Microsoft promises stronger PC gaming focus—kind of


— 2:00 PM on February 11, 2014

I stumbled across an interesting interview over at Rock, Paper, Shotgun this morning. The site spoke to Ken Lobb, Partner Creative Director for Microsoft Studios, about Microsoft's renewed commitment to PC gaming. I read the whole thing, but I'm still trying to figure out exactly what it means.

First, a little primer: last August, Microsoft hired Jason Holtman, the former head of Steam business development at Valve. At the time, GamesIndustry International reported that Holtman's mission as a fresh Microsoft hire was to make Windows a "great platform for gaming."

Speaking to Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Lobb very much confirmed that commitment. "[I]n years past we were the Xbox division," he said. "Now we're one [unified] Microsoft. . . . We have more support internally to support PC more." Lobb went as far as to call the PC gaming community "more vibrant than it's ever been before."

But when pressed for specifics, Lobb was much more evasive—and actually a little puzzling. Rock, Paper, Shotgun asked if Microsoft's renewed PC focus would spell the end of Xbox exclusives. Lobb replied that developers ought to make "the best thing for each platform" and perhaps release "support games" for "side platforms." He then clarified that the PC was by no means a "side platform" and that we could "potentially" see a big PC exclusive with an Xbox Live Arcade support title.

Finally, Lobb vaguely hinted at a major upcoming PC release, saying that, although he couldn't announce anything, Microsoft is "very dedicated to that space."

Yeah. I may be naive, but it seems like being "very dedicated" to PC gaming would entail cross-platform releases as a matter of course. All the talk of support titles and side platforms strikes me as a little odd. Perhaps Microsoft wants to encourage folks to game on both the PC and the Xbox One by churning out complementary, non-cross-platform releases. That kind of thing might make good business sense for Microsoft, but I don't think it's necessarily what the "vibrant" PC gaming community is after. With the exception of touch-enabled mobile games and the like, I'd rather just play all my games on the PC.

   
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