Windows 8 and Surface Are Two Different Platforms in This Trailer

Just yesterday, Jeff put up an article on the beta site where he basically ranted about how flabbergastingly clueless Microsoft's handling of video-games is on its Windows 8 platform. It's a pretty great article.

Available on Windows 8 *and* Surface!

While I tend to be kinder than most regarding Microsoft's, let's say, rocky transition to a touch-based product universe, and even though I really like some of the things they're doing, you really can't disagree with Mr. Gerstmann. Everything, everything about the way games are distributed on the Windows Store is dumb. We all know that their Xbox division is versed at digital distributing, and I (along with 30 other people) can assure you that the Windows Phone marketplace is as navigable as (and frankly, much tidier than) any other smartphone OS app store interface - yet on the Windows 8 Marketplace (dubbed Windows Store) games are hard to find, categories are scarce, the selection of games itself is weird and now that they have for the first time advertised their marketplace on a game trailer, we have confirmation that, yes, even their marketing is dumb.

If I see the logo on the right appear on a game trailer, I'll assume that game is available on the Windows 8 Marketplace.

The image above was taken from the release trailer for 17-Bit's finally-coming-out Skulls of the Shogun, where the Microsoft Surface is listed as a platform of its own. Okay. Why? Why is the Surface, that runs Windows 8, listed as a different platform than Windows 8? If they want to make it clear that the game will be available on the Windows Store then it would have sufficed to stamp the Windows 8 logo on the trailer, as opposed to the standard "PC Software" one. Are they trying to say that this game will also be available for ARM-based tablets? I don't know, because there's a Pro version of the Surface that runs an Intel chip. So I suspect that's what they meant, but frankly, knowing Microsoft, I cannot be sure.

But okay, look, let me level with you for a second. Microsoft did this for a reason. They want to tell people with Surface tablets that this neat little game about undead Japanese warlords will run on their expensive, tragically app-scarce Microsoft-branded slate (let's just assume both Pro and otherwise). But any person who would not have already conjectured that from the absence of the "PC" stamp and the presence of the Windows 8 logo is part of a demographic that will most likely become confused by the showcasing of Windows 8 and Surface as two different products. So this could have been one of those "dumb-to-'us'-yet-understandable-from-the-prism-of-a-larger-demographic" situations... but it's not.

Okay, maybe I got way too much into this. This probably isn't at all important, but it sure as heck is silly and it sure as heck is telling. It's (most likely) just their stupid little way of trying to say that this game runs on both Pro and RT versions of their latest OS. And if the larger marketing movement that englobes this particular instance of misguided advertising wasn't already so convoluted in and of itself, the image below probably wouldn't have tingled my "what the fuck?" glands nearly as much.

It's just that if the Surface name wasn't there, this image would make 120% more sense.

Just look at that. Yes, yes it runs on the Surface. I know. There's the Windows 8 logo before it. I can see it. But good job on making it seem that the Windows 8 OS and the Surface tablets are two mutually exclusive products, that won't confuse anyone.

22 Comments
25 Comments
Posted by Snail

Just yesterday, Jeff put up an article on the beta site where he basically ranted about how flabbergastingly clueless Microsoft's handling of video-games is on its Windows 8 platform. It's a pretty great article.

Available on Windows 8 *and* Surface!

While I tend to be kinder than most regarding Microsoft's, let's say, rocky transition to a touch-based product universe, and even though I really like some of the things they're doing, you really can't disagree with Mr. Gerstmann. Everything, everything about the way games are distributed on the Windows Store is dumb. We all know that their Xbox division is versed at digital distributing, and I (along with 30 other people) can assure you that the Windows Phone marketplace is as navigable as (and frankly, much tidier than) any other smartphone OS app store interface - yet on the Windows 8 Marketplace (dubbed Windows Store) games are hard to find, categories are scarce, the selection of games itself is weird and now that they have for the first time advertised their marketplace on a game trailer, we have confirmation that, yes, even their marketing is dumb.

If I see the logo on the right appear on a game trailer, I'll assume that game is available on the Windows 8 Marketplace.

The image above was taken from the release trailer for 17-Bit's finally-coming-out Skulls of the Shogun, where the Microsoft Surface is listed as a platform of its own. Okay. Why? Why is the Surface, that runs Windows 8, listed as a different platform than Windows 8? If they want to make it clear that the game will be available on the Windows Store then it would have sufficed to stamp the Windows 8 logo on the trailer, as opposed to the standard "PC Software" one. Are they trying to say that this game will also be available for ARM-based tablets? I don't know, because there's a Pro version of the Surface that runs an Intel chip. So I suspect that's what they meant, but frankly, knowing Microsoft, I cannot be sure.

But okay, look, let me level with you for a second. Microsoft did this for a reason. They want to tell people with Surface tablets that this neat little game about undead Japanese warlords will run on their expensive, tragically app-scarce Microsoft-branded slate (let's just assume both Pro and otherwise). But any person who would not have already conjectured that from the absence of the "PC" stamp and the presence of the Windows 8 logo is part of a demographic that will most likely become confused by the showcasing of Windows 8 and Surface as two different products. So this could have been one of those "dumb-to-'us'-yet-understandable-from-the-prism-of-a-larger-demographic" situations... but it's not.

Okay, maybe I got way too much into this. This probably isn't at all important, but it sure as heck is silly and it sure as heck is telling. It's (most likely) just their stupid little way of trying to say that this game runs on both Pro and RT versions of their latest OS. And if the larger marketing movement that englobes this particular instance of misguided advertising wasn't already so convoluted in and of itself, the image below probably wouldn't have tingled my "what the fuck?" glands nearly as much.

It's just that if the Surface name wasn't there, this image would make 120% more sense.

Just look at that. Yes, yes it runs on the Surface. I know. There's the Windows 8 logo before it. I can see it. But good job on making it seem that the Windows 8 OS and the Surface tablets are two mutually exclusive products, that won't confuse anyone.

Posted by eccentrix

So Surface isn't just the name of Microsoft's tablet? What is it, then?

Posted by JoeyRavn

I really don't see what's so terrible about it. The game has cross-compatibility between all those platforms/devices, so it's not really out of place that Microsoft decided to include them all in their advertising campaign.

Besides, the fact that a game runs on a Windows 8 PC doesn't necessarily mean it will run on a Windows 8 tablet. Maybe Microsoft is saying that the hardware on the Surface is good enough to run the game? Apple does the same when they list the iPod, iPhone and iPad as different devices. All of them have different technical specifications, even though they all run iOS.

Or maybe they are just pandering to the lowest common denominator: people who bought a Surface but don't know what OS they are running.

Be as it may, you may be overreacting just a tiny little bit.

Edited by selbie

Surfaceis actually Windows RT, which is the tablet (ARM processor compatible) version of Win8. As opposed to regular-ass Windows 8, and small-ass Windows Phone 8.

Posted by StarFoxA

Whoa, whoa, whoa. So this game isn't coming to Windows 7? At all?

Posted by Bollard

This entire thread is dumb, because they are different platforms. Surface runs on an ARM processor, which means standard Windows executables for x86 systems do not run on it. Hence a special version needs to be made to run on the tablet, separate from the Windows 8 version.

Posted by Snail

@Chavtheworld said:

This entire thread is dumb, because they are different platforms. Surface runs on an ARM processor, which means standard Windows executables for x86 systems do not run on it. Hence a special version needs to be made to run on the tablet, separate from the Windows 8 version.

@selbie said:

Surfaceis actually Windows RT, which is the tablet (ARM processor compatible) version of Win8. As opposed to regular-ass Windows 8, and small-ass Windows Phone 8.

I addressed this in the blog post actually. Even though the Surface Pro has an Intel chip, I guess that's what they meant, but it still would have sufficed to put in the Windows 8 logo instead of the "PC software" one to make it clear that the game runs on every version of Windows 8. But then again, that just makes it seem that this is the *only* version of Windows that the game runs on.

In any case, I think this is bound to confuse people. They're showcasing Windows 8 and Surface as mutually exclusive products in the same way that the Xbox 360 and Windows Phone are two entirely different, independent products.

Posted by JoeyRavn

@Snail said:

In any case, I think this is bound to confuse people. They're showcasing Windows 8 and Surface as mutually exclusive products in the same way that the Xbox 360 and Windows Phone are two entirely different, independent products.

But then again, they are not the same product either, so separating them into "PCs with Windows 8" and "Surfaces with Windows 8" makes sense.

Posted by Bollard

@Snail said:

@Chavtheworld said:

This entire thread is dumb, because they are different platforms. Surface runs on an ARM processor, which means standard Windows executables for x86 systems do not run on it. Hence a special version needs to be made to run on the tablet, separate from the Windows 8 version.

@selbie said:

Surfaceis actually Windows RT, which is the tablet (ARM processor compatible) version of Win8. As opposed to regular-ass Windows 8, and small-ass Windows Phone 8.

I addressed this in the blog post actually. Even though the Surface Pro has an Intel chip, I guess that's what they meant, but it still would have sufficed to put in the Windows 8 logo instead of the "PC software" one to make it clear that the game runs on every version of Windows 8. But then again, that just makes it seem that this is the *only* version of Windows that the game runs on.

I'm still not sure what you're trying to say here. If they used the Windows 8 logo to say it ran on all versions of Windows 8, then they would need to introduce another logo for when it doesn't run on ARM. So why not use a logo they already have (the Surface logo), which also gives them extra marketing presence.

Admittedly it would be more accurate to use an RT logo but eh.

Edited by Snail

@Chavtheworld said:

I'm still not sure what you're trying to say here. If they used the Windows 8 logo to say it ran on all versions of Windows 8, then they would need to introduce another logo for when it doesn't run on ARM.

They do, it's this one. That's why that trailer still is kind of confusing.

@JoeyRavn said:

But then again, they are not the same product either, so separating them into "PCs with Windows 8" and "Surfaces with Windows 8" makes sense.

But that's not what they're doing.

See, that's the thing. They're trying to streamline and simplify their products so much, they didn't even develop a logo for the "Windows RT" and "Windows Pro" versions of the OS. So this is the first time different versions of the same Windows OS haven't been able to always run the same apps, and, instead of developing a logo for each one, they represent the RT version by slapping the name "Surface" on trailers? I think that's misguided. Like I said, I know this isn't very important, and that I wrote way too much about it, but it's silly as heck.

Anyway, given the number of confused people in the comments, for various different reasons I didn't even anticipate, I'm feel pretty confident about my case here.

Posted by Bollard

@Snail said:

@Chavtheworld said:

I'm still not sure what you're trying to say here. If they used the Windows 8 logo to say it ran on all versions of Windows 8, then they would need to introduce another logo for when it doesn't run on ARM.

They do, it's this one. That's why that trailer still is kind of confusing.

That logo is old. Microsoft are clearly here trying to promote their new branding. This is to replace that logo. The whole branding has been mordernised and brought in line to represent the fact that Xbox and Windows are joined at the hip - that whole unification of interfaces on all devices we are heading towards.

Posted by TooWalrus

That's weird but... maybe they're referring to the ARM version of Windows 8? After all, it's like Windows, only if it got kicked in the balls.

Online
Edited by Snail

@Chavtheworld said:

That logo is old. Microsoft are clearly here trying to promote their new branding. This is to replace that logo. The whole branding has been mordernised and brought in line to represent the fact that Xbox and Windows are joined at the hip - that whole unification of interfaces on all devices we are heading towards.

The "that logo is old" thing won't fly. If what Microsoft is indeed trying to do is straight up replace that logo, then they should make some "Runs on Windows" thing, like this one. Otherwise it makes it seem that versions of Windows previous to Windows 8 aren't compatible with what is being advertised.

Posted by Bollard

@Snail said:

@Chavtheworld said:

That logo is old. Microsoft are clearly here trying to promote their new branding. This is to replace that logo. The whole branding has been mordernised and brought in line to represent the fact that Xbox and Windows are joined at the hip - that whole unification of interfaces on all devices we are heading towards.

The "that logo is old" thing won't fly. If what Microsoft is indeed trying to do is straight up replace that logo, then they should make some "Runs on Windows" thing, like this one. Otherwise it makes it seem that versions of Windows previous to Windows 8 aren't compatible with what is being advertised.

As far as I'm aware previous versions of Windows 8 aren't compatible with SotS.

Posted by Brodehouse

I'm... pretty sure that's how it was always described as. I seem to remember the original unveiling to be "here's Windows 8 and here's Windows 8 RT which runs on Surface" or something along those lines. Maybe there's something I'm not getting here, is this fundamentally different than the OS differences between desktop Macs, iPads and iPhones?

Posted by Snail

@Chavtheworld said:

As far as I'm aware previous versions of Windows 8 aren't compatible with SotS.

Wait, really? That can't be. Does Windows 8 have anything that makes this game only possible on that OS? Aren't they just deliberately locking the game out of other versions of Windows, thereby limiting their userbase?

This won't get anyone to buy Windows 8. Nonetheless, I guess this weird form of "exclusives" would somehow improve the credibility of the Windows Store if they ever got enough of them, and that's probably what they're going for. This is just weird. Like, it's on PC, it's on Windows, but only on one Windows? Isn't this a first?

Posted by Bollard

@Snail said:

Wait, really? That can't be. Does Windows 8 have anything that makes this game only possible on that OS? Aren't they just deliberately locking the game out of other versions of Windows, thereby limiting their userbase?

This won't get anyone to buy Windows 8. Nonetheless, I guess this weird form of "exclusives" would somehow improve the credibility of the Windows Store if they ever got enough of them, and that's probably what they're going for. This is just weird. Like, it's on PC, it's on Windows, but only on one Windows? Isn't this a first?

It is possible I've got this whole thing wrong, but yeah, the way they are selling it through the new Windows Store type thing means there isn't just a traditional executable you can download and install to play the game. I'm not sure if there are actual technical limitations to this (and hence Windows 8 only), but obviously because the store isn't available on other versions it means you won't have access to SotS on anything other than an Win8 machine.

The whole "exclusives" point you make seems to be the only reason I could think of that they're doing it, and I guess yeah, it's a first (although of course, games requiring newer DX versions weren't available on older OS's, but that was a technical limitation there).

Posted by ChinaDontCare

That is Microsoft Flagship Product,

They want to sell The Name. SURFACE

This Month Surface PRO will be announced so more SURFACE

Posted by FreakAche

@selbie said:

Surfaceis actually Windows RT, which is the tablet (ARM processor compatible) version of Win8. As opposed to regular-ass Windows 8, and small-ass Windows Phone 8.

Actually, depending on the version, it runs one of either OS. The Surface comes in both ARM and x86 architectures. Also Windows 8 and Windows RT have a unified app store, making the distinction between them seem pretty pointless in this situation.

Edited by Snail

@Brodehouse said:

I'm... pretty sure that's how it was always described as. I seem to remember the original unveiling to be "here's Windows 8 and here's Windows 8 RT which runs on Surface" or something along those lines. Maybe there's something I'm not getting here, is this fundamentally different than the OS differences between desktop Macs, iPads and iPhones?

Basically the way they're selling it is that there's Windows 8 Pro and Windows 8 RT. The only difference between the two is that RT only runs apps from the Windows Store, due to the ARM architecture of processors it is built to work with.

There are also two versions of the Surface tablet, the Pro and the RT, each with a different version of Windows 8. So putting Windows 8 and Surface there, without specifying which versions of the products they are referring to is basically saying the same thing twice. Obviously one assumes they meant both versions of Windows 8, but it's still super weird to see the Surface being advertised as a different platform than Xbox 360, Windows Phone and Windows 8?

But whatever. Apparently that image makes more sense than what I originally thought since it seems the game is actually not being released for versions of Windows prior to Windows 8. Which is a super weird thing.

Posted by FierceDeity

Talk about a case example of a non-issue.

Edited by aquacadet

What's your point? Apple talks about iPad and iPhone even though both run iOS and use the same store.

Companies like to build "brands" perhaps you've heard of this before?

Posted by Snail

@aquacadet said:

What's your point? Apple talks about iPad and iPhone even though both run iOS and use the same store.

Companies like to build "brands" perhaps you've heard of this before?

The equivalent here would be like Apple saying "Available on iOS and iPad". That's why it doesn't make sense.

I wrote way too much about this anyway. I was probably angry that day or something.

Edited by Sooty

@eccentrix said:

So Surface isn't just the name of Microsoft's tablet? What is it, then?

It's a tablet with a keyboard add-on running the shitty version of Windows 8 that has no apps.

I mean that's all it is so far, probably going to be a hardware line, but then I'm not sure what they will call the Surface Pro which is x86 and actually could be good.

Looking at the CES stuff though, it seems Lenovo have already 1UP'd Microsoft.