While normally we don’t follow operating systems, given that PC gaming rests heavily on the Windows platform we felt it we should let you know that Microsoft has officially released the Consumer Preview of the upcoming Windows 8 platform. So you might ask, what does this have to do with gaming?
For one, the Windows 8 platform encorporates Xbox Live directly into Windows, and allowing you to access the Marketplace right from the OS. No word yet on whether there are any compatibility issues with Windows 8 and Steam, Origin, Good Old Games, and Amazon digital distribution services, but we expect that since the developer betas have been out for some time that the applications should function as expected.
If you’re interested in trying it out, be warned : this isn’t a retail release, so you might want to hold off until Windows 8 is fully supported. One of the places hosting an image is over at www.windows8beta.com, where they have many languages and versions available. You’re looking at a 3GB download though, and if you’re not comfortable in installing operating systems, we wouldn’t recommend it.
More questions about what you get with the consumer preview? CNet has a hands-on article detailing some of the benefits and changes you can expect of MS’s latest OS.
There’s a phenomenal amount of change here to discuss, but if you’re looking for a quick summary: Windows 8 is a breeze to use. It’s tricked out with social networking and synchronization, it’s robust enough to handle Photoshop, it gracefully moves from touch to keyboard and mouse, and it’s got some top-notch security.
The Windows Metro interface is here to stay. Xbox 360 has it, Windows Phones have it, and now the desktop/laptop/tablet computers have it.