I only tested a handful of games but the results are clear. Windows 8 is not as fast as Windows 7 when it comes to games, yet. There is still room for improvement through drivers, game updates and Windows updates.
First time I tried Windows 8 (Consumer Preview) I wasn’t able to run any Games for Windows Live (GFWL) titles and now they all at least start. There is only one game I wished to test that didn’t work at all and that was Max Payne 3. All the other games started just fine but in a few cases some fiddling was necessary. For instance, Sleeping Dogs didn’t start before running it in Win 98 Compatibility Mode.
Another issue I had was the Screen Refresh Rate wasn’t detected correctly. When changing the resolution to 1080p, DiRT Showdown and F1 2012 detected the Screen Refresh Rate at 59hz, Battlefield 3 reported 59.9hz and that’s the most probable cause for the mouse input lag I had in BF3. Using the default Monitor driver or the ones from the manufacturer made no difference, also changing the Catalyst driver had no impact on the matter. Had the same problem back in Consumer Preview with Crysis 2 but Battlefield 3 worked OK back then.
Is Windows 8 ready to run all your games on release ?
Probably not, games like Max Payne 3 and L.A. Noire won’t even start. Some need to be ran in compatibility mode. Some won’t even detect the correct Refresh Rate. And most of them will under perform in comparison to Windows 7. While just a few will perform the same or better under Windows 8.
Things will definitely change in the future, just before making the tests I had to install a 300 MB “Security” Update from Windows Update, though, highly unlikely, I’m not entirely sure that this and previous Windows updates hadn’t have anything to do with the Screen Refresh Rate issues I mentioned earlier.
As a last “thing”, I’ve read a few articles “out there” that pretty much praise Windows 8 and how big of an improvement it is over Windows 7. Let me remind you how huge Microsoft’s Marketing Department is in order to bury OpenGL and all it stood for, you can read up on that all over the Internet.
Note: Results may vary with each system. You should not make an opinion about Windows 8 solely on this article.