Valve's Gabe Newell conveys his thoughts about Windows 8 and the post-touch era.
During the Casual Connect game conference in Seattle, Valve Software boss Gabe Newell indicated that he's not a big fan of Windows 8, likely because the upcoming OS comes packed with native support for Xbox Live and Windows Store, both of which threaten Steam's stronghold in the PC gaming sector. Even more, he predicts that top-tier OEMs will exit the market thanks to the new OS.
"I think that Windows 8 is kind of a catastrophe for everybody in the PC space. I think that we’re going to lose some of the top-tier PC [original equipment manufacturers]," he admitted in an interview. "They’ll exit the market. I think margins are going to be destroyed for a bunch of people. If that’s true, it’s going to be a good idea to have alternatives to hedge against that eventuality. But when you start thinking about a platform, you have to address it. You have to address mobile. You have to look at what’s going to happen post-tablet."
He went on to say that the mouse and keyboard have been stable for around 25 years, and that touch will be stable for only 10 years. Whatever comes after that will endure for another 25 years: a "post-touch" era, he calls it. This may consist of a couple of different technologies that will come together -- augmented reality combined with motion detection, perhaps?
"The two hard problems in the short-term are input and output," he said. "I don’t have all these nice slides. But the question you have to answer is, “How can I see stuff overlaid in the world when you have things like noise?” You have weird persistence problems. How can I be looking at this group of people and see their names floating above them? That actually turns out to be an interesting problem that’s finally a tractable problem."
In the future users will likely have bands on their wrists, and that they will be "doing stuff" with their hands. "Your hands are incredibly expressive. If you look at somebody playing a guitar versus somebody playing a keyboard, there’s a far greater amount of data that you can get through the information that people convey through their hands than we’re currently using. Touch is…it’s nice that it’s mobile. It’s lousy in terms of symbol rate."
To read the full interview, head here.