Windows 8 is having to endure with a lot of headwind at the moment. The weather forecast doesn’t appear to improve in the near future either with prominent game developers and publishers taking to the barricades accusing Microsoft of building a closed ecosystem. I am forced to side with this opinion as I too see services the likes of Steam as playing an important role in the gaming world, which just happens to be an industry that cannot be sidelined.
What Microsoft is attempting to do is merge the PC and mobile markets. The Windows Marketplace is to be the only place where you can purchase Windows applications in the future starting now with Metro apps. This is what Apple, Google and Microsoft have been doing with mobile devices for some time now and it’s what we have all come to expect. The PC market is different, however. It has always been open, which has resulted in a diverse market allowing for third parties to build successful distribution and marketing networks.
You could argue that Microsoft is just doing something that Steam has been doing for a long time now but the difference is that Microsoft would own both the marketplace AND that operating system, which would eventually give it dominance over the whole Windows application distribution network. Currently there is no real alternative to Windows in the PC gaming world but I would expect to see Mac OS and Linux getting more popular if Microsoft does not notice the signals coming from the gaming industry and choose to once again open up the markets on the PC.