It wasn’t too long ago that the PC gaming community criticized Microsoft’s Windows 8, but now one crucial entity in the computer video game space has had a change of heart. Blizzard Entertainment seems to have withdrawn its skepticism of Windows 8, confirming that its upcoming “World of Warcraft” expansion would support Microsoft’s forthcoming operating system.
Darren Williams, a software engineer at Blizzard, revealed the news to CVG on Monday, just one day before the official “World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria” release date.
“We put our games on platforms our players are already on, so yeah, it will be available on Windows 8,” Williams said to the video game news source in an interview.
He added that although the “World of Warcraft” add-on may not be available for Windows 8 upon launch, the studio has no reservations about porting the game to Microsoft’s newest platform.
“I think that we’ll go with the platforms that the most people are on,” he said. “There’s no particular fear we have of Windows 8.”
These comments from Blizzard come nearly two months after the studio’s executive vice president of game design echoed earlier statements made by Valve chief Gabe Newell.
“Nice interview with Gabe Newell-‘I think Windows 8 is a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space*-- not awesome for Blizzard either,” Blizzard’s Rob Pardo tweeted at the end of July.
Concerns surrounding Windows 8 as a gaming platform began to grow following a question and answer session with Newell at the Casual Connect games conference this past July.
“I think that Windows 8 is kind of a catastrophe for everybody in the PC space,” Newell said, according to a transcript of the interview via VentureBeat. “I think that we’re going to lose some of the top-tier PC [original equipment manufacturers]. 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.”
Newell did not explicitly state the reasoning for his comments, but they are believed to be the result of Microsoft’s introduction of the Windows Store, which could compromise the openness of the platform according to the Valve head.
Windows 8 represents a turning point in Microsoft’s 37 years in the tech industry, marking a significant switch to a mobile-centric brand. But Windows 8 could be what the Redmond, Wash.-based company needs to stay relevant in the fast-paced mobile market.
“Microsoft’s approach is very different from Apple’s and Google’s, where phones and tablets have much more commonality that PCs and tablets,” Michael Silver, vice president and analyst at Gartner, said in a statement to eWeek. “This plays to Microsoft’s strength in PCs, leveraging it not only to enter the tablet market, but also to improve its share of the smartphone market.”
The release date for Windows 8 comes on Oct. 26, nearly one month from today. Microsoft will be holding a press event in New York a day earlier on Oct. 25, presumably to showcase its upcoming operating system.