Yes, it jolly well is, you lot. For years and years you’ve been promising to pay attention again, but it’s never quite happened, has it? All you did was squeeze Games For Windows Live onto our lawn from some unspeakable orifice, then disappear back to your Xboxes and not-quite-right phones. Our Graham even ran a history of all the times you’ve made these claims in the past, and look where we are now: in exactly the same place. Or are we?
Today’s claim comes in the form of a twitter reply from Xbox and Microsoft Studios boss Phil Spencer*, but the simple line “I’ll be focusing more on what we are doing on Win10 in January, it’s time for us to talk about gaming on Windows” is backed up by a couple of things. Maybe.
Number one, the forthcoming DirectX 12 – bundled with Windows 10, and we don’t yet have a definitive answer on whether or not it’ll come to other versions of the operating system – sounds as though it could be a pretty significant update. After five years of only minor tinkering with DirectX 11, it is perhaps past time.
Excited whispers grow around the gaming API’s improved support for multiple cores and ‘closer to the metal’ access – akin to AMD’s Mantle, but in theory manufacturer agnostic. As I understand it DirectX 12 is also coming to Xbox One, which would mean more platform commonality there too. Perhaps the PC will be simply the second-hand beneficiary of this, and perhaps there’ll be a huge schism between the DX12s and the DX12nots, but, well, something is happening.
Number two, Microsoft have just announced a a Windows 10 event at MS HQ in Redmond on January 21st, dubbed ‘The Next Chapter’, and at which Phil Spencer will be speaking. What we’ve seen of Win 10 so far (my own impressions here), while more coherent than Win 8 and with some neat new features, was merely the technical preview; still to be unveiled are the new consumer bells and whistles. After Windows 8 proved broadly unpopular, MS seems determined to make 10 a big deal. Games, increasingly a daily part of modern life, would be one way of attempting that. My suspicion is something of substance will be revealed on the 21st.
Another attempt at something GFWLy? Simply an update to the rather poorly-stocked Windows Store? Simply more DirectX 12 detail? Some strange Xbox/PC compatibility? While not without massive practical/technical issues, the latter wouldn’t be totally insane, given the Xbone One by and large has struggled to keep up with PS4 – somehow bringing in PCs would be a way to expand the Xbox game userbase in one fell swoop.
I’m probably writing crazy things, I realise. Imagining things is fun!
What do want to hear Microsoft say about PC gaming anyway? What can they do? Or have ships sailed (and turned too fully to Steam power?)
* No, not him from that nauseating property show.