Windows 8: What could it mean for Gaming?

by Harry Hughes Featured 17 Comments 19 Votes 4880 Views 15/12/2011 Back to Articles

In modern computing, the key to success in the realm of the software comes down to two key factors: simplicity and accessibility. In recent times, it has been Apple who has placed these ideals at the forefront of their operating systems, gaining the most ground in the battle of the OS. Yet it is Microsoft looking to appeal to the masses with the upcoming Windows 8 and its new Metro Style user interface, which accompanies the old desktop Windows fans have gotten used to over the years.

But the biggest change to occur come the release of Win-8 will be that the operating system itself will be universal - the same Metro Style UI will be present across Microsoft’s range of devices, including desktops, notebooks, tablets and phones. Obviously, slight adjustments will need to be made to ensure full optimisation of the operating system across the range of hardware configurations, but the system itself will remain the same at its core.

For many, the initial question will be, “How will the new operating system affect PC gaming?” However, the issue is a little more complex than that. The Xbox 360 boasts a similar hardware configuration to a Windows PC, and so the OS of both systems are already similar. Similarities with gaming on the two platforms are already evident, but imagine if both were to make use of the same OS. The distinction between consoles and personal computers could be blurred altogether, and so a better question than that posed above is “What could Windows 8 mean for Gaming?” Let’s take a look at a few of the major implications this operating system could bring with it.

 

Windows 8

The new start screen allows easy use of applications of any type!

Cross-platform multiplayer - The industry has been attempting to bridge the gap between console and PC gaming for a while now. While previously conducted tests showed that balancing issues with control pad versus keyboard and mouse would prevent online FPS battles from being fair, there’s no reason online multiplayer couldn’t work well in other genres. At the very least, online co-op play between the two platforms could be achieved, as shown by Valve’s effort with Portal 2.

Is this possible? Very. The launch of Microsoft’s next home console is currently expected to hit around late 2012 - 2013, around the same time many predict the retail release of Windows 8 will occur. Should this be a matter of more than mere coincidence, it’s quite likely we’ll see interaction between gaming platforms, including cross-platform multiplayer, or online leaderboards and profiles which stretch across the two gaming alternatives.

Disintegration of home consoles - This is completely opposite to the above point, yet very possible nonetheless. If Microsoft were to attempt the elusive all-in-one device this generation, things could get very interesting. To begin with, the Xbox (or the Windows PC) may be no more, with just the one piece of Microsoft hardware to power all computing needs within the average home.

 

Windows 8

Windows 8's new Task Manager makes essential hardware statistics easy to access.

An effective comparison to make is the life of the iPod. The original simply played music, but today’s model acts as an e-reader, reminds you of important upcoming events, and through the vision of outlandish developers, can regulate sprinkling systems, or even control helicopters! We have reason to get giddy at the prospects of an all-in-one computing solution ten to fifteen years in the future, especially given what gaming consoles can already do. But given the universal status of Windows 8, who’s to say this can’t happen in the next three to five years?

Possible? Definitely. However, the likelihood of this happening is a completely different story. One would argue that Microsoft would not take such a huge risk, especially due to the success the Xbox has brought. However, at some point, a risky move is going to have to be made by someone, and the public shouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft have to revolutionise an industry for a second time.

Futuristic gaming solutions - Fifteen years ago, most people would think the innovators and techies at Nintendo were crazy if they heard the company planned to release accurate motion sensing as a primary means of controlling video games. Today, it doesn’t seem so strange, but there’s always room for improvement. Voice control needs to improve so that the long-winded conversations with robotic personalities we see in today’s advertising schemes may actually be a little bit more than bad acting with poor voiceovers.

 

Windows 8

The Windows 8 Desktop sports a similar look to Windows 7 with a little more simplicity.

Should this come true, interaction with characters in-game could see virtual relationships formed where protagonists and antagonists from our favourite games treat us based on the way we physically speak with them. Whether this is a healthy concept to look forward to is up for debate, however. But to the idea that our own personalities and responses to different situations could shape our experience in a game is incredibly exciting, and could easily be achieved with some fine-tuning of the controls we have begun to toy with this gaming generation.

This is incredibly likely now given that the PC community - arguably the strongest when it comes to setting a goal and then working until success has been achieved - have access to Kinect development kits for PC, which will no doubt include Windows 8 in the near future. This means head-tracking, voice recognition and motion sensing all have potential to become a fundamental part of gaming and the virtual adventures we as gamers will embark on.

The future! - There’s an unlimited number of possibilities when it comes to the changes to gaming which Windows 8 will bring. If Microsoft so wished, they could go down the Google-path and implement a single operating system used to operate our entire households. Maybe not this generation, but you never know what a bit of change might bring. Imagine playing real-life Cooking Mama on your Win Oven 8 in order to prepare Sunday night’s dinner. Gaming itself could be a skill required to get by on a day to day basis!

The exciting thing about the future is that nobody can know for sure what it will bring, but given some of the technological innovations of the last decade, there’s no reason anything in this article, or anything you could conjure up in that whacky mind of yours, wouldn’t be achievable on a universal Windows 8 platform.

By Harry Hughes

Share some of your whacky ideas for Windows 8 below!

Link to us http://pc.mmgn.com/Articles/Windows-8-What-could-it-mean-for-Gaming
Tags: 8 all gaming in interface Metro One pc Style user Windows
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Windows 8: What could it mean for Gaming? Comments

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Windows 8 is great! Anyone else using the developer preview build? The new start screen is great, and will be even better when Windows Store opens and we have access to the necessary applications as native Start Page apps.
I want to check it out - is it stable enough to use as an everyday OS yet?
i tryed it for a day or 2 on a virtual machine but gave up on cause i couldnt get internet to work on it

Heller said: I want to check it out - is it stable enough to use as an everyday OS yet?


Yes. It's like Windows 7 plus a bunch of extras and it feels much more smooth and fluent than 7, which is one of the most important things for me.
Not sure what version of windows 8 I have but I find it a piece of crap. Must have old beta version. All blocky and dull to use

EDIT: I do have the Dev Prev program I think
Is it anything like Windows Vista? If not, I shall invest!

Beta said: Is it anything like Windows Vista? If not, I shall invest!


It's like 7 + iOS, Windows Style. But 7 makes Vista look like Windows 95.

Maybe I should put up an impressions article?
I bought Consoles to enjoy my gaming experience.
I own multiple PCs due to decades of PC-ing, I don't want M$ dictating to me to play games on a PC - that I'll have to keep updating every few months, which has been the case over the years. PCs do many things sure, but consoles are simply hassle free. Oh and I'm not dragging my behemoth of a PC and all its gear into the lounge room to play games !


PC's don't really need upgrading every few months. Every few years, maybe, but every few months is only for people like @Skarteh who just hate money.

Also, it's not having to play games on a PC... App ownership is stored in your Windows 8 login (for up to 5 machines), so a game you buy for Windows 8 slate can still work on your PC.. Finished gaming on your Xbox because you need to go to work? Pick up your tablet and continue with the same save data on the train.

The possibilities are endless, and exciting. With one universal operating system across a range of devices, anything can happen.

Apple started it, but iOS is just a little too different from OSX for the possibilities to be present.

Time will tell what comes of this :D

Harry said:But 7 makes Vista look like Windows 95.


That is such bullshit. Windows Vista is barely different to Windows 7, there are a few little tweaks but essentially Windows 7 might as well be a service pack to Vista. This just reminds me of the Mojave experiment Microsoft did.

This brings me back to the early days of MyFrag when Windows 7 was new and I was forever having arguments about Vista not actually being bad at all. It just came out before the hardware did and people tried to run it on their old shitboxes and failed.
I meant 8 scott [Facepalm] I never even used Vista so I can't really comment on it lol
really am looking forward to windows 8.
@harry does in only run as 64 bit? i hear theyre ruling out 32 bit for gaming ;O
no, there is a preview version of 32 bit windows 8, so there will definitely be a 32 bit windows 8.

as for 'ruling out 32 bit for gaming', this may be addressing the same memory limitations that current operating systems impose.

all reports say go for steam so as long as that's working we should be all good.

Harry said: no, there is a preview version of 32 bit windows 8, so there will definitely be a 32 bit windows 8.
as for 'ruling out 32 bit for gaming', this may be addressing the same memory limitations that current operating systems impose.
all reports say go for steam so as long as that's working we should be all good.


oh cool thanks, i just heard it on the grape vine. wasnt sure, so id thought id get your opinion.
well the problem is that the RAM limitation of 32 bit will always apply as long as there is a 32 bit OS.. and games are getting more demanding, and so soon enough, a few gigs of memory just won't be enough to game, and maybe that's what people were saying?

Harry said: well the problem is that the RAM limitation of 32 bit will always apply as long as there is a 32 bit OS.. and games are getting more demanding, and so soon enough, a few gigs of memory just won't be enough to game, and maybe that's what people were saying?


pretty sure you hit the nail on the head.

and when will Dev's stop running games on directx9, stupid consolised games [Facepalm]
dx9 is good for XP users, and they still make up a fair share of the PC audience

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