Microsoft Still Loves You, Will Bring First-Party Games To PC

By Graham Smith on November 8th, 2013 at 8:00 am.

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“I think it’s fair to say that we’ve lost our way a bit in supporting Windows games,” says Microsoft Studios VP Phil Spencer in an interview with Shacknews. “But we’re back.”

As spotted on PC Gamer, Spencer goes on to promise “more invdividual projects” on Windows than Microsoft Studios have had in ten years. So far, the only first-party XBox One game announced for the PC is Project Spark, and it’s a Windows 8 exclusive.

Spencer’s comments are somewhat contrary to those made earlier this year, when Microsoft said that they are bringing family and casual games to Windows 8, but “not what you might consider a more traditional desktop PC game,” according to Matt Booty, general manager of Redmond Game Studios and Platforms at the XBox One launch event.

Maybe Jason Holtman joining the company from Valve has changed things, but Microsoft’s PC-related promises are hollow by now.

Games for Windows Live “will continue to get better,” said senior producer of Microsoft’s interactive entertainment business, Kevin Unangst, in 2011, before the service continued to get worse. It closed down earlier this month, trapping gamer’s saved games inside with a final act of malice.

“It is our job to lead the way on PC,” said Microsoft Games Studios’ general manager Dave Luehmann in an interview with MCV in 2010, before pointing to Age of Empires Online and Microsoft Flight as examples, not knowing that both games would be mediocre, that support for each would be discontinued, and that no further games would be announced.

As a bigger online store was launched in 2010, Peter Orullian, group product manager for Windows PC and Mobile, told Kotaku that they aimed to “bring some of the rigour, thought and success we’ve had on console to bare in the PC space. PC games is a place where we are doubling down.”

“Windows 8 will represent a real new push into PC gaming,” a source told TechRadar in 2010, proving simultaneously why you shouldn’t quote anonymous sources and why people sometimes want to remain anonymous.

“It is absolutely important and a strategic advantage for us over, for instance, Apple,” Microsoft’s Leila Martine told TechRadar in 2009. “So should we be focused on involving and putting on features such as DirectX 11? Absolutely we should.”

“Games for Windows truly thrived in 2007. We went from two titles in 2006 to a continually growing portfolio of over 60 titles here at CES 2008,” said Kevin Unangst, senior global director of Games for Windows in the Entertainment and Devices Division at Microsoft, as part of a press release. “We delivered on our promise one year ago to reinvigorate the PC gaming space and bring the best portfolio of games to Windows. And this is just the beginning. With our partners, we will continue to drive the resurgence of Windows-based gaming.”

“For the first time in Microsoft’s history, we’re releasing an operating system built from the ground up with gaming as a core scenario. With a worldwide presence of over 200 million gamers of all stripes, we’re taking the world’s most popular gaming platform and making it easier, safer, and more fun for everyone,” wrote Peter Moore in a letter in 2007. He continues by predicting a PC gaming “renaissance”, and it would be almost six months before he’d state that he was “overly optimistic”.

Meanwhile the planet Earth’s rotation continues to slow, each day a millionth of a second longer than the last, as humanity slides irreversibly towards the heat death of the universe and the end of all things.

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131 Comments »

  1. Bobka says:

    Please don’t make your own storefront.
    Please don’t make your own storefront.
    Please don’t make your own storefront.
    Please don’t make your own storefront.

    We’ve already got GOG, Desura, Steam, Uplay and the execrable Origin (I say that because it exists basically to allow EA to sell its games away from Steam, and not to provide qualitatively different alternatives to Steam for consumers/developers with different priorities, à la GOG and Desura).

  2. hotmaildidntwork says:

    To paraphrase another great speech: “Microsoft is winning the war!”

  3. Grape Flavor says:

    I’m going to play devil’s advocate for a second here and ask: Why does everyone expect Microsoft to put their Xbox games on PC? Because they make the PC operating system? But really, what difference does that make? They don’t actually control the PC gaming ecosystem any more than Sony does, Valve would be the company closet to being in that position. They don’t make royalties off PC games.

    Furthermore, they have clear incentives not to. Their stable of first-party studios and exclusives is already weaker than Sony’s to begin with, why would they want to undercut the Xbox even further by making all their exclusives also available on PC, while Sony’s remain ONLY available on PlayStation?

    In other words, why are we outraged that Halo is being withheld from PC, but no one even thinks to ask Sony why Uncharted and The Last of Us do the same? What’s the real difference here? I think the answer is: because it’s Microsoft. Their brand is so toxic that anything they do is held up to brutally critical standards that other companies simply don’t have to deal with.

    Case in point: Surface:

    ARM OS Windows RT doesn’t run x86 based Windows programs: “Oh my god, what a joke! What a failure! What are they thinking? Surely they could have just whipped up an emulator! I bet this is to force us into their Windows Store! What greedy assholes!”

    ARM OS iOS doesn’t run x86 based OSX programs: “Well duh. Why the hell would it? They’re completely different architectures.”

    The MacBook Air packs a full-blown x86, Core i5 PC into a thin and light form factor: “Brilliant! Amazing! What a triumph of engineering! How do they do it?”

    The Surface Pro 2 packs an even faster x86, Core i5 PC into an even thinner, lighter form factor: “It’s heavier than the iPad. Who designed this thing? Try again, Microsoft.”

    “Okay, okay, but their branding is confusing to the average consumer. The guy on the street can’t be expected to understand these things.” Then why is this coming from people who write about technology for a living?

    I could go on all day. Xbone not backwards compatible? “FAIL!” PS4 isn’t either? “Who cares about that anyway?”
    Now that they reversed course on the online check, Xbone requires you to have the disk in the drive to play? “What petty, vindictive assholes! They’re doing that to punish us.” PS4 has same requirement? *shrug*

    Look, I’m not a fanboy. I don’t have any vested interest in Microsoft. I’ve never owned an Xbox. I’m typing this from my iPad. But I have to say, if I were the CEO of Microsoft, I probably would just kill myself and be done with it, because there really isn’t any way to win here. They should just sell their assets and give up.

    • Don Reba says:

      The problem people have with Xbox is Microsoft paying off developers to make their titles exclusive to the console, thus directly hurting the PC ecosystem. Yes, this only makes it as bad as SONY, but SONY does not claim to care about PC gaming.

      Why is iOS given a pass on ARM and Windows RT not so much? Because it is a completely different operating system from OSX, while Windows and Windows RT have the same appearance and the same API.

      Surface Pro is actually often praised, but it is not a proper laptop and it is crippled by Windows 8.

      There is no anti-Microsoft conspiracy. It just keeps screwing up.

      • malkav11 says:

        Actually, it makes them worse than Sony. Sure, Sony doesn’t port their first and second party games to PC (for the most part – it has happened!), but I don’t expect them to. They have a vested interest in selling their console, just like Microsoft does. I also don’t expect Microsoft to port their first and second party games to PC, although I would love it if they did and I do think they should have some vested interest in selling Windows, seeing as they made it and all.

        But as far as I know, Sony does -not- pay third party developers to publish things only on their console and specifically prevent or delay their release on PC. Microsoft most definitely does. And that’s mainly what I care about, seeing as Microsoft’s first/second party stuff isn’t really my speed for the most part (not that much of Sony’s is either), but they end up doing things like delaying Bethesda DLC for months on end and cool, quirky indie games as well.

    • airmikee99 says:

      You’re looking at the world through very strange glasses.

      There is an x86 emulator for Windows RT: http://www.extremetech.com/computing/148841-how-to-run-normal-x86-windows-apps-on-your-windows-rt-tablet A Google search tells me there are OSX to iOS emulators as well. As for people complaining about programs not working on OS’s not made to handle them, that’s their own stupidity and it has nothing to do with any company.

      People do want Last of Us and Uncharted on PC, Google search for “Last of Us PC” and “Uncharted PC” bring back millions of results with people asking when it will happen. As a PC gamer, I would LOVE for Last of Us and Uncharted to come to my platform of choice, more so than any Xbox exclusive titles.

      Playstation users are just as annoyed that the PS4 isn’t backward compatible as Xbox users are, they’re all jealous of Nintendo users ability to play the last generation of games on modern hardware.

      I have no idea where you’re getting the ideas that Sony and Apple are given passes while Microsoft is not, a few quick Google searches can prove those ideas to be nothing more than imaginative fantasies used in an internet argument but have no standing in reality. A Google search of ‘Microsoft Hate’ brings back almost 70 million results, ‘Sony Hate’ brings back just a few million less, while ‘Apple Hate’ brings back 200 million.

      But I’ll bet good money the reason you see more Microsoft hate here is because this a PC gaming blog, and since Sony and Apple have next to nothing to do with PC gaming you won’t see many complaints about Apple or Sony here. Go to a blog dedicated to the Playstation and you’ll find plenty of complaints about Sony there and not so many anti-MS posts or anti-Apple, go to a blog dedicated to iOS or OSX and you’ll find plenty of Apple hate there, with fewer anti-MS and anti-Sony posts.

      Like Don Reba said, there is no conspiracy here, you just happen to be in a place full of people that are fully aware of Microsoft’s mistakes when it comes to PC gaming. I have to ask you, if Microsoft truly cares about PC gaming as they claim, why did they kill Microsoft Flight Simulator and the Xbox.com PC Marketplace?

    • UncleLou says:

      The difference is: Microsoft already sold me an OS (again and again, actually) with the promise of developing games for it, occasionally even (rather randomly) porting their exclusives to it, and then tell me again and again I should rather also buy an Xbox, because they make more money if I buy a game on that platform, before trying to sell me their latest OS again with the promise of, well, games.

      Sony, Nintendo, Apple and whoever sell me something entirely different that has an added value to what I already own. Microsoft seem to needlessly take away from something they already sold me so they can sell me something else.

      Now if Apple opened an itunes 2 and appstore 2 with music and apps I can – arbitrarily – only use on my new iCall device, while still trying to sell me their iPhone and iPad, you would see me complaining as well.

      Although, to be honest, if they concentrated on just the Xbox, that would be fine as well. It’s the lying through their teeth once a year with promises that are never kept that is the particularly annoying part, which is why they deserve all the flak they get for it. And as long as they do this, I allow myself the luxury of a healthy dose of entitlement.

    • Grape Flavor says:

      Some interesting counterpoints guys, thanks. I’ll chew them over.

    • Sharlie Shaplin says:

      Personally I don’t expect them to do any such thing, I just don’t understand why they had to kill off all their PC gaming content and franchises, that was doing fine pre Xbox. Did they think that we would all just go and get an Xbox instead and have done with PC’s for gaming?

  4. RegisteredUser says:

    Ohai, we’re Microsoft. Soooo we kinda realized that the Xbox One is not going to be anything decent, and we’ve also kinda goofed with the silly idea that a tablet OS also doubles as one for the desktop..so we figured, hey, blackmailing people into platform exclusives has worked for us before, so why not do it for Windows 8 again this time?
    Foolproof plan in the age of nonballgagged DRM free indies, moddable games and F2P, amirite?

  5. Sharlie Shaplin says:

    Yeah, this is why I will never buy anything digital directly from Microsoft ever again.

  6. oceanclub says:

    “But we’re back.”

    By saying this, he sounds like a patronising idiot.

    P.

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