Why I Still Use Windows
Or: the countdown to a fresh Start.
Over time – and not necessarily much of it – usage of a platform can become a marriage. I trusted Windows, nee MS-DOS, guardianship over all of my precious applications which depend upon it. Chances are you too have trusted Microsoft or a similar proprietary platform holder to provide a household for your content.
It is time for a custody hearing.
These are the reasons why I still use Windows – and who could profit as home wreckers.
1st Reason – Games
The most obvious leading topic.
Computer games have been dominated by Windows for quite some time now. When you find a PC game at retail or online you will find either a Windows trademark or the occasional half-eaten fruit somewhere on the page or packaging.
One of the leading reasons for the success of the PC platform is the culture of backwards compatibility. Though the platform has been rumored dead ad-infinitum it still exists – surrounded by a wasteland of old deprecated consoles. I still play games from past decades on their original platform.
To move me to another platform game developers and publishers would need to support an open and community-supported platform which values perpetual compatibility and embraces user control over their content. I chose the PC platform for my games because I value my games – not games in general.
There was a recent technology showcased by NVIDIA which demonstrated full GPU acceleration for virtual machines. This technology is currently part of the enterprise-focused GK110 series of GPUs. We are still a little ways off from this being commonplace on the home desktop but you could easily imagine a future where we preserve the games we value the most in virtualization (or not-emulation, as in the case of WINE) and transition to a Linux future for everything else.
What they can gain:
For publishers with a long-term mindset, it should be pretty simple: everlasting sales on everlasting content.
But what about the publishers who desire huge short-term sales figures? You might have noticed the countless cries for titles which are more challenging and appeal to somewhat of a niche audience. The logic should be simple: some people desire alternatives to what you produce. You are able to make a lot of money on niche content with a long shelf life.
Of course I am not stupid – publishers do not care too much about long-term sales because of their reliance on quarterly financial reports. They need to justify their work to their investors and big sales figures provide that validation.
Ever think that maybe your customers will purchase more of your games if you ignore them less?
Ever think that maybe blockbuster hits will sell better without contempt from the lack of alternatives?
An open platform with a large back catalog enables those smaller niches to be satisfied longer and without any real effort on your part down the road. Heck – Valve and Blizzard figured it out and have even designed services to promote long term sales. Activision (a publisher) did not purchase Blizzard (a developer) – they merged with Blizzard. When a publisher must merge with a developer the developer was doing something right.