By Snail 22 Comments
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.
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.
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.
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.