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Valve's Gabe Newell: Windows 8 a 'catastrophe,' wristband input could be the future of gaming

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Valve's Gabe Newell discusses the future of gaming inputs, Steam on Linux, Windows 8, and content distribution with former Microsoft publishing VP Ed Fries.

Gabe Newell FLICKR
Gabe Newell FLICKR

Valve has frequently been at the forefront of both gaming and software distribution, and co-founder Gabe Newell has given a rare interview on the future of gaming platforms, input methods, and digital distribution. AllThingsD has published selections of the talk between Newell and former Microsoft game publishing vice president Ed Fries. The PC-focused company isn't currently planning any groundbreaking input products, but Newell speculated about "post-touch" systems that could use hand or even tongue motions and long outlast current touch interfaces, which he sees as "short-term."

"I don’t think tongue input will happen, but I do think we will have bands on our wrists, and you’ll be doing something with your hands, which are really expressive." Valve's own wearable computer, however, is still very much a work in progress, and "can overlay information on objects regardless of what my head or eyes are doing. Your eyes are troublesome buggers."

Newell also emphasized the decision to launch on Linux, calling it a boon for the operating system as well as a "hedging strategy" against Microsoft. "I think Windows 8 is a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space. I think we’ll lose some of the top tier PC / OEMs, who will exit the market. I think margins will be destroyed for a bunch of people. If that’s true, then it will be good to have alternatives to hedge against that eventuality." Read the rest for more about Steam and how Photoshop should look like a free-to-play game, and absolutely nothing about Half-Life 2: Episode 3.