Blizzard has "no particular fear" of Windows 8

A number of weeks ago, Rob Pardo, the Executive Vice President at game developer Blizzard Entertainment, used his Twitter account to say that, in his opinion, the launch of Windows 8 was "not awesome for Blizzard". His thoughts echoed previous statements from Valve co-founder Gabe Newell, who called the launch of Microsoft's next PC operating system "a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space."

Now it looks like Blizzard's official stance on Windows 8 has softened somewhat. In a new interview on Computer and Video Games, the company's senior software engineer Darren Williams states:

Well, we haven't worked with Windows 8 directly yet, but we'll certainly switch over to it. I think that we'll go with the platforms that the most people are on. There's no particular fear we have of Windows 8.

The company is just one day away from launching World of Warcraft: Mists Of Pandaria, which is the fourth commercial expansion for its long running fantasy MMO game that first launched in 2004, back when Windows XP was the main operating system from Microsoft.  As far as the new expansion's Windows 8 support, Williams, not surprisingly, said, "We put our games on platforms our players are already on, so yeah, it will be available on Windows 8."

Source: Computer and Video Games | Image via Blizzard

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From a cost perspective, I'm sure Blizzard is only concerned with the cost of supporting an additional OS. Regardless of personal feelings toward Windows 8, I would roll my eye too. The overall financial burden of a new OS will bleed some of the dwindling profits since subscriber base has fallen for Blizzard. Hell, they probably just felt like they finally worked out the kinks in Windows 7.

Same goes for the co-founder of Valve. Simply concerned about cost management and dragging his feet to progress over current bottom lines.

Because it doesn't make a damn difference. WoW runs on 8 as well as (or better) than on 7. I don't get the people that are piling on Win8. I think maybe they haven't even used it? /boggle

laserfloyd said,
Because it doesn't make a damn difference. WoW runs on 8 as well as (or better) than on 7. I don't get the people that are piling on Win8. I think maybe they haven't even used it? /boggle

Actually, there is one point where WoW doesn't run better on Windows 8, and it may be a graphics driver issue or just that i'm completely overloading my video card. If your a dual-boxer (I play a paladin and shaman simultaniously), having WoW on monitor 1, WoW on monitor 2, and Netflix on monitor 3 introduces occasional lag that is not present on Windows 7.

I can briefly seize my system in this scenario if I press alt-tab, because alt-tab now runs in the Modern UI subsystem, and now uses your 3d graphics card where in prior versions it did not. The same thing will happen if I accidently open the start screen while playing.

Mind you, I can resolve the issue by dropping both copies of WoW down to their lowest graphic settings while still running at 1080p, but this particular issue does not exist in Windows 7. It'll be months before I really know for sure if its a Windows 8 problem, or an Nvidia driver problem under Windows 8. Considering how badly Nvidia's SLI behaves from time to time I really expect it to be an Nvidia driver issue.

So there you go, the only time I've seen anything in Windows 8 be worse than 7 is when I'm completely overwhelming my video cards. In Windows 7 I just got low framerates from time to time that only affected WoW, but 3d is used a bit more in Windows 8 than in the past, so it just may be that 560ti cards are too low end now for what I'm doing.

I'm running Steam, WoW, TOR, MechWarrior, GW2, Diablo 3, Max Payne 3, Borderlands 2, Saints 3, Skyrim, Battlefield 3...etc on Windows 8 on a GeForce graphics card. It all works just fine. What are we talking about, I don't understand the problem?

I can speak from experience - compatibility is no more an issue between Blizzard and Windows 8 than between *Valve* and Windows 8; I did the entirety of the Diablo III open beta on Windows 8 (no Windows 7 testing at all). Valve's concern is different than Blizzard's concern - Valve is worried about the Windows Store possibly being a threat to Steam (which is utter nonsense - the only way THAT would happen is if gaming developers choose t target WinRT as an API as opposed to Win32).

Blizzard employees Twitter accounts are not direct representations of Blizzard as a whole, people need to realize that, they are nothing but the individuals opinions who owns the twitter account.

As far as compatibility goes, I really don't see why there would be an issue in Windows 8, for the most part it's the same as Windows 7 under the hood, with a few changes here and there, it's not like the step going from XP to Vista was, it's not that major.

Valve obviously would be worried about competition though, the MS Store will compete with steam, without a doubt, this is bad for valve, good for consumers.

Blizzard on the other hand don't have a large distribution platform of their own, they digitally distribute their own games, and that's all. The only issue I can see they would have, as well as most other developers is if people get the RT versions of Win8 and expect to be able to install WoW, Diablo 3, Starcraft II etc. From what i understand this won't be possible, hopefully people will educate themselves on the differences between the versions of windows.

Happy_Camel said,
The only issue I can see they would have, as well as most other developers is if people get the RT versions of Win8 and expect to be able to install WoW, Diablo 3, Starcraft II etc. From what i understand this won't be possible, hopefully people will educate themselves on the differences between the versions of windows.

It's not really an issue for people, the consumers, to really have to check if its windows 8 or pro or RT. Unreal have their engine running on RT as a native Metro app (err App for Windows 8/moden .. what are we calling them again?!?).

If the unreal engine can be adapted to run on RT, I don't see why Blizzard can't put some effort into making their engine work on RT too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHHApNJS3LQ

Now, before you all scream at me about games such as WoW being too complex for RT... no, its not. Its a fairy simply 3d engine. The quests are mostly handled server side and the things like textures and models are simply loaded from the packaged files. Lets not forget that there are a few MMO's that are made with the unreal engine too, so its not like open world or loads of quests, instances etc are a problem.

Blizzard could even embrace some parts of meto with Live titles for auctions/ingame mail/calender events etc or simply use the app susspend to automatically log charaters off and resume with automatic login.

The biggest issue I have with blizzard right now is their latest expension for World of warcraft is out and with Windows 8 due next month they, and I'm going to quote this "haven't worked with Windows 8 directly yet". That itself isquite shocking to hear.

sagum said,

It's not really an issue for people, the consumers, to really have to check if its windows 8 or pro or RT. Unreal have their engine running on RT as a native Metro app (err App for Windows 8/moden .. what are we calling them again?!?).

If the unreal engine can be adapted to run on RT, I don't see why Blizzard can't put some effort into making their engine work on RT too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHHApNJS3LQ

Now, before you all scream at me about games such as WoW being too complex for RT... no, its not. Its a fairy simply 3d engine. The quests are mostly handled server side and the things like textures and models are simply loaded from the packaged files. Lets not forget that there are a few MMO's that are made with the unreal engine too, so its not like open world or loads of quests, instances etc are a problem.

Blizzard could even embrace some parts of meto with Live titles for auctions/ingame mail/calender events etc or simply use the app susspend to automatically log charaters off and resume with automatic login.

The biggest issue I have with blizzard right now is their latest expension for World of warcraft is out and with Windows 8 due next month they, and I'm going to quote this "haven't worked with Windows 8 directly yet". That itself isquite shocking to hear.

You're right, Blizzard absolutely could adapt it to work, i'm not 100% familiar with how MS wants their system to work, but afaik RT version, will only run apps from the MS Store built into Win8, which is a bad thing actually.

So i'm not sure how that would work for a game like WoW, would that mean blizzard would put the client on the MS Store, with no price, just let it sit there as a download?

I don't think it's an issue with Windows 8 and compatibility, but the start of Windows no longer being an "open" platform, and fear of developers of Microsoft in the future forcing everything through the Windows App Store. Similar lines of what Apple is doing, or fear of what they may do in the future on OS X and there apps store.

Apple, Microsoft, and Google are making walled garden's where the control the content and experience.

Jason Stillion said,
I don't think it's an issue with Windows 8 and compatibility, but the start of Windows no longer being an "open" platform, and fear of developers of Microsoft in the future forcing everything through the Windows App Store. Similar lines of what Apple is doing, or fear of what they may do in the future on OS X and there apps store.

Apple, Microsoft, and Google are making walled garden's where the control the content and experience.

Microsoft isn't forcing anyone to submit their apps in the store. Unless you are developing for Windows RT, you shouldn't even worry about Windows 8 in the first place. Apple on the other hand, their iOS products force you to get apps from the app store.

link6155 said,
Microsoft isn't forcing anyone to submit their apps in the store. Unless you are developing for Windows RT, you shouldn't even worry about Windows 8 in the first place. Apple on the other hand, their iOS products force you to get apps from the app store.

That's right, only if you get the RT version, will you be locked into using the MS Store, which will probably be simply more suited to tablets, rather than laptops/desktops, for me personally, i would not get the RT, i prefer to keep my options open as a power user.

I don't believe apples store on the MAC though locks you in like the iOS App Store.

link6155 said,
Microsoft isn't forcing anyone to submit their apps in the store. Unless you are developing for Windows RT, you shouldn't even worry about Windows 8 in the first place. Apple on the other hand, their iOS products force you to get apps from the app store.

It seems you're equating Windows 8 (even though you mention RT) and its still "openness" to iOS (which would compare to RT, not 8). iOS is no different than any other mobile platform. RT will force app store, iOS already does, as does WP and Android. Maybe I misunderstood..

Alladaskill17 said,

It seems you're equating Windows 8 (even though you mention RT) and its still "openness" to iOS (which would compare to RT, not 8). iOS is no different than any other mobile platform. RT will force app store, iOS already does, as does WP and Android. Maybe I misunderstood..

Android doesn't force you to get your apps from Google Play. You can check the "Unknown sources" option in System Settings --> Security and then you can install apps from xda or other sources.

Alladaskill17 said,

It seems you're equating Windows 8 (even though you mention RT) and its still "openness" to iOS (which would compare to RT, not 8). iOS is no different than any other mobile platform. RT will force app store, iOS already does, as does WP and Android. Maybe I misunderstood..

RT may not force this as some are jumping the gun and claiming. According to Microsoft you can deploy via Configuration Manager 2012 SP1 through Windows Intune. This means that manual injection of apps into RT is likely possible and the store as a middle man is not required.

What is required however is your WinRT application being signed and trusted to run in the RT enviornment, or it won't execute by third parties. This, IMHO, is perfectly reasonable.

I doubt anyone will be able to claim what RT is or is not limited to until its been out for a month, unless the person claiming something actually works for Microsoft as a developer for Windows. Otherwise everything at this point is FUD and not backed up with anything but rumors.

bjoswald said,
In other words: "We actually tried it and it's not so bad after all. Yeah, we're cool with it now."

First of all... Read the article's quote: "Well, we haven't worked with Windows 8 directly yet,", so no - they haven't tried it.

Second, the first Blizzard guy said: "not awesome for Blizzard" - which sounds to me that he likes Win7 more...