Windows 8: what will it mean for PC gaming?

There’s some info about Windows 8’s new touch screen interface here: … enews.aspx

I’m in two minds about this. On the one hand, it makes sense that they’re taking on the iPad with touch based applications and games. On the other hand, will this fragment the PC gaming market between games designed for mouse/keyboard and for the touchscreen? The advantage of the iOS/Mac OS X separation is that they really are two very different platforms, and that distinction is clearly defined. Here, Microsoft is attempting to make an all in one solution that can be rolled out on PCs, laptops, and tablets.

Maybe PC game developers will primarily continue to develop for mouse and keyboard - but then, will those same games will transferable to touch screen devices, or will a separate version of the game be required?

I think touch support is already there on an interface level. Just not that extensive, with GUI designed around it and what not (though Windows is fairly simple so you could control it just fine with one even by just replacing mouse clicks with taps on the screen, not to mention browsers and other applications already supporting gestures, primarily for the mouse, that also translate perfectly to touch screens). In any case, supporting it doesn’t mean most people will be getting a touch screen instead of a standard monitor, nor that keyboards and mice will stop being included with new computers. Though I’m sure it will affect the design of certain notebooks and such, to be closer to the popular tablets, I don’t see any current cheap touch technology being a viable alternative to keyboards for example, not in efficieny, or usability since an on scree . Still, if some game developers fill that gaming niche, good for them (and the users). It’s not like touch games weren’t possible before.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with allowing developers of touch games to also port and sell their products on Windows as the functions gain ground making this a viable opportunity for extra profit. Part of the PC’s charm is the versatility it allows as an open platform. You have mouse and keyboard games, you have gamepad focused games, you have joysticks, wheels, headtracking devices with their own fans in certain niches, etc. Bring it on I say. So what if not everyone can play all the games with the ideal setup they’re created around? That’s already the case and there are still plenty games for any preference. Of course the more popular something is the more it bites into other areas but I don’t think there’s any fear of first person shooters ever becoming touch focused and neglecting the mouse for example, or for fighters to altogether ditch the gamepad, or anything similar.

Yeah, this is a good point. One of the advantages of the PC is it’s open nature.

What I am concerned about - and perhaps I didn’t make this clear in my original post - is how games will transition between two devices.

You could have a Windows 8 game compatible with just the keyboard and mouse or just the touchscreen. This seems unproblematic. But for a game compatible with both, there is the issue of how well the player will be able to transition between devices. For example, you’re playing the game on your PC with a keyboard and mouse. Then you pick up your tablet and carry on playing the same game on the move (let’s assume, for the example, that it uses Steam Cloud or something similar to easily sync save files). How well does the game transition to a significantly different control scheme? One advantage of the Mac OS X/iOS distinction is that there is a clear separation between the two control schemes. If you play on iOS it’s more likely than designed around the touchscreen. But with a Windows 8 game, there isn’t that same likelihood that the game will work well with the touchscreen. Maybe there will be some type of labelling system, as their is now with “controller enabled” PC games.

Well it’s just up to the developer. If they think their game works well with either interface, they will promote it for both. If not, they won’t. Some games will work well, some will feel half assed with one or the other, others will be simply impossible. Many games are like that between mouse and keyboard and gamepad these days. I don’t think it’s a big deal for anyone but impulse buyers really, and PC gamers most always have had to be a little more informed about the games they considered if they didn’t want nasty surprises like buggy ass releases or titles that didn’t work on their system altogether and what not.

Yeah, good points. I guess we’ll have to wait and see how developers handle things.

The way I see it, Microsoft would have been better creating a custom OS for tablets rather than trying to shoehorn Windows onto a quite different type of device. Unless Windows 8 runs significantly differently on tablets than on PCs, it will probably waste valuable resources.

Not much because MS always make promises with each new Windows and never lives up to them . Windows 7 was meant to be made with touch screen in mind, Vita meant to be their big focus on games ECT.

The trouble is so many people don’t have a touch screen LCD and that can’t help matters either.