and Nvidia seem to think WP7 apps will run natively on Windows 8).
  • Built in app store. From what they’ve shown, it looks like they are going to have a marketplace for “apps” which will be relatively open for developers. There will be a certification process, but they intend to make it “as transparent as possible”. It supports paid and free apps, and developers can optionally include demos. It’s not clear what, if any, barriers they might erect against developers wanting to publish on their marketplace, and what restrictions they might have around Xbox integration.
  • The developer preview of Windows 8 is now available, so if you want to play with an early version of it, go ahead.
  • What do we think? Is anyone already making plans to camp outside PC World come release day? Obviously the real big push here is to make Windows work as a hybrid Tablet/Desktop OS, building on the fairly solid base of Win7 as a Desktop OS. Having a tablet that you can hook up to a PC and mouse and turn into a proper PC sounds nice, and I can see how the new Metro interface would be highly attractive to non-expert users – but I can’t really imagine the majority of desktop users abandoning their keyboards and mice in exchange for a touchscreen any time soon.

    Still, if this OS helps touchscreen monitors for desktop become a bit more widespread, I can think of plenty of PC games where touchscreen controls, in addition to keyboard and mouse, could be a nice addition.

    Is Microsoft still relevant to PC gaming? Do we think any of these Windows 8 features will help shape the future of PC gaming? Is anyone out there still using XP? And could a successful Windows App Store potentially spell bad times for Steam et al?

    .

    209 Comments »

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    1. Nick says:

      Well, I only just got windows 7 so.. uh..

      • President Weasel says:

        is 8 going to be the Millennium to 7’s XP, or the Star Trek 5 to 7’s The Voyage Home?
        or to put the question in a less convoluted way, MS have a history or releasing a half-decent* OS followed by a bit of a pig’s ear. Having been the “proud” owner of PCs with two of the “dodgy” OSes (Me and Vista) I’m wondering if it might be better to just get 7, which is widely reported as being pretty decent.

        (*yes, yes, linux advocates, “decent compared to other MS operating systems”)

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        Chaz says:

        Yeah same here and my old machine is still on XP.

      • MadTinkerer says:

        When I get my next desktop, maybe.

      • LozTaylor says:

        Yer, same. Literally just got Win7 on my new desktop 5 days ago…

      • Nesetalis says:

        on windows… I could not go back to XP after using 7, its like a breath of fresh air…. after sitting in a cess pool for half my life.. :P
        linux on the other hand, (i dual boot with gentoo) is my go-to for many things, and is far more useful when i’m not gaming or programming for windows :P

        I’m not ready to switch to 8 any time soon, MS doesn’t need more of my money XD

      • Groove says:

        Yeah, I got my first pc with windows 7 less than three weeks ago.

      • Snargelfargen says:

        I upgraded 6 months ago, but uhhh yeah I think I’ll wait.

        It sounds like Microsoft have their head screwed on right this time, but that’s no reason to be an early adopter and struggle with the inevitable problems that crop up.

      • Tacroy says:

        Traditionally, Windows (much like Star Trek) is on a buy/skip schedule. Windows XP was the buy version, Vista was skip, 7 is buy, and of course 8 will be skip.

      • Baines says:

        I have hope that 8 will also be good. The move to fully support tablets and the like means that efficiency has to matter. One of the things that made XP and 7 good compared to Me and Vista was a push for efficiency.

        On the other hand, the focus on supporting tablets and the like could make this a trainwreck of epic proportions, or simply just ill-conceived. The touch screen interface could make doing stuff even more convoluted (even if you switch back to the standard interface) thanks to Microsoft moving functionality around and putting more steps between where you are and what you want to get to. Microsoft could also cut too much to get the OS running on simpler devices. Or having scaling issues. When you look at the Xbox 360 Dashboard as well as the entirety of Games for Windows Live, the integration of Live could end up being a big negative instead of just a somewhat unnecessary act.

    2. psyk says:

      Man they are just shitting these out now, still on xp and vista

      • Mattressi says:

        Yeah, I’m still on XP. People mocked me for not planning to upgrade to Vista, then bemoaned how crap it was when it came out. Some of those people still mocked me for not getting Windows 7, though it apparently wasn’t so bad. Still, why should I bother upgrading to a new OS simply because the new one looks prettier and has entirely pointless features (to me) and using up more resources. And now Windows 8 is coming out. I might consider upgrading to Windows 7 eventually, if games stop supporting DX9 – but why the hell would I ever upgrade to desktop/tablet PC hybrid OS like W8? It sounds like Windows 8 is simply trying to add ‘cool’ new features and lock people into MS more (with ‘Xbox on your PC but not rly lol’ and ‘Facebook on your PC but not rly lol’). Maybe I’m overly cynical though…

      • soldant says:

        Don’t you remember the pre-XP days? There was a new Windows release every 1 or 2 years. The gap between XP and Vista was unusual and out of character, this kind of release pattern is how things used to be.

      • Richie Shoemaker says:

        When I buy a new PC I use whatever version of Win it comes with until the PC inevitably dies 4,5 or 6 years later. I would rather buy a stack of games than a new OS, given that every other Win is universally hated until at least Service Pack 2

      • Walsh says:

        You should be mocked for being on Windows XP still. That thing will be out of support soon, which means no more security updates.

      • Dreamhacker says:

        Mock my smock. Win XP is the best (or rather, the least bad) OS to come out of Microsoft since Win 2000. I’m upgrading to Win7 come BF3, but I will still be dual-booting XP.

      • Gnoupi says:

        @XP users – you can’t play Just Cause 2 and we can. Therefore, we win.

        Seriously though, Vista had issues when released, but improved later. Windows 7, however, came out quite good and performing since the beginning. While I understand the reasons to cling to something which works, like XP, 7 “just works”, too.

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        Cinek says:

        “Win XP is the best ” – was the best till Win 7 came out. Now in matters of usability, performance, compatibility with modern soft it outmatches XP easily. With Win7 your PC works almost like a console – plug&play. No worries about drivers, no worries about DX10/11 being incompatible, much better navigation in explorer (right bottom edge to call desktop, press start & type app name, breadcrumbs navigation – stuff like this makes you use PC twice as fast, I feel like XP is a big old brick after using Win7 for a while). There really is no reason to sit on old grandpa these days unless you have REALLY old PC that for some reasons cannot run Win7. But if so than probably you should upgrade anyway.

      • Ace Jon says:

        And the hotkeys! The glorious new hotkeys and sensible taskbar. Old Windows has nothing on 7. XP doesn’t even have a proper search function.

      • Khemm says:

        I used to be in the same “Win XP forevar!!” camp as some people here. Bought a new desktop and it made sense to get Win 7, so I did. Wise decision that was, I can’t go back to XP just like I couldn’t go back to Win 98 after trying out XP.
        It just provides a much better experience, working on it is easier, it takes advantage of the hardware currently on the market. It’s not about “looking pretty”.

      • Balobam says:

        I agree with Cinek, after using 7 I find XP to be too slow and clunky. I was wary with Vista because of everything bad about it I heard, but with 7 I thought I’ll dive into the deep end and got it, and haven’t looked back.

        I can see no reason why anyone would use XP over 7, as it basically is a smoother, prettier, more streamlined and useful version of XP.

        Plus the plug&play type features are just excellent, automatically finding whatever drivers it is I need. And the search function is actually speedy and useful.

      • djbriandamage says:

        I have no idea where the Vista hate comes from. Vista was better than XP in just about every way, and 7 moreso. Honestly, if you think XP is better you’re deluding yourself. Gamers should know better than anyone how far software engineering has come in 13 years. Do you use Netscape Navigator as well? If not, why not?

      • LuNatic says:

        Windows 7 doesn’t scale for old hardware quite as well as XP, but on a machine that’ll happily play games such as Bad Company 2, or Metro 2033 you won’t notice a practical difference. My gaming rig seems to boot faster now than when it had XP. Some of the new features are quite nice too, like how Windows XP mode gives me access to the iTunes store without letting Apple put all sorts of pointless crap into my startup. The new taskbar and dock-style UI is ugly, but easily reverted to a more usable format. Vista was a trainwreck, but I don’t have more complaints with 7 than I did with XP. And I have to mention the search. Coming from XP, I thought ‘meh, who needs it’ but now that it works, it would be hard to lose it again.

      • Nesetalis says:

        the vista hate came from the fact that you couldn’t install it on an XP machine.. 90% of the XP machines were under 1gig of ram, had no more than 2ghz processor (at best) and a slow hard drive…
        this meant that vista, which needed 2gigs of ram to even be comfortable would bog the system down with very slow swapping constantly… making it almost unusable..
        in windows 7 they cut that in half to 1gb of ram needed, and it runs fairlys moothly on 1.5ghz processor..

        However what really did it though, was the march of technology, in those 3-4 years the computers advanced from the average being a single core 1.5ghz processor with 1-2gb of ram… to being 2-4 core 2-4ghz processor with 3-4gb of ram.. and many these days now have SSD drives.. and even then, as i have 8gb ram, i NEVER swap.

        vista came out before the hardware was ready for it.

      • Milky1985 says:

        “@XP users – you can’t play Just Cause 2 and we can. Therefore, we win.”

        I’m an XP user and i have played just cause 2, using something called a “PS3″

        “You should be mocked for being on Windows XP still. That thing will be out of support soon, which means no more security updates.”

        http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/?LN=en-gb&C2=1173

        If by soon you mean 3 years then yes it will be out of support soon!

        Don’t get me wrong i really like windows 7 and will upgrade to it at some point on my gaming pc (its already on my media machine)

        But maybe peope
        le cause be less twatty about people still using XP, according to the steam survey theres still about 19% of users out there with it so its on the way out but not gone yet :p

      • Stupoider says:

        Don’t touch Vista, but if you’re using XP you’d better grab Windows 7. Took some time to get into, but it’s very slick and manageable. At least for me, anyways.

      • LionsPhil says:

        the vista hate came from the fact that you couldn’t install it on an XP machine

        Bzzt. Several new things in Vista simply weren’t done right yet. SuperFetch, in particular, was too aggressive, which made it thrashy regardless of machine specs.

        I’ve also seen an install absolutely self-destruct in the same kind of way ME did. Shed its keyboard drivers at one point. It was just plain broken.

      • Mad Hamish says:

        alright then some of you lads seem to know what ye’re talking about. I have an XP 32bit(started with vista but feck that) laptop 2.5ghz dual core, 4 gigs o ram and a Geforce 8600GT. Now, I do not care about usability, slick menus or any of that shite. Games is what I care about. Will I get a performance boost if I upgrade or will it just suck up more of my memory? I’ve been pondering this for ages, but never settled on an decision.

      • LionsPhil says:

        I went from XP64 to Win7 x64 on my gaming machine recently.

        You will not notice any difference. The only reason I bothered is because XP64 keeps being treated like a red-headed stepchild. XP32 is still perfectly fine unless you have a DX10+-only game you want to play. 7’s new bits are nice but nowhere near essential.

        The one exception is that ReadyBoost (augmenting a spindle HDD with a flash cache via a USB dongle, SD card, or the like) cuts TF2 loading times noticably.

      • DigitalSignalX says:

        The only reason I went to 7 is for DX11 support on a new rig. I set the UI to look just like Win2K, same as I did on XP. All the 3D Aero jazz is fluff imho. I like the support for 4+ GB RAM, it boots faster/uses less overhead for services, and networking various resources across groups / domains is almost stupidly easy compared to XP. On the other hand, you absolutely must disable UAC, the silly firewall, and fixing hardware / driver settings is more contrary to its user friendliness where XP will let you stick your hands in the gears quite easily.

        I see no reason to upgrade to 8. I don’t own a touch screen, and any performance improvements will be minimal compared to the pain of reinstalling, configuring and sorting out all the stuff I have/do on 7.

      • LionsPhil says:

        you absolutely must disable UAC

        This statement is, quite simply, false. The firewall’s usefulness is questionable if you are always behind a NAT router, but it is not “silly”, either.

      • _PixelNinja says:

        Some rare exception aside, there isn’t any reason to still be on XP these days:

        – The performance on Win7 64 is better (given your computer is not a dinosaur);
        – You are no longer limited to 4Gb of total addressable memory space (RAM + VRAM + Motherboard etc.) which is important these days if you are a gamer;
        – You are no longer limited to DX9 which again is to take into account if you are a gamer;
        – More importantly: security is higher.

      • DigitalSignalX says:

        @LionsPhil

        You’re right, for the average user UAC should never be disabled, just have the prompts turned off. However, for the more technically minded gamer, particularly one who does not use Microsoft IE as a browser and is security conscious as a matter of habit, one who routinely is involved in manipulating services, devices, system files and ironing out the many issues we have getting games and peripherals to run smoothly, I stand by my opinion that UAC hinders more then it helps.

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        frymaster says:

        Vista was hated partly because there was a new video driver system, and the drivers that were written in the first year were, frankly, very badly written.

        I first encountered vista around the time the service pack came out – but I didn’t install it for several months and everything was fine. My conclusion is it wasn’t the service pack that improved things, but rather nvidia getting their act together.

        Re: readyboost etc. making the machine “thrashy” – I’ve no hard numbers myself, but people have a tendency to associate “the HDD making lots of noise” with “the machine is struggling” and I’m wondering if the fact that it would pre-load lots of stuff in the background was in and of itself the source of this belief, rather than a failure to make sure it interfered. Again, I have no hard data; I’ve just observed that my computers seem to be “faster” if I’m using remote desktop to use them rather than sitting there, for example.

      • LionsPhil says:

        No, there was a genuine issue with SuperFetch being overeager. It’s been toned back in 7 for that reason; the details are on Microsoft Technet somewhere.

      • djbriandamage says:

        @Mad Hamlish
        Windows 7 won’t magically make your games run at double frame rate. It might even slow some games down due to the increased memory footprint of the operating system itself.

        Where Win7 will improve your experience is in the way it takes advantage of modern hardware. The UI is all 3D accelerated which takes a huge burden off your CPU. A technology called SuperFetch determines which programs you run the most frequently and caches some of them in unused RAM, and also sticks them close to the front of of the hard drive where it can be read the most quickly. You also get DirectX 10 and 11, of course, which provides many new effects and often seems to run supported games more smoothly than on DirectX 9.

        You’ve got a pretty good computer so Win7 will be very enjoyable for you. If you get it, I highly recommend the 64 bit version. If you’re nonplussed by the things I’ve mentioned (which only pertain to gaming – there’s a zillion UI productivity improvements) then I’d say wait until Windows 8 which is a few months away.

      • simonh says:

        Other than RAM usage (which doesn’t really matter if you have 4+GB), both Vista and 7 generally have better performance in games (and not just in DX10/11) than XP, so that’s one reason. Prefetching is aslo nice.

        Myself I get free Windows through MSDNAA (Microsoft Developer Network Academic Alliance (if you’re in school, ask the IT guy about it, you might get free stuff)) so price is not really an issue. If it wasn’t free I probably wouldn’t bother updating.

      • skurmedel says:

        I’ve seen Vista DEP hard kill Adobe Acrobat after some kind of malicious PDF opened in my browser, which tried to inject stuff into executable memory. I never had the chance to react. It just killed the Acrobat plugin (and subsequently the browser crashed.) Since then I’m grateful everytime I see a UAC prompt or any of the new Vista security stuff.

        It’s basically what you will do on Linux too, except you’ll use the sudo command or some GUI variant of it.

    3. outoffeelinsobad says:

      I sincerely doubt they were thinking of desktop pc’s when they designed this iteration.

      On the plus side, we might finally be able to play Windows games on tablets.

      • Jumwa says:

        Yeah, that’s all I really see out of this worth mentioning.

        Any Xbox integration they talk about will be strictly choked off and regimented to protect their precious console and the royalties they get for all releases on it, same as always.

        It’s not all that interesting to me however, even as a tablet OS. As I just bought myself a swanky new tablet and opted for an Android OS over Win7, because I figured having it run smoothly for the things I really wanted it to do was more important than occasionally playing gimped versions of PC games on a bloated OS. And I take care of my property very well, so I doubt I’ll be in the market for another any time soon.

      • hotcod says:

        I think in terms of classic desktops windows 8 is more just windows 7 mark 2. Shut down all the metro type stuff and you’ll pretty much just get a better running windows 7 with some new additions. However it seems the goal of this iteration is to really push convergence with the desktop (if you have one at all) acting as the hub. So you phone, tablet, console and PC will all have windows 8 pulling them together. Which I think is a reasonable thing to do as it’s clearly aiming to address the area of the market that Apple have been making inroads in to.

      • outoffeelinsobad says:

        That makes sense. I’m trying to fight the urge to calling Apple and Microsoft johnny-come-latelies, because I don’t want to sound like a petulant Google fanboy.

      • Walsh says:

        Where is Google’s desktop OS again?

      • Bodminzer says:

        @Hotcod: But that’s the really wretched thing; you can’t just shut down all the Metro crap, at least not permanently. The classic desktop is accessible, but only temporarily, as an icon in the main list of applications. At first when I saw Win8 i thought ‘Oh OK, one interface option for grandma, one for people who’d rather just have Windows’ but nope. From what I’ve read from people who’ve actually had the chance to use it in person, they described the constant switching as ‘Schizophrenic’.

      • daf says:

        @hotcod, Unless it changes on future versions Metro is the primary UI, you can’t turn it off. Best you can do is open the desktop but everytime you click the start menu button you’ll just be opening Metro again which replaces the start menu.

        I’m still hopping the old start menu is still there and can be enabled by some unknown method, time will tell I guess…

        @bodminzer, why is everyone a faster typist then me :|

      • Azhrarn says:

        @Bodminzer:

        I’d recommend reading the following: http://arstechnica.com/microsoft/news/2011/09/hands-on-with-windows-8-a-tablet-operating-system-for-the-pc-age.ars

        It basically says the opposite. Metro is linked to the start button (and start screen) but beyond that is a normal windows desktop. :) Providing you’re not using a touch device.

      • LionsPhil says:

        I’m running the linked developer preview in VirtualBox. It’s an absolute trainwreck.

        Everything seems to be Metro-by-default, and Metro does not work with keyboard and mouse. All the usual interface elements are gone. Like “cancel” buttons. Control Panel traps you in a fullscreen swipey thing where to get out you have to hit Ctrl-Esc, best I can find.

        The Start Menu, in particular, is gone. It’s a button that returns you to Metro. If you push into the corner you can get at some things, like Search. Those things do not include All Programs. Or shut down. In fact my VM is still spending minutes trying to log off because that’s the closest thing I could find to shutting down anywhere.

        When your parents upgrade to this, they are going to be the phone to you every five minutes until you can get them to find and tick the box that turns it all back into Win7. Which I assume exists somewhere. Hope. Edit: Apparently it doesn’t! Registry hack only for now. Ye gods.

        Oh wow. Logging off just apparently timed out and failed. I’m back looking at Metro again, logged in. There is no escape.

      • Milky1985 says:

        So one person says

        “I’m running the linked developer preview in VirtualBox. It’s an absolute trainwreck.

        Everything seems to be Metro-by-default, and Metro does not work with keyboard and mouse”

        And hte linked ars – techinca article says –

        “The Start screen, however, shakes things up a bit. Hit the Windows key on the keyboard, or the Windows button on the taskbar, and you don’t get a regular Start menu. You get the same start screen as the touch users do. Instead of touching tiles with your finger, you click them with your mouse.”

        Implying that mouse does work on the metro stuff.

        Maybe your virtualbox doesn’t support it properly yet and this trainwreck you are talking about is actually simply that they have not updated it to work with windows 8!!!!

        (not tested it myself yet but feel the need to point out conflicting details sometimes)

      • LionsPhil says:

        If I literally meant “Metro does not take keyboard/mouse input at all”, I would have said that. Perhaps you shouldn’t “just point out” things with half a dozen exclamation marks from a position of complete self-declared ignorance.

        I’m taking screenshots as I go. (Please go easy on my bandwidth, though, guys.) What probably is a limitation of being in a VM with no 3D accelleration is that the only tile app that will actually launch is Control Panel. The rest just wriggle a bit when clicked. Nothing launches, no errors, no feedback at all. I can’t even look at, say, the weather. Or Internet Explorer (although that works fine in Desktop mode).

      • jimjonescult says:

        @LionsPhil
        Dude, you are using Win 8, an unsupported by VirtualBox OS, in VirtualBox, a VM that is sometimes wonky and certainly not very performant, with no guest additions and complaining that it doesn’t work. How about you just partition your hard drive and dual boot so you can get the full correct experience rather than complain about piss poor virtualization of a non-supported OS?

      • LionsPhil says:

        Sure are a bunch of geniuses around here. The only fault you can ascribe to the virtualisation here is that things failing to start may be lack of 3D hardware. Performance would be one except that the performance is pretty much fine. (There was no disk I/O or CPU load during the attempted log-off.) The rest is pure bad UI.

        Pure bad UI that it doesn’t seem possible to turn off in this release through any exposed option.

      • Jeremy says:

        I have to work pretty regularly with VMs and I’ll hold off on making a judgment based on that. Also, desktop stuff has always been pretty customizable, and I am fairly certain Metro can be disabled as well for more traditional functionality. So those things don’t bother me too much. The thing I think I like most is that Win8 is supposed to be more efficient with system resources, which translates into “free” performance for apps and games.

      • Milky1985 says:

        @ LionsPhil

        You exact words were

        “Everything seems to be Metro-by-default, and Metro does not work with keyboard and mouse.”

        So maybe you should take your own advice (that i will repeat below) , the advice that you decided to give below in as smug a way as you possibly could – “Perhaps you shouldn’t “just point out” things with half a dozen exclamation marks from a position of complete self-declared ignorance.

        Also with virtulization there is a supported OS list for a reason, simply because they have to use lots of tricks and tweaks to get it behaving properly, they even say that other OS’s will possibly work but would behave oddly.

        “When your parents upgrade to this, they are going to be the phone to you every five minutes until you can get them to find and tick the box that turns it all back into Win7. Which I assume exists somewhere. Hope. Edit: Apparently it doesn’t! Registry hack only for now. Ye gods.”

        You know this is a developer preview right? Its nowhere near final code yet but is enough for developres to start fiddling with it.

        Maybe you should actually install it on a proper machine to take the VM out of the situation (specally one that isn’t all that liked in soe circles due to basically being a bit rubbish), understand that its a developer PREVIEW and wipe that smug look off your face?

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        frymaster says:

        @LionsPhil:

        one thing to bear in mind is this is a developer preview, so people can start writing code/testing their programs, and a major aim is to get people writing metro apps. It’s not necessarily the case that the user experience you’re seeing will be what’s in the release; we’ll have to wait for the beta to fnd out.

        (I’m not saying it won’t be, either)

        also, damn it! for some reason I never thought of running it in a VM. Downloading now…

      • LionsPhil says:

        Oi. Offensive little dullards:

        I am not experiencing any “unusal behaviour” consistent with virtualisation issues except the one I have already repeatedly stated is likely explained by lack of 3D hardware.

        These are user interface problems.

        Also, when using the “it’s only a preview” excuse, it helps if you bother to notice I qualified with “for now”. Holy shit, maybe I actually considered that.

        Also also, if you’re going to repeatedly rail on about running it on real hardware, please go ahead and be my guest—once you’ve done it yourself perhaps you’ll shut up. Personally, I’m in no hurry to do so this side of a full backup. It’s a preview release, you know.

    4. mejoff says:

      Sword of the Stars is the game that springs most readily to mind as one which would benefit from touch screen.

      • Baboonanza says:

        All sort of strategy games would benefit from touchscreens, but not on a monitor. What you want there is Surface, or any other form of table mounted touch-display.

        SotS2 on one of those would be dreamy.

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        MajorManiac says:

        But now we can’t eat crisps while playing.

      • Baboonanza says:

        True, now you are only allowed to eat things that can be bobbed from a bucket of water without marring the skin of your fingers with any form of greasy/juicy residue.

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        MajorManiac says:

        Next they’ll release the MS Feed-bag.

      • Gnoupi says:

        R.U.S.E was made with a thought for touchscreens: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-oArux66gA

    5. DVSBSTD says:

      Microsoft got users excited with Windows 7. They seem to be doing the same for developers with Windows 8. And, heresy, but I think I can live with the ribbon in Windows 8’s Explorer. It actually makes a few things faster.

    6. Baboonanza says:

      Seems pretty irrelevant to gaming to me, but then I see no need to change from Windows 7 for a few years so that’s fine by me.

      • DrGonzo says:

        More RAM, but not too relevant. I can see us all having touchscreen monitors in 5 years or so and that having a few negligible features in games. But really it just looks pretty, and really that’s enough for me to want to upgrade.

    7. Similar says:

      Now I can’t help wanting a Metro 2033 UI.

      • karry says:

        I dont want a Metrosexual UI.

      • Wunce says:

        Now I want a UI which is actually a metropolis for you to explore, each application can be run by entering its doors. Your firewall is literally a wall of fire surrounding your city and anti-virus software are represented by police manually checking each building for traces of unwanted activity. Of course to delete an application you are going to need a lot of explosives.

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        Aninhumer says:

        @Wunce

        So what you’re saying is they should remake Microsoft Bob as an FPS?

    8. Kaira- says:

      I’ve been on Win7 for… two or three years now? I doubt I’ll move away from 7 until they cut off security updates or some following Windows-iteration has something really good.

      On a side note, I wish Linux would be a more prominent platform for gaming (Windows feels a tad clunky after using Linux).

      • Kraky says:

        linux was never a user-oriented os until ubuntu came along, and tbh, ubuntu still has a long way to go

      • Kaira- says:

        True, but luckily things are moving forwards. I personally abandoned Ubuntu when they introduced Unity, as it was… well, shit. Yes, I could’ve changed to Gnome quite painlessly and so, but I decided to go check other waters.

      • Baggypants says:

        Forgotten about Mandrake and it’s control centre already?

      • Joe Duck says:

        Steam is the killer app. If someone somewhere was able to make a Steam interface for X, an make something like GOG’s Dosbox model but with WINE, then a Steam Linux store would be possible, even if just for older games that required less resources.
        I would erase Windows from my computer and never look back.

      • Eclipse says:

        I find Windows 7 much better than any Linux distro. Not even talking about the fact that if you are a game developer or a pc gamer you just *need* windows.
        Linux is too much fragmented to be a good OS, there are a gazillion distros all with huge flaws. And they’re often not user friendly at all, they lack drivers and so on.
        Windows is compatible with every piece of hardware you throw inside your case.

      • SLeigher says:

        This version of WIndows is definitely not going to be the one to make you leave Win7, especially as they’re claiming everything that works on 7 will work on 8. They must have changed almost nothing for that to be true as they’re are MIcrosoft-made games (AOE 3 expansions come to mind) which while designed for Vista required you to manually edit an ini file to run on 7.

      • DrazharLn says:

        Eclipse, I humbly suggest you try a recent Linux release. I haven’t had any driver issues in a couple of years and package managers remain the best possible way to install and manage software.

        Related, the Linux game scene is getting better all the time. Pretty much all the humble Indie bundle games have Linux builds, with flash and WINE you’ve got a pretty good selection of cross platform games. There aren’t that many good open source games that I can find, though (Battle for Wesnoth and Warsow being notable exceptions).

        Edit: Steam works in WINE, btw, even if only some of the games you can download through it work.

    9. Calneon says:

      There’s nothing there that makes me want to upgrade from Windows 7. I wouldn’t use the new touch screen UI (wonder why that is), GFWL is awful so I don’t want the whole Xbox Live integration. Don’t want the app store. Performance increases I’ll wait and see how much improvement there is.

      I made the mistake of upgrading the Vista when it was release, I won’t make that mistake again.

    10. Ginger Yellow says:

      I don’t see how they’re going to avoid running into competition issues with the app store/Xbox Live for Windows. How is this different from bundling IE with Windows? Are they going to have to do a similar thing when you install, asking if you want Steam or Impulse or even iTunes?

      • Kaira- says:

        Yes, crossed my mind also. Going to be interesting to see what will happen with that.

      • LionsPhil says:

        How is this different from bundling IE with Windows?

        How is that different from bundling Safari with OS X, or Firefox with almost any desktop Linux distro?
        And Media Player with Windows vs iTunes with OS X and prrrrrobably Rhythmbox with Linux?

        The whole “bundling” thing was a complete farce and was SOP to make the OS useful from the get-go by the time anyone actually got around to slapping Microsoft’s wrist.

      • Eclipse says:

        That was actually unfair, as apple bundles both safari and itunes with every mac. Competition whined a lot about that IE thing years ago but now everyone is doing the same

      • Nithy says:

        The difference is that it is now 2011 and not 1999. MS has some stiff competition on various fronts and every OS is pretty much bundled with a default browser.

        Also, I’m pretty sure the justice department restrictions have expired and MS is now free to do what it wants.

      • Ginger Yellow says:

        As I understand it, Apple gets away with it because the competition authorities aren’t granular enough to consider Macs a market. So they aren’t being anti-competitive because they have a tiny share of the “PC” market. Whereas MS has a huge share of the “PC” market, including actual PCs and Macs. Alternatively it could be because Apple actually makes the Macs themselves, so they are deemed to have the right to put whatever software they like on it.

        As for Internet Explorer, I don’t know about the US, but in Europe for the last few years Windows asks you which browser you want to use when you first install it – IE, Firefox, Opera or Safari, I think. I can easily imagine them being forced to do something similar, as the same logic seems to apply.

      • NegativeZero says:

        The issue with IE wasn’t that it was there, but that it was included for the express purpose of knocking Nutscrape out of the market, and that it was so tightly integrated with Windows there was no way to get rid of it.

        Of course the fact that no one used Netscape by that point because IE was better in just about every way had nothing to do with their marketshare plumetting or anything…

        Anyway, they would only run into a problem with the App Store if they actively prevented competitors making app distribution systems, which would be absolutely insane for MS to do, or if they required all apps to go through their new App store, which they don’t (you can even list an app in the store without going through Microsoft’s payment systems or even downloading it from them).

      • Ginger Yellow says:

        Logically, that makes sense, but it’s not the history of the EU jurisprudence. The EU fined them over Windows Media Player too, and they never barred or even hindered people from installing alternative media players. And of course it was always possible to install Netscape. Finally, the EU’s final ruling on IE came in 2009, long after Netscape qua Netscape vanished.

    11. mikmanner says:

      I’m open to change just so long as they don’t cut any Win7 functionality.

      Don’t give a shit about touchscreen unless games started using them.

      Why doesn’t Battlefield 3 have a commander role? – Sorry

    12. Premium User Badge

      oceanclub says:

      Perhaps I’m getting old but it doesn’t seem that long ago that I installed Windows 7, and it’s working fine for me. Can’t see myself actually paying to upgrade to W8 as it appears to have no must-have features.

      P.

    13. RaytraceRat says:

      Yea, because I’ve always dreamed of having more and more fingerprints and smears on my screen.

    14. enobayram says:

      All I want is to be able to uninstall every Microsoft product from my PC, and start a Linux-only life… I love you Wine, though you made me install Osmos with a single terminal command and put the icon automatically to my applications menu, you don’t replace Windows completely yet.

    15. Premium User Badge

      Monchberter says:

      The greatest challenge will be getting Windows 7 users to move on (much in the same way with XP).

      Windows 7 works well enough for most people doing computery things. There’s no hype around fancy graphics capabilites and the RAM issue is barely relevant as most people use a minumum of 2GB these days.

      It’s not fixing anything in the way that 7 did so i predict a slow uptake

    16. Premium User Badge

      Lars Westergren says:

      >Xbox Live Integration. This is the one where it’s hard to tell what exactly what to expect.

      Some have speculated Microsoft are keeping a backup plan of making XBox the brand of their entertainment services rather than a hardware platform. If the next generation of consoles would flop, we would all be turned into honorary XBox players. The game might be bought through Steam, but the target platform would be XBox PCs, much like “Games For Windows” today.

      • CMaster says:

        I’ve heard speculation that the next XBOX might be running Windows 8 (or 9 I guess). Which could have some spectacular implications, good and bad for PC gaming.

      • Baboonanza says:

        That seems pretty likely to me. Since they’ve already ported it to ARM it can’t be too much work to do the same for PowerPC (assuming they use PowerPC again, but that seems probably). And if they really have got it down to <300mb then a bit more trimming makes it a reasonable size for a next-gen console.

      • CMaster says:

        I see no real reason to assume that Xbox Whatever will use PowerPC again.They could switch back to an Intel x86 derivative, like the first Xbox, go for ARM, or follow Sony and grab one of the very clever IBM based processors.

      • Premium User Badge

        stahlwerk says:

        Hmm. I don’t see them returning to PPC for the next XBox, when FPS / Watt is a metric that’s increasingly important, I’d not be surprised if they’d opt for a supercharged NVidia Tegra SoC or something comparable.

    17. Premium User Badge

      stahlwerk says:

      I’m genuinely “super” excited about Win 8. And while Metro looks decidedly sexy, my excitement is not so much from a gaming perspective but a developer one. WinRT seems like an excellent platform layer and at last a respectable counterpart to Cocoa on OS X.

      Gaming on windows will always be tied to the accelerated graphics API, and I don’t believe we have heard what MS have got in store for us on this front. If (and that’s a big if) DirectX doesn’t fit with their future stack, I doubt they fall back to OpenGL, but maybe they’ll merge it with WPF/ Direct2d, who knows?

      Re: a future of touch screens, I think we won’t lose the k&m any time soon, it’s just way faster and precise. But as that guy said in the keynote: “You will want to use all three methods [k&m, stylus, touch]“. (as in, none of them will feel like a compromise)

      • cubed2d says:

        WPF, Silverlight and Direct2D are all built on top of Direct3D. Even the xBoxes and windows phone 7 run Direct3D. Some of the talks at build are about changes to DirectX, its not going anywhere (i hear there is a Direct3D 11.1 release comming). I dont think we have been told anything about how you can use direct3D with WinRT apps, but i bet you a million nice things that WinRT is hardware accelerated by D3D

      • Eclipse says:

        DirectX is by far the best graphics api a developer can use, OpenGL is truly a piece of crap in comparison, and I’m speaking like that because I’ve spent months over our 3d engine, that runs both a directx and opengl renderer.
        OpenGL is not only an ancient piece of C code bloated with a lot of deprecated stuff, but gave me a lot of problems on ATI cards. It’s basically useful only if you want to target mac\linux machines as well (and that’s why we’re using it). But it’s not used anywhere else. PS3 has it’s own low level libraries while Xbox has a custom DirectX based sdk.

        XNA, Silverlight, and all that stuff runs over Direct3D btw. XNA for example is just a sort of simplified DirectX wrapper

    18. LionsPhil says:

      Touchscreens on desktops are not ergonomic for extended use.

      TBH, this release is a load of bad news to me. The App store is a particularly unwelcome tumour in an open platform, and gamers should be wary of “XBox integration”, given Games for Windows Live’s unpopularity.

      • neolith says:

        I agree on all points, especially about the ergonomics.

        Also, I must say that I find the design of Metro highly unpleasant – it looks like a Mickey-Mouse-UI to me.

    19. Atic Atac says:

      I recently just downgraded to XP…I had a medium spec laptop with a medium spec gfx card. On win 7 I couldn’t run Deus Ex HR or Team Fortress without FPS issues. Windows XP runs TF2 on high without problems and Deus EX HR on medium without problems. There are no reasons to upgrade if you’re a gamer unless you have a DirectX11 monster crunching machine.

      • Calneon says:

        That doesn’t make any sense. If anything Windows 7 should run them better than XP. Sounds like something happened when you formatted your HDD rather than reverting back to XP (drivers maybe?).

      • Walsh says:

        That makes zero sense to me. And why would you downgrade to an OS that will be out of support in short order.

      • westyfield says:

        As Calneon says, it’s likely that if you formatted your HDD when installing, it cleared out a load of junk and gave you a performance boost.

      • Njordsk says:

        No BF3 on XP.

        And in my book it’s not possible sir.

      • Eclipse says:

        you did a stupid thing but you have an awesome nick\avatar combo.

      • Epskampie says:

        I can confirm Atic’s story. Going from XP to win7 battlefield: bad company 2 ran a lot worse for me on my old pc. And that was on a clean win7 install, with all the newest drivers from AMD/ATI etc.

        So he’s not alone here, i experienced the same thing. WinXP gives higher framerates, the reason is up for grabs, but probably has to do with drivers that were optimized for many years etc.

        Anyways, now i’m on a quad-core i5 with a HD6950 on windows 7, and couldn’t be happier. ^-^

    20. Premium User Badge

      MajorManiac says:

      Maybe I’ll be proved wrong, but a Built in app store seems a little redundant, when they could just have a permanent link to a website.

      Perhaps that is all it’ll actually be. A built-in link.

    21. Vexing Vision says:

      This seems to be good news, unless you happen to have to work with Korean online games which break if you update to the latest version of the Internet Explorer.

      Ugh. Hello, future.

    22. Premium User Badge

      Stellar Duck says:

      I’m not excited. At all.

      I detest touch screens and tablets so the Metro UI does nothing for me save making me remember that I still need to finish Metro 2033. Also, I have enough damn finger prints on my monitor as it is. I don’t need more of them.

      I loathe GFWL already so I have no desire to put Xbox Live in my computer as well. It’s bad enough as it is.

      I don’t quite know what I would want with an app store? I already have the programs I need. I don’t need an app store to find VLC, my DVD burner software and what ever else is on my list of stuff to get when I reinstall Windows.

      Performance gains are nice, but I’ve no problems on 7 right now so they would have to be massively massive to make me change OS quickly.

      That said, I probably will pick it up at some point, but I need more info and a better idea of the way it works. But so far, 7 is fine.

      • Dozer says:

        On a closely related note: http://ninite.com/

        In the unfortunate event I have to install Windows on anything, it’s a site that lets you choose all the common apps (VLC, Firefox etc) and download and install them all at once instead of digging them individually from fifteen separate websites.

        Of course once the system is running with the baseline apps installed, there’s no advantage to going to a central site for subsequent apps instead of just going to the app’s own site.

    23. Premium User Badge

      TheApologist says:

      There’ll be no rush for me, because I really like Windows 7. As for straight up gaming, not really much here yet that I can see.

      But if the OS allows for useful syncing of files, apps, settings, contacts, mail etc across phones, laptops, tablets and desktops then I might well reconsider. No one has really got this right yet – though Google seem to be kind of going there.

    24. Premium User Badge

      Phinor says:

      So.. are they going to deny access to Windows 8 in most of the world now that Xbox Live is integrated into the operating system and Xbox Live is only available in 35 countries?

    25. Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      Man, I haven’t upgraded to 7 yet! Hopefully it’ll have a XP-esque constantly extended support lifetime

    26. Azhrarn says:

      Ars Technica has a nice article up about it today ( http://arstechnica.com/microsoft/news/2011/09/hands-on-with-windows-8-a-tablet-operating-system-for-the-pc-age.ars ), and it basically says that the Metro UI replaces the start menu with that start screen as shown above. So there’s still a normal desktop (with a spanned taskbar on multiple screens, yay) and that looks exactly like the W7 ones. :)

      Only on tablets and such will they use the Metro UI in a more permanent capacity. The normal controls apparently work really well with it though and the feel is quite decent even in the early build they were shown.

      I’ll probably get Windows 8 for my next desktop then, as my current machine is still more than capable and already has Windows 7. So when I replace it in a year or two I’ll just get the current MS OS for it. :)

    27. Rob Maguire says:

      The only feature I want from Windows 8 is a vastly improved Windows Update, one that handles firmware and driver* updates. I know there are problems with getting vendors to play ball, not to mention the glacial approval process that infests everything Microsoft handles. I just wish setting up a new computer didn’t mean spending an hour with Windows Update, then three searching for updated drivers for all the things it doesn’t handle.

      *Yes, I know they have display drivers on Windows Update now. Too bad by the time they get onto Update, they’re several months out of date.

    28. patstew says:

      Don’t worry about getting windows 8, it’s due to be bad, microsoft have been alternately making decent and crappy OSs for a while now. (7-good, vista-crap, XP-good, ME-crap, 2000-good….)

      • LionsPhil says:

        I notice you stopped short of where it breaks down: calling 98 crap*. And you’ve also kind of merged two product lines, there—where does NT4 fit in, since you’ve listed 2000?

        * Relatively speaking. It wasn’t a huge turd laid after 95, at least.

      • patstew says:

        Actually, I think you can make a reasonable argument the the whole 9x series was crappy, and then say 2000-good, 98-crap, NT4-good, 95-crap, 3.1-good (I don’t remember past that point, and it does feel wrong to call NT4 and 3.1 good. At least NT4 crashes a lot less than 9x, even if it can’t do games, and 3.1 was a definite impovement on what had gone before….)

      • Abundant_Suede says:

        Most people seem not to remember that XP was a mess for a while after release. People refused to upgrade at first, and It wasn’t until a service pack( or two) that it really came into it’s own.

        Win 7 was a Microsoft anomaly in that it was fairly decent out of the box. But then, considering it’s really just an updated Vista, maybe not so much.

      • LionsPhil says:

        XP RTM was fine for me. I’ve had machines running it or SP1 for years before finally relenting to SP3.

        It had some limitations with things like wireless support, but then in 2001 centralised OS support for wireless was a new thing.

        If you’re going to call 9X “bad”, 3.1 has to be “awful”. Co-operative multitasking. It locked up more often than a paranoid corner-store owner with a weak bladder.

    29. UnravThreads says:

      That memory point seems a bit… I don’t know. As gamers, let’s look at it.

      In this day of Win 7, DX10, etc, you’re looking at most rigs having two to four GB of RAM at the very least. I’m on four myself. 480MB, roughly, is about 10% of my current RAM capacity. 280 is about 5%. As we move towards six, eight or even higher values of RAM, we’re talking mere percent and nothing that will make much if a difference.

      • enobayram says:

        I disagree with this attitude; the idea that my hardware is wasted because of incompetence on the Microsoft’s side disturbs me.

      • Abundant_Suede says:

        Yeah, if Win 8 were nothing more than Win 7 with better performance and a smaller foortprint I’d be interested, although like many I am still alienated by the pacing(greed) of these releases. I like Win 7, but it is still too much of a hog for my likes.

      • skinlo says:

        Doesn’t bother me. Its like people stressing out on Firefoxs memory footprint. “OMG IT USES UP 250mb!!1!”.

        Well, its a good thing I have 6gb of RAM then isn’t it…

    30. bill says:

      If App Stores have the impact on windows PCs that they’ve had on Handhelds/Phones then this is going to be a HUGE gamechanger. But possibly not for us.

      For casual windows users to be able to pull down an instant store with access to thousands of products is going to change a lot of the way software is sold. If it is sold at all… i suspect it’s going to tend towards an iOS/Android style of being mostly very cheap or free applications.

      I can’t work out how that’s going to affect more “hardcore” users though. Not just in terms of games, but in terms of things like Photoshop etc…
      Are we going to find all the full priced games/software priced out of the market by smaller/free offerings. Or are WE going to continue as before, and it’ll just be for more casual users who didn’t know about Steam before and won’t know about it now.
      Will it kill steam by making it obsolete? Or will it expand the market? Or will it be two separate markets?

      I’m still pissed at MS for announcing Win7 about 1 week after I paid for Vista Ultimate (and never actually providing ANY of the supposed Ultimate Extras either..)

    31. Theodoric says:

      Yeah, gimmicks have taken over the world now. Let me get my Corporate Slave-hat.

      Of course, we’ll still be able to turn it off, right? You can make Windows 7 look like XP with just a few mouse-presses.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Oddly enough, I thought you could only make it look like 2K? Luna (“Telitubbies”) is dead.

        What I lament is that you can’t have “Classic” 2K style but still have Aero Peek and friends, because the desktop compositing stuff is actually useful at times. (That WinKey-Tab “flip” thing can crawl back to the marketing department and die behind their radiators, though.)

      • Walsh says:

        Umm, you know the flip thing can help you find a window that’s open that may not necessarily show up on your taskbar right?

        I find it useful, there’s greater detail in the images than the thumbnail you get with regular alt tab.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Regular Alt-Tab shows the full windows, in situ, even if they were minimized.

        At least if you don’t disable Aero. And maybe not in Vista, but nobody should ever be using Vista.

      • Dozer says:

        Winkey-Tab is an excellent way to demonstrate to IT-illiterate medical secretaries of 25 years service that several separate applications are running simultaneously on the system at once, and that it’s OK, and they don’t need to close Outlook to open the medical records tracking software.

    32. daf says:

      So I spent some 30m folling around with the preview release in a VM, can’t say I’m all too excited.

      Overall it seems to have allot of nice improvements and from a developer perspective quite allot to be excited about, however the defaulting to the new Metro UI and having it replace the the start menu has left me a bit pessimist.

      It feels like Microsoft is designing Windows 8 experience to be like using a tablet/mobile OS most of the time with occasionally launching windows apps on it, making the traditional desktop a secondary thing, for the general populous it might be fine but for me and most power users it will feel a much poorer experience, I’m not even convinced of it’s user friendliness as I was left wondering how I’d shut it down which I eventually figured out after 5m of guessing.

      Overall I think Windows 8 has a real potential of being the second coming of vista depending on how Metro will be received by desktop users.

    33. Joe Duck says:

      Ok, let’s go by order:

      “Touch first, Metro UI”: Irrelevant for gamers, except in that it will bring a flood of ports of iPad games. Bad for the indie scene as it will create even more noise.

      “Fundamental performance gains” Oh please, as if they did not promise that every single time. It has never been true, ever, ever. It will not be true this time either.

      “All Windows 7 apps will work on Windows 8″: But all of them will have to be updated to include the “exciting new touch interface”. We’ll have new versions of everything and Win7 support will be dropped. Apps like Flash, Office and Photoshop will be prime examples.

      “Xbox Live Integration”: You mean GFWL, right? Well, sure, awesome, welcome to attempt number 300.

      “Built in app store”: This is very bad for the likes of Desura and Steam. Xborx Live has a well known track record (no free DLC allowed, indies relegated to the deepest dungeon in the interface, etc.).

      “as transparent as possible”: Oh come on, please. Just do not say anything, it is better.

      As a PC gamer I have 2 big questions: First, is this “app store” different from GFWL/XBorxLive? Because if yes, then bravo gentlemen, you just split the customer base even before launch. Good idea indeed.
      The second question is about the only Microsoft app I care about: DirectX. What about it? Anything new? A new generation with a new certification of video cards? No? Yes?

      • Walsh says:

        It’s not GFWL, look at the screenshot on Major Nelson’s blog. It looks exactly the same as what you get on the console.

      • JasonBaur says:

        Worth pointing out that during Jensen Harris’ keynote on Metro UI design he specifically shows Photoshop CS5, running in Windows 8, as an example of software that benefits (or even requires) “chrome” – the existing, windowed, UI conventions. Microsoft does not think that every piece of software running on a Windows 8 PC ought to utilize the Metro conventions. Harris is quite clear on this. It is a specific set of principles for specific types of software – as Harris says, programs that do one thing (or just a few things) very well. There’s no reason for Adobe to rewrite Photoshop for Metro. It would be a really dumb move, and Microsoft thinks so too.

    34. Khemm says:

      Switching UI from touch-oriented to m&k-oriented on the fly sounds great. For gaming, that sounds useless, but not for overall usability of the system.

      It’s actually good to hear that MS has plans to improve the GFWL, even if it means ditching the old name – I’ve been defending it many times on various occassions, but to be perfectly honest I do understand why some consider it a trainwreck…

      I have two hopes:
      – I hope that “ensured compatibility with applications runnin on Win 7″ mean that pre-Win 7 games will work, as well. Win 7 64 bit somehow manages to run even some of the oldest games I own, fan patches usually help. It’d be a shame if Win 8 was to introduce compatibility problems.,,

      – I hope that the planned “upgrade of xbox live” will come to Win 7, as well. Why should I get a new OS if I’ve bought 7 approximately a year ago?
      They’d better not piss on Win 7 owners or Win 8 will become the new Vista.

    35. mootpoint says:

      The App store thingie seems like a scary piece of the picture, at least from the perspective of Steam / Impulse / Origin. Combined with the Xbox integration it seems to offer most of what Steam is currently offering. I wonder if Microsoft will turn some friends into competition with that move.

      • Premium User Badge

        stahlwerk says:

        Compare the situation to the mac: here apple’s own App Store and Steam offer differing services for mostly the same kind of product, and it seems to work okay-ish for both of them. If I buy a game, I choose to buy steam because of the whole steam play thingy, if I want a (“productivity”) application, I look in the app store because of the tight system integration and (mostly) reasonable prices.

      • mootpoint says:

        @stahlwerk: On mac there only is one “Steam play”, but Microsoft seems to enter into direct competition when integrating Xbox Live and an App Store. Not saying that’s bad, but it might sour some grapes.

    36. Lobotomist says:

      Still on XP myself.

      I see no need to switch to vista,7,8 – but their asshole ban on DX11

      Managed to avoid switching. But now BF3 is running only on DX11

      What a load of crap

      • skinlo says:

        I know, it really is shocking when technology moves on. Damn progress.

    37. pyjamarama says:

      Here is one interesting angle, the Metro Ui launch actually consumes less resources and less services, it doesn’t even launch desktop until you go there. Steam UI is already a bit Metro inspired so I can see them making complete integration, this will make have a Steam Box computer easy that you can even connect to a TV and easily control it.

      • Joe Duck says:

        What? “Steam is Metro inspired”? What?
        And a Steam colour palette in the Metro interface does not make a Steam OS, it just makes a Steam “Theme”. You could do that now in Win 3.11, you know.
        “Steam on the TV”, What? Why? In order to have a console?

      • pyjamarama says:

        When I look at a WP7 app and Steam UI I see some similarities that’s why I said a bit Metro.
        For most games I prefer to be at the desk but lot’s of people moved from the PC because they wanted to play on the couch, also Steam already announced that they were working on Steam for TV version, Windows 8 will make it a lot easier .

    38. Walsh says:

      Games for Windows Live is not Xbox Live Integration on Windows 8. Look at the Xbox Live Integration on Windows Phone 7 for example.

      • Khemm says:

        Wait, so you’re suggesting we’ll have both GFWL and XBXL on Win 8? That wouldn’t make sense.

    39. Vayl says:

      Isn’t bundling Win8 with Xbox live basically the same that got them in trouble with the EU about bundling Win with IE? The using their dominant position to push for their other services.

    40. daf says:

      baaah, wrote a thoughtful comment on Windows 8 and then the comment system “eat it” :(

      So short of it, technical improvements are great, metro seems to be a retrofit of a tablet UI into windows with mixed results (i personally don’t like it) and depending how people will like it (you can’t disable it) Windows 8 might be a second Vista for Microsoft.

    41. Kefren says:

      Dual boot. XP as my main OS. I occasionally boot into Win7 if a game won’t work on XP (e.g. Crysis didn’t for me – I suspect due to the DRM rather than the OS).

      There are a few things I don’t like about Win7, the main oen being Windows Explorer – it adds things I don’t want, functions strangely, and makes browsing my nicely organised HD somehow feel unpleasant. Since I press Winkey + E more times in the day than any other combination, that’s a major point for me.

      • skinlo says:

        People actually use Windows Explorer? I thought it was a relic from the Win 98 era.

        What does it actually do that can’t be done from Computer and/or Documents.

      • UberMonkey says:

        @skinlo:
        When you go to “Computer” or “Documents” the interface that comes up IS Windows Explorer. Try pressing Winkey+E and you’ll see it takes you to the exact same thing as Start->Computer. Anytime you’re looking at folders and files, that’s Windows Explorer.

    42. Mark says:

      You really don’t want to be using a touch screen interface on a desktop monitor. It’s a bad idea, pure and simple, as anyone who has spent an hour using one will know. For tablets? Great. For desktops? No. No. No.

    43. mlstrum says:

      It’s simply evolution. I upgraded from Dos to Win3.1 to Win95 to 98 to 98SE to Millenium to XP to Vista to 7 and now to 8. Some iterations were worst than others but it always did what I needed it to do and improved my UX (except for Millenium… that was a horrible iteration). Since Vista I barely bluescreen / crash anymore so, any new feature built on that base is awesome imo.

      The great thing I take from 8 and the Metro UI is opening the tablet gaming market to PC and taking a piece of the cake from Apple at the same time. Hope tablets manufacturer will manage to build hardware to make it so.

    44. Eclipse says:

      less ram usage you say? I’m in.

    45. Xighor says:

      Well I can see some possibilities here. Like when your on a bus/train your using yout tablet and then you put it into a docking station which has a keyboard, a mouse and maybe a piece of better processor/graphic card etc and so your mobile working station converts into a little more powerful not-so-mobile station where you can watch some movies, play some casual games, work and do other stuff. It’s obviously not an offer for hardcore gamers, but I can see the potential here with casual users.

    46. Level85nerd says:

      I’m happy with windows 7.

    47. vodka and cookies says:

      It’s a very brave and radical departure, looks and sound real good too.

      The Xbox Live thing was seen coming as they unify their ecosystems across PC, tablet, phone, console so you get movies, music games all on the same service. Whether buying game on platform 1 will also get you it on platform 2 like SteamPlay is another matter entirely and I don’t think MS will do that.

      Also the whole Xbox Live as entertainment centre is not meant to go up against the likes of Steam that is for hardcore gamers and Xbox Live is for casual/mainstream audience.

    48. JuJuCam says:

      As a proud and happy Asus eee Pad Transformer user, I can tell you that for a netbook / tablet touchscreen controls completely change how you interact with the machine. I have the touchpad that’s built into the transformer dock turned off because it’s pretty much useless.

      Of course it’s not going to be of any use for desktop users, but if you look at the general PC market now desktops are out, tablets and notebooks and sub-notebooks (10″ – 15″) are in, and in any case the Metro UI is optional. Seriously walk into a high street electronics retailer and compare the range of desktops to the range of notebooks. I know in my local shops the ratio is about 4:1 in favour of notebooks.

      Gamers will always have our highly customised gaming rigs, that’s how the specialty stores survive. Let’s face it we’re all probably responsible for keeping the local computer shop open. Nobody else wants to be tied to a desk, and even if they do they still want a notebook because it’s an all-in-one package so there is an assumption of value and simplicity, and it takes less space. Think of it this way: Most people don’t see the need for a home cinema setup with a 1080p projector and a 5.1 surround sound system. Heaps of people just want to take home a decently priced TV that you can switch on and hear and see things.

      Microsoft and Apple have both smelt the winds of change, and are both taking the steps today that will prepare their operating systems for a future where the most common computer is a laptop with a touch screen. Whether that changes the gaming scene remains to be discovered.

    49. noodlecake says:

      Windows 7 is fantastic. Much better than XP, in my opinion. I do like the fact that Windows 8 is easier on the RAM. Also, as an artist I would love a tablet pc because you can use it just like a pad. I’m not bad with a little drawing tablet but it’s still not as cool as when I tried drawing on an iPad. Because of that, the extra touch screen friendly features sound pretty good.

      Having said that I would ideally get a tablet pc with a keyboard dock or some kind of stand so I could use it like a standard monitor with a mouse and keyboard (or gamepad) for gaming.

    50. Corrupt_Tiki says:

      Ahhh The future! It burns!