Whether you love the increased speed of Windows 8 or think it’s the worst thing to happen to PC gaming since Daikatana, there’s no denying that Microsoft’s most recent OS offering has been met with a lukewarm response since its release. As with any new OS, heated debate is expected as gamers attempt to discern the most efficient platform on which to run their game collection but with Windows 8’s larger focus on the implementation of tablets, many gamers felt left behind after Windows 7’s success. Luckily for them, rumor has it that we might be getting our first look at the next Windows OS sooner rather than later.
According to SuperSite for Windows, it is rumored that Microsoft will be giving the world its first look at Windows 9, codenamed Threshold, during their BUILD developer conference this April with a possible wide release of April 2015. This comes following the news that Microsoft plans to better link their Xbox One, Windows and mobile platforms. While this is all well and good for the typical consumer who wants to access their movie or music collection between all their devices, what could this mean for gamers?
While Windows 8’s Metro interface marked improvements to the implementation of social media and made the transition from home computer to tablet even simpler, features like these may not be the most conducive for users looking to simply access their game collection in the most efficient manner possible. For this reason, if Microsoft hopes to grab hold of the gaming masses once again like they did with Windows 7, they will need to accept that fact that not every one of their users is looking for a simplified, tablet-like interface.
This is not to say that Metro needs to make its exit – even if Gabe Newell (Valve) and Markus Persson (Mojang) have major issues with Win 8. Rather, giving users a sense of choice could be part of the answer to maintaining their hold on casual users while also drawing PC gamers back in. Metro is definitely a sleek interface, even if its confusing at first to learn and master, and has its uses when it comes to quickly accessing simple social features, but it would benefit Microsoft even more to provide its users with an interface option akin to the Start menu of old. Games – and apps in general – need to be accessed more easily and they should be found in one place, instead of some opening in Metro, others opening in the traditional desktop mode.
With the rumored introduction of Windows 9 on its way and two other Microsoft-branded OS’s currently on the market, another question to ponder is how this new OS could affect their existing platforms. As it stands, the Xbox One and mobile interfaces have very distinct aesthetic qualities. If Windows 9 will attempt to draw an even stronger link between these, can we expect to see some drastic design changes on all three platforms in the near future? It’s no surprise that a unified aesthetic style and interface would aid in jumping between platforms but as it stands, there is still quite a schism between them: particularly in regards to the Xbox One. With the Xbox One still in its infancy, how likely is it that such a change would become reality?
It’s just a rumor at this point so there’s no way to know how Microsoft will handle the upcoming BUILD developer conference. If Windows 9 is announced, it could be a pivotal moment for PC gaming, dictating whether gamers will want to take the plunge into a new OS for the upcoming years or whether they would rather hang back or transition to Linux or a Steam Machine. Only time will tell. Until then, gamers can only cross their fingers in hopes that Microsoft will keep them in mind throughout the development process.
How did you feel about Windows 8 as a gaming platform? Do you think Microsoft needs to go down an entirely new path with Windows 9, or should they return to their roots?
Windows 9, codenamed Threshold is rumored to be announced this April and released in April 2015.
Source: SuperSite for Windows