Gaming Priorities shifting to overall experience vs. performance, Mac more stable than Windows

I found this article about Mac vs. Windows gaming performance, quoting Gabe Newell, making some points that my Apple friends and Mac users will take pleasure in vs. Windows.  The full podcast interview is here.


Also, said Newelll,"what's sort of surprising is how much more stable our games are on the Mac." Looking at the early data available from the Steam client, "the Mac is five times more stable than Windows" when using the metric of minutes played versus number of crashes.

Gaming is a segment normally focused on the graphics and processer performance.  System stability is not as high a priority as systems are over-clocked and liquid cooled to dissipate the heat.  Kind of sounds like some data centers with higher density computing and cooling problems.

Gabe Newell is the Founder of Valve Software.

Valve is the creator of Steam, the world’s largest online gaming platform. Steam turns any PC (and soon any Mac) into a gaming powerhouse by providing instant access to a huge library of titles, and by automatically keeping a user’s games completely up to date. With an active user-base of over 25 million, Steam also connects gamers with each other, making it easy to find friends, keep track of each other’s gaming activity, and easily play games together. Since its inception as a service for updating Valve’s own game Counter-Strike, Steam has grown to become a service used world-wide, translated into 21 languages, and with content servers on every continent (save Antarctica, but we’re sure that’s just a matter of time).

Who is Gabe Newell?

After dropping out of Harvard University[1] Newell spent thirteen years working for Microsoft Corporation, ultimately becoming a "Microsoft Millionaire." Newell has described himself as "producer on the first three releases of Windows".

Gabe makes the point that it is less about graphics performance and shifting to a focus on services, less about pixels and more about micro transactions and identity.

Newell remarked during the podcast that graphics performance is much less of a concern overall compared to finding ways to offer a better user experience, such as the greater stability on the Mac. "I think we're starting to enter a period where graphics performance is sort of a solved problem," Newell said. "We're moving away from loss-leading graphics approaches [of consoles] toward more of a service platform. It's less about pixels per second and more about micro-transactions and identity."

If gaming is making this shift to stop being obsessed about graphics and processor performance, does it make sense for data centers to take this same approach as well?

This article particular interesting personally because Gabe Newell was my first interview at Microsoft in 1992 and I was interviewing in Microsoft Mail group. Gabe took one look at my Apple and HP experience on my resume and said "you need to be talking to the Microsoft TrueType group."  I told him, I had enough of TrueType and fonts and was looking to do something different.  Gabe said, "no you are going to interview with TrueType group we are changing your interview schedule now."  My next interview was with Peter Pathe who was my Microsoft hiring manager and coincidentally I am having lunch with next week.

His may not be a household name as Microsoft (NSDQ:MSFT) names go. But Peter Pathe is a big mover and shaker.

After 215 years with the company, he's getting ready to retire and this Microsoft Press Pass Q&A shows off what he's done for the Big M. For one thing, ubiquitous Microsoft Word was Pathe's baby for 15 years.

Gabe Newell was a hard-core Microsoft Windows guy at one time and is now saying the Mac OS X is five times more reliable than Windows.  Who knows maybe after 18 years, I can get a chance to talk to Gabe about his servers in data centers for Steam gaming.