Valve head honcho Gabe Newell stepped away from his desk – or, pushed his desk away from him, since apparently it has wheels so he can maneuver it around the office – to discuss the future of open platforms, Linux and wearable computing at Seattle's Casual Connect conference last night. Newell even weighed in on Windows 8, calling it a "catastrophe," All Things D
"I think Windows 8 is a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space," Newell said. "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."
Newell's alternative is Linux
, and he hopes to have all 2,500 games on Steam running on Linux as part of a "hedging strategy."
Newell also sees open, free-to-play-inspired platforms as critical to building healthy markets in the future – not just in gaming, but across all of technology. One Steam user in Kansas makes $150,000 a year making hats for TF2
, Newell reported, and the same system can be implemented within services such as Photoshop, if only software companies could see its potential.
"That causes us to have conversations with Adobe, and we say the next version of Photoshop should look like a free-to-play game, and they say, 'We have absolutely no idea what you are talking about, but it sounds really bad,'" Newell said.
Valve predicts the future of computing mechanics lies within wearable computing in a post-touch world. It has so far built a $70,000 wearable rig that overlays information on physical objects, and Newell thinks "we will have bands on our wrists, and you'll be doing something with your hands, which are really expressive."
Maybe our hands will do something like hold a real-life, working portal gun. Maybe? Please?