So Windows 8 hasn’t made a lot of friends in the gaming playground thanks to it’s closed certification system. In fact, it’s been panned by Notch, Gabe Newel, a guy who worked on Serious Sam, as well as a plethora of concerned, nameless gamers who don’t want to have their gaming libraries sanctioned and restricted by Microsoft. But still, despite being smelly, unpopular, and generally pretty hideous, Windows 8 has made at least one bedfellow: GOG.com
Now, in the interest of fairness, I hadn’t even heard of GOG.com before reporting on this article. Apparently it’s a gaming marketplace, a bit like Steam. Anyway, they recently bragged on their blog how they were now compatible with Windows 8: “we’re adding official Windows 8 support for most of the games in GOG.com catalog. There are currently 431 titles fixed, tested, and reported to be working properly under Microsoft’s new OS. Note that most of these have not had the master builds updated, so you shouldn’t need to redownload the installer or anything.”
Some of these games include Baldur’s Gate, Fallout, and even some in the Zork range. But still, of it’s 486 games, 431 isn’t bad: in fact, it’s about 90% of their library. Still, to call their library on par with some more well-known online retailers would be a stretch–they got some good ones, but if you’re looking for Civilization or something, you’ll be out of luck.
This news itself is pretty normal, but it has a lot of implications. The GOG people made it pretty clear that the transfer to Windows 8 was fairly simple and straightforward, meaning that it’s entirely possible that Notch and Gabe were exaggerating the issue. That said, for however easy it is to get a game into Windows 8, you still have to get Microsoft’s approval before you do so, meaning that any game released would have to live up to their standards–and that absolute control over the games available will always be bad, even if they rarely if ever use the banhammer: the threat of being excluded will still shape the games market in terrible, terrible ways.
Although it does raise the question of it that’s really THAT bad. Consider the kinds of games we’d expect Microsoft to ban: we’re looking at titles like Zog’s Nightmare, or just about anything made by Illusion Soft: would we really be worse off having those kinds of games off the market entirely? I’ll leave answering that up to you.
In the meantime, we’ll have to see if GOG will be a pioneer for gaming on Windows 8, or the exception.