With all the bad news about Windows 8 these days, this should help put things in perspective: After just four weeks in the market, there are already more people on the popular Steam video game service using Windows 8 than Mac OS X.
Steam has been available on Mac OS X for over two and a half years.
What’s interesting to me is how differently Steam’s Gabe Newell has treated Mac OS X and Windows 8, both of which offered closed app store platforms that ostensibly compete with his own service. Back in 2010, when Valve launched Steam for OS X, Newell noted that Steam was “transitioning from entertainment as a product to entertainment as a service” and that “customers and developers need open, high-quality Internet clients.” But when Microsoft aped Apple’s app store strategy, Newell went apoplectic, describing Windows 8 as a “catastrophe.”
Looks like its OS X that’s the catastrophe, Gabe.
According to Steam’s usage statistics, Windows 8 is already in use by almost 5 percent of Steam users. Mac OS X, meanwhile, despite the two and a half year head start, is in use by only about 3.3 percent of users. (Windows 7 is of course number one with about 77 percent usage.)
Two questions arise from this data. One, why would Steam even bother supporting the Mac, which is clearly even more of an also-ran when it comes to games. Even Linux could garner that kind of usage share. But don’t believe me: Even Steam thinks so, as it’s porting Steam to Linux!
And two, what does all this say about Gabe Newell’s ability to make good decisions? Coupled with Valve’s inability to deliver the long-awaited “Half-Life 2: Episode Three”—or, as we might call it, “the new Duke Nukem Forever”—it’s pretty clear the real problem here isn’t Windows 8. It’s Gabe Newell.
Hey, Gabe. Rather than wasting time and resources on silly dead-ends like Mac OS X and Linux, and on dissing your actual Windows 8-using customers, how about getting back to basics and finishing the job?