Microsoft: “It’s Time To Talk About Gaming On Windows”

LIFESTYLE see what a life it is LIFESTYLE

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.

136 Comments

  1. DanMan says:

    Whatever they’re going to say, I’ve stopped listening a long time ago.

    • kevinspell says:

      I hope they say: “We are done with PC. No more support for games, no more DX. We don’t give a sh*t anymore so y’all PC b**tards can go f*ck your self…”

      I honestly believe this is the best course of action for the future of PC gaming.

      • LordCrash says:

        And how is that good for PC gaming??? That’s actually the worst thing they could do…

        • ocelot113 says:

          Actually that’s not the worst thing. The worst, and probably most likely thing, they will do is what Dragon Age Inquisition has done to the PC community and merge the PC and console markets, making console games easier to make and then PC gets the scraps. Basically every game made will be made for console, no more PC exclusives, i.e. no more PC interfaces, no more PC controls, everything standard console controls. Companies will not have any reason to make games specifically for PC anymore which in turn will crash the classic M&KB market, making no distinction between consoles and PC.

          Don’t worry, we will finally have those long dreamt of cross platform games, but what they won’t admit to you but will come, at the cost of M&KB controls, modding, and graphical fidelity.

          • LordCrash says:

            Without Windows support for gaming there is no PC gaming left apart from a barely comparable (and barely working) Linux environment. That’s why it’s definitely not the best idea for PC gaming in general.

            I have never said that I like a consolization of PC games. I hate DAI for that same issue. But that’s another horse to beat and definitely not what I was talking about…

          • Emeraude says:

            Without Windows support for gaming there is no PC gaming left

            It hadn’t occurred to me that the Windows “support” had been anything but a way to co-opt and lock down developers/publishers into the platform.

            Games don’t need specific windows support, as long as Microsoft keeps the OS open enough for third party applications – which they will have to do if they want to keep any relevance.
            The main reason people are still using Windows is because it’s the OS that runs the software they want to run. If Microsoft doesn’t give proper support to that, their OS is not worth the price of admission.

            Conversely, given the documented history of how they’ve been running their business, the less Microsoft tries to do *specifically* “for” gaming (ie trying to maximize the profit they can make from the gaming audience while giving back as little as possible), the better.

          • Faxmachinen says:

            “Without Windows support for gaming there is no PC gaming left apart from a barely comparable (and barely working) Linux environment. That’s why it’s definitely not the best idea for PC gaming in general.”

            And I suppose if Youtube dropped support for videos then there’d be no videos left on the internet? This is the dumbest conclusion I’ve read all week.

        • Echo_Hotel says:

          A quick breakup is always preferable to misery in a loveless relationship. Slower more infrequent versioning with fewer bug fixes and more empty promises could string things out slowly killing the user base until nobody even wants to think about even PORTING games to PC. Or a Quick Definitive end of support date to let everyone get their linux drivers and libraries in line and move on to greener pastures.
          Shit or get off the pot MS sitting there is going to give us hemorrhoids.

          • LordCrash says:

            Not everyone wants to mess around with Linux. I certainly don’t.

            And I use my PC for a lot more than just for gaming. Having Linux or something else isn’t a good alternative.

          • ludde says:

            Oh, you’d be fine. With Steam on there it should be decent.

            Not that it’s ever gonna come to that, though. Microsoft aren’t going to drop the ball that hard.

        • kevinspell says:

          No, the worst thing they could do is GFWL v2. And if you didn’t realized it, anything MS does related to PC gaming is hinder it to keep Xbox a viable choice. Without MS monopoly gaming on PC can only become better and grow faster.

          Once someone finally introduces a superior OS optimized for gaming and multimedia people will eventually switch to a better product. And then we will get other software ported as well. Like with digital distribution, maybe it will take 5, 10 or 15 years, but it will happen. MS denouncing PC gaming would only speed things up.

          • LordCrash says:

            MS doesn’t do much about gaming on PC at all apart from delivering the OS which isn’t less gamer friendly today than it was 10 year ago. They may do very little themselves for PC gaming or games but I don’t see how they actively hinder gaming on PC, sorry.

            And we all hope for that super PC gamer friendly OS but where is it? I don’t see it. Nobody is talking about SteamOS anymore. And SteamOS or Linux isn’ t a viable solution for a lot of people anyway if their PC isn’t only used for gaming. For other software you still need Windows (or a MAC) and I don’t see any realistic change here in the years to come…

          • Cockie says:

            @Lordcrash:
            Actually, I use Linux for anything but gaming. For the majority of things you can perfectly use Linux if you’re a bit flexible (e.g. willing to use a different program that does the same thing instead of insisting on a Windows-only program, or being willing to fiddle a bit with Wine).
            Not saying that people should switch to Linux if they’re content with Windows, but if you want you can.

          • kevinspell says:

            @Lordcrash
            They don’t do much because it is in their interest to do nothing. They intentionally refuse to improve gaming on PC and through their monopoly ensure nobody else does. On Xbox they have full control and one or two real competitors. But if they improve Windows gaming to the point where it is obviously a superior platform for developing and playing games they would have to compete with hundreds of publisher and stores for sales profits. So they actively hinder the progress of Windows gaming, and because of the monopoly, PC gaming in general simply by choosing to do nothing.

            And even if they keep their word and start improving Windows as a gaming platform there is another problem lurking around the corner. Some devs called W8 a disaster (not GabeN, e.g. this guy: link to forums.steampowered.com) not because of the UI but because with W8 MS started to close down some aspects of Windows. Complete lock down like on Xbox wont happen anytime soon but if we ever allow this to happen… well PC gamers are f*cked…

            And as I said, once someone finally offers a better OS. I realize there isn’t one right now. But I sure do hope we get one eventually.

          • zentropy says:

            @LordCrash
            Hey mate – look into dual-booting, virtualization, emulation or simply having a dedicated system for whatever else it is you do. Was getting all psyched up to do a Linux conversion post on you a bit further up, but after seeing more of your posts I realize it would be a lost cause…

            Anyways, I used to be like you. Linux isn’t necessarily what you make it out to be (anymore).

      • Psychomorph says:

        They should just say: “So you want to play games? Buy Xbox.”

        “GFWLMUWUAHAHAMWHAHAHA-AHAH-AA-HAAA…”

        “…HAAAAA”

      • Megazell says:

        You’re right. I’m old enough to remember when gaming was not supported on PCs and yet games abounded. What M$ did not support others took up the slack and made it the greatest gaming platform to date. If they actually kept their paws out of the PC gaming scene and just made a decent OS – the community of gamers and devs will rise to the challenge and make stellar stuff.

    • Smashbox says:

      They will say:

      General things about making a REAL commitment this time to PC gaming. Reiterate their general things. Mention Xbox (maybe call a bunch of inanimate things a family), and make no firm promises.

      Again.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Wisq says:

    Oh god no. Microsoft, please go back to focusing on your Ex Bahks thingy. We all remember what happened the last time you tried to focus on “PC” (read: Windows) gaming.

    We don’t need you. We don’t want you. We’re doing just fine without you.

    (That said, it’s not a huge surprise. “Hey look, everyone keeps releasing games for Windows/Mac/Linux! This is madness! This is chaos! We must restore monopolistic order to the gaming universe! Let’s introduce new proprietary APIs and try to lure developers back into making Windows exclusives.”)

    • Lacero says:

      Right, the last thing pc gaming needs is a dx12 exclusive to windows10 that fragments the market.

      • subedii says:

        Going by previous form, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them release a years out of date franchise game (missing critical features) and tout how important it was that it be “exclusive” to their new OS because they just couldn’t do it any other way.

        Seven years isn’t too soon for a PC port of Halo 3 is it?

        • Loyal_Viggo says:

          If MS released all the Halo series on PC they would make a killing if they implement full campaign coop.

          And no more GFWL shit. It has to be via steam or similar so more than 5 people use it.

          The end.

          • kevinspell says:

            It will be GFWL2 or something similar but related to Windows Store.

      • LordCrash says:

        They’ve already said that DX12 will at least support Windows 8(.1).

        Windows 7 is already dead and without support for a few years now. People should finally accept that. And there is really no reason to stick with it, especially not for gamers anyway. From what I’ve seen from Win10 so far it’s something PC gamers shouldn’t miss so I don’t see the big issue here…

        • rcguitarist says:

          What are you talking about? Windows 7 still gets MS support. And any gamer who prefers windows 8 over 7 is crazy and must like the hassle of digging through 15 screens just to get to the control panel.

          • LordCrash says:

            Windows 7 support will finally end in January 2015. And MS hasn’t really been putting a lot of effort into it since the introduction of Win 8. That’s just how the business works…

            And no, I’m not crazy because I use Win 8.1. Once you’ve banned the metro surface and boot to deskop it’s as easy to use as Win 7 and it requires actually the same amounts of clicks to get to the system settings (two, to be precise). Windows 8.1 is also really stable and it offers more performance in some games. So there is no reason to not upgrading your system.

            And then again Win10 will offer a more traditional start menu once again for desktop users so that’s even a better reason to upgrade…

          • airmikee says:

            RE: Lord Crash

            So January, 2015 happened a few years ago?

            I’m still getting weekly updates for Win7, so just how exactly do you define ‘no support’?

            You really think there’s no reason to upgrade to 8.1 from 7, even with 10 being just around the corner?

            Are you being serious? Or just pulling off a really good operating system troll?

          • ayprof says:

            right click windows button + select control panel

          • Bracknellexile says:

            LordCrash, the devil’s in the detail.

            Microsoft will end design changes, warranty claims and no-charge incident support in January. They’ll provide security patches until 2020. It’s an important distinction.

          • LordCrash says:

            @airmikee

            I think you’ve misunderstood me or I didn’t express my point properly. Anyway, you’ve said that Windows will segregate the PC market with DX12. My response to that was that there is no reason to stick with Windows 7 anyway because DX12 will be available for Win 10 and Win 8.1 and there is no reason for gamers not to upgrade to one of them from Win 7. If you want to update right to Win 10 that’s fine and I’ll support that. Point is that just because Windows 7 won’t get DX12 support the market isn’t artificially segregated because at that time it’s already a dated, out-of-official-support software, two generations behind.

          • danijami23 says:

            RE: ayprof

            Oh. My. God. Thank you.

          • ScubaMonster says:

            LordCrash, no reason to stick with Windows 7 for gaming you say? Well then, hope you don’t like some of those older games that don’t work on Win 8 (and most likely not 10). Also, what reason do I have to upgrade? DX12? Hell, most games are still sticking with DX9 and 10, and while DX12 will (theoretically) grant you more bells and whistles, it certainly won’t be a requirement. I have no reason to shell out cash for every new OS Microsoft shovels out because Windows 7 is working fine and I have zero problems with it. Faster Win 8 speeds? Just install Win 7 on an SSD and call it a day. Unless you really care about those potential milliseconds of savings. I’ve never cared about boot times anyway. Go take a piss or grab a drink.

          • Contrafibularity says:

            @LordCrash Windows 7 is not out-of-support and it’s not “generations behind” (as far as I and most gamers are concerned it is the “current generation” of Windows OS). You are either a shameless MS shill spreading FUD (fun fact: the term FUD was actually coined to refer to Microsoft spreading false information about their and others’ software) or you have no idea the percentage of people who use Win7 expressly over Win8. Windows 8 was specifically designed for tablets and only after significant uproar among desktop/laptop users did MS give users the options to basically turn it back into Windows 7. I’m sure it’s nice to use once you turn it into Windows 7, but there’s absolutely no point in pretending that it is normal to charge users 150€ for what is basically a UI update and built-in app store that nobody (on desktop/laptop) wants in the first place. If Microsoft want to sell Win10 then they should put in the work, make it even more decent than Win7 for gaming (and other applications) and secure against malware. FUD like you’re using may shift a few units, but at the significant cost of turning happy customers into suspicious customers.

            Windows 8 does not outperform Windows 7 in games, purported differences (both slower and faster) are so minute as to be insignificant. See the benchmarks and conclusion here link to tomshardware.com who say it performs the same and any differences are “idiosyncrasies”.

            Please, just stop spreading misinformation. You’re not fooling anyone.

          • Asurmen says:

            Scuba, that’s a bit of a poor argument. Software can’t be maintained forever. So you’re never going to upgrade to a new OS because some games may or may not run natively? You’ve got to at some point.

            Also, sorry, but you’re wrong. Most if not all AAA gaming releases with DX modes from 9 to 11. 11 is pretty much standard these days. We’ve had DX11 for over 5 years now, most people are on a DX11 OS, most people have a DX11 card.

            The fragment argument doesn’t stand up either as most recent cards are forwards compatible with DX12. Depending on how they monetise Win 10 AND the quality is there, I don’t really see any fragmentation occurring seeing as upgrading potentially becomes a no brainer from Win 7 for the majority.

          • malkav11 says:

            There’s precious little advantage to Windows 8.1 that I can tell and there are things it does notably worse than 7. For example, some things that were taskbar notifications under 7 just….don’t notify me, far as I can tell, under 8.1. Like Windows Update. I know that Microsoft would like me to just let them install whatever the hell they want whenever the hell they want to, but, well, no. No, they don’t get to do that. But I do want to know when they have new updates so that I can make an informed decision about when and whether to install them. Under 7, I got a taskbar notification when that happened. Under 8.1….it tells me when I’m logging into Windows, and only then. Which I do as rarely as humanly possible. Also, their security software won’t autoupdate for some reason, which it did under 7. (Maybe it’s been blanketed under Windows Update’s setting, but it seems separate and -that- I would like to just update itself, thanks.) And my wireless headset used to have a taskbar notification. Not under Windows 8.1!

            Etc. But hey, at least its Task Manager is more informative and has more options. I’d rather not need it, since I only break it out when something isn’t working right, but…oh well.

          • ludde says:

            Ooh, traditional start menu you say? We really have to get it then, great reason! Not like we have that in Windows 7 already.

          • aepervius says:

            ” But hey, at least its Task Manager is more informative and has more options.” And yet still IIRC it does not show the hierarchy of process among other things. That’s why some of us haven’t been using the TM for years : we all switched long ago to ProcessExplorer.

        • Contrafibularity says:

          …wot. Do u even Windows?

    • Oakreef says:

      One good thing did come out of their last big PC push: Xinput has given standardized controller support (and standardized button prompts!) for PC games and has overall made using a gamepad on PC a much more smooth experience.

      • hemmer says:

        Unless your gamepad doesn’t support xinput. I can’t speak to the general public, but I’ve had to emulate every controller I have so it would be recognised as an xbox controller, otherwise they simply wouldn’t work right. I have tons of older pads that worked just fine until xinput came along.
        I know I’m probably not in the majority with this, but I’ve just had so much problems with the thing despite it not improving functionality in any way, it annoys the hell out of me.

        • Cockie says:

          You’re not alone. “Replacing” Directinput (which works with every controller and joystick) with xinput (which only works with things outfitting as xbox controllers) is very bad imho and prevents me from using my joystick in the Rodina demo, to give an example.

          • jezcentral says:

            Oakreef food have a point, though. Part of the GFW (note the lack of an L at the end) initiative was to standardise support for gamepad controllers in Windows games, which is why some big RTSs didn’t have the branding in the early days before Microsoft gave those games a special dispensation. That was one of the early wins, that gave us hope that Microsoft was being serious about PC gaming.

            And then GFWL happened.

        • benkc says:

          Yeah, I’ve had exactly the same problem. I have controllers I like already, and I could use them just fine up until this crap forcing xbox controllers down our throats came along.

    • Geebs says:

      The only real way to game on a Mac is to run Windows, unless you really like your games to be “more cinematic”

      • Lanfranc says:

        I’m playing Crusader Kings 2 on Mac OS right now. It doesn’t seem noticeably more “cinematic” than on Windows.

        • Geebs says:

          Admittedly, I’ve been playing Quake 2 and that runs pretty well.

          It says a lot, though, that I even held off buying one of the more recent versions of Civilisation because I figured if would run terribly under MacOS (and I’ve been gaming on a Mac since before the PowerPC era)

          • Slazer says:

            I’m running Civ5 on a 2011 MacPro with IntelHD4 perfectly fine without any issues, except that the mod support is tricky in the port. XKOM, Telltale stuff and Source games and many others run fine too, most new games even have native support. If you have a 15inch model with a better GPU, you should also be able to run shooters easily.

            We are not in the PowerPC era, so maybe you should notice that time has changed

      • Hmm-Hmm. says:

        That’s nonsense. Sure, there are plenty of games which don’t get a Mac version, but there are enough good games that do. So much so that I rarely boot to windows..but it depends on what I want to play, of course.

  3. subedii says:

    Haven’t we been here before MS?

    Many… many times?

    link to neogaf.com

  4. oceanclub says:

    The problem is, I fear they are approaching this solely with the question “How do we sell more copies of Windows 10” rather than “How can we improve users’ gaming experience on Windows?” Hence they will do a modern version of releasing one out of a series of their games (like Halo 2) but making only work on a certain version of Windows and then limiting its distribution. Of course, this crippled them in the long run; very few people rushed out to buy Vista based on Halo 2 running on it and not allowing it to be sold on Steam, etc, means they’ve lost out on years of revenue from it.

    P.

    • mattevansc3 says:

      Isn’t that the same regardless of company? Even then both go hand in hand. Win8 didn’t sell that well, the lack of a start menu was cited as one of the big reasons so Microsoft reintroduced it in Win10. Valve wants more and more people using Steam so it introduced Steamworks, Big Picture Mode, in home streaming, etc. The XboxOne fell behind the PS4 in sales so Microsoft have been pushing out update after update and is now ahead of the PS4 in features. Apple wants to keep gamers on the iPhone so introduced its own “near metal” API to make games look better on that platform. Google needs users on Android and one of its major complaints is version fragmentation so Google now makes Android stealth update.

      Let’s also be honest here, if Microsoft really wanted to go down that route they would have made the next Office exclusive to Win10 but they haven’t, its now on pretty much every platform other than Linux.

      • gruia says:

        office is dead. hail ODT

      • Premium User Badge

        Wisq says:

        It’s the same regardless of company, yes, but it’s around a different pivot point.

        For example, Steam. Their goal is to get more people using Steam. How do they do that? Add more features. Add more platforms. Run sales. All of these are things that benefit the customer; they have no reason nor leverage to do things that harm the customer (or at least, to do them very often). They also maintain a single version of the (free) platform, and continue to provide updates to all customers, so they have no reason to e.g. cripple Steam 1 and force people to switch to Steam 2.

        Windows, by comparison, has always operated from a perspective of lock-in, and the business model of customers paying for specific Windows versions. Sometimes they do indeed do things that help customers, but most of the time they just do things that eliminate their other options and try to force them to upgrade (or return from Mac/Linux).

        The same motivation can mean very different actual outcomes, depending on your business model.

        • LordCrash says:

          You can barely compare an OS to a normal piece of software…

          • Emeraude says:

            Of course you can.

            It’s funny how that unsubstantiated peremptory comment thing works both side, isn’t it ?

          • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

            True, but it does give an answer to mattevan. It’s essentially the difference between a company doing something you dislike, and your country doing it. You can easily stop supporting a company, but leaving your country is considerably harder.

          • Emeraude says:

            I don’t really agree with the analogy – Windows is closed by design, it’s not because it’s an OS that you can’t leave it, it’s because it a closed OS that used a willful strategy of as much as possible co-opting software makers and keeping customers captives.

            It’s that strategy, not the nature of what an OS is, that makes the situation what it is I’d say.

            Steam does almost a similar thing at a lower level of the software food-chain.

          • LordCrash says:

            Windows is not a shop. Microsoft earns money for selling Windows software so yes, of course they want people to upgrade. Steam sells games and not a software they’ve made themselves. The Steam software is of course always free and always upgraded. That’s the case because it’s just a mere selling and distribution tool to sell mainly 3rd party games. How should Microsoft do the same thing with Windows?

            Maybe now you see that you can barely compare Steam and Windows. It’s a completely different situations and MS are not the bad guys just because they want to sell new Windows version. That’s just normal business. Car manufacturers want to sell people new cars every few years and of course they don’t upgrade old cars with newest features for free. They are not a charity…

          • Emeraude says:

            @LordCrash

            You deviated from the original point to which I was answering: an OS *is* just another piece of software. I’d say by your own admission here.

            The Steam comparison was just a passing by comment, insignificant in the argument at hand.

          • Premium User Badge

            Tam-Lin says:

            An OS is just a piece of software, but it’s the piece of software that allows other pieces of software to talk to the hardware without having to do all sorts of hard things themselves. I’m not at all denying that Microsoft has done bad things, but I’m not entirely clear why them releasing an OS every few years and expecting people to pay money for it is one of them. Do they sometimes not port features back? Of course they don’t port a lot of features back, because they want to stay in business, and in order to do that, they need a revenue stream.

          • Premium User Badge

            Wisq says:

            You say that we can’t compare Steam and Windows, but I can easily compare Steam and OS X. Mac provides free updates, and an app store, and software is generally compatible with several previous versions of the OS.

            Now, yes, I’m aware that Mac sells hardware and the OS is just a tool to make that hardware work, so they’re willing to give it away. But that’s just the specifics of their business model. If they wanted, Microsoft could likely find an alternate business model that involves free updates — either major (a la OSX) or incremental (a la Steam) — and make money other ways, such as via an app store or by charging for certification/integration or etc.

            My point is not that Microsoft is somehow evil for trying to sell their next OS. My point is simply that even though each company’s goal is “how do we get more people using our software (and making us money)?”, Steam’s circumstances mean that they (generally) end up doing things that help their customers (and make more money as a result), whereas Microsoft’s circumstances mean that they (generally) end up doing things that give their customers fewer options and force them to fork over more money.

    • mattlambertson says:

      They terribly overestimate how badly even fanboys want to play their games. I’ve sunk thousands of hours into every entry in the Halo series (combined, not thousands each, I hope) but even I was never going to rush out and buy Vista for a probably-crappy port of Halo 2.

  5. Cochise779 says:

    As an Xbone owner, I can say the experience has improved significantly as a games device first and foremost since Phil Spencer took the helm. I know Microsoft has been here before, but after the PR disaster that was the Xbone launch I now can safely say I (confession time) own a game console and not some SmartTV-box that sometimes plays games.

    Maybe nothing will change. Maybe things will get worse. All I can say is from what I’ve seen Spencer do so far, I’ll listen.

    • Siannah says:

      Right. However, the XBox was and still is the given focal point for anything about Microsoft and gaming since years. The PC only for their OS and even that had shifted towards the phone / tablet market. From the last 5 times they claimed anything about PC and gaming we received…. their version of an app store.

      Seeing how they managed to screw up with the XBone, what would you expect for PC owners? At best: absolutely nothing. More likely: yet another screw-up.

    • Toupee says:

      I think the weird position that MS has found itself in as it focuses on gaming for the Xbox is that its influence on the PC market fades. Why are we even running Windows? Would we be, if it weren’t for proprietary things like DirectX? I can tell you I’d be running Linux in a heartbeat.

      But it doesn’t really have to be this way. Imagine this: what if Microsoft could offer the vast majority of Xbox One titles on PC?

      They’d make shit-tons thru licensing. They’d be able to gather user data. They’d sell Xbox controllers and maybe other accessories (hell, I recently bought an Xbox One controller for my PC, and it’s great). They’d sell games thru the Xbox marketplace – think a clone of Steam. So what if people decide to use their own PCs instead of the Xbox One (which is basically a PC, anyway)? Right now I’m still interested in adding a Steam machine to my living room someday, but what if I was already knee-deep in the Xbox ecosystem on my PC? I’d consider extending that with an Xbox One. There’s so many reasons to do this. (And I’m not expecting them to do this, mind you…)

      I’m not saying I want to see games that are offered on Steam now disappear and only show up on the Xbox store, but if I was Microsoft that’s exactly what I’d be doing.

  6. LordCrash says:

    Well, it’s already more or less confirmed that with Windows 10 at least some Windows apps will run on Xbox One as well. So the cross-platform. connectivity is not that much of a dream anymore.

    A strong, self-confident and visionary Microsoft would just unite Xbox and PC gaming on Windows, giving each platform the possiblity to play the games of the other one. Also a strong, self-confident Microsoft would also publish new games for both platforms, maybe even allowing cross platform play.

    Everything is possible, it all depends on what MS is willing to do…

    • subedii says:

      On the whole MS has always been startlingly able to resist such an approach and simply push on with the ‘marketing’ led ideas that always cause them to make these decisions.

      I’ll be candid, MS has always had a clear conflict of interest between the XBox and the PC when it comes to gaming. And in every decision they’ve ever made, it’s always been the PC games market that lost out.

      Pick your poison.

      – Forcing DX10 as a Vista exclusive (which basically killed it until Windows 7 came out).

      -GFWL and all its baggage (really its own separate list of bad bad issues).

      -Forcing a paid certification process on patches because that’s what happens XBox-side (was so bad that Relic literally re-wrote their multiplayer back end, breaking compatibility, to port Dawn of War 2 to Steamworks. That was the best possible option left for them).

      -Refusing to listen to even the most sensible community requests (external client? A decent patching system? Nope).

      -Eventually killing it off _without_ a viable means service alteration enabling what games that used it to run without it (that’s left to the publishers, most of which didn’t bother with old games).

      – Repeatedly paying for platform exclusivity (timed or permanent) for the XBox to the extent of excluding the PC even though those are _BOTH_ Microsoft platforms (Alan Wake is a good example, particularly since it was a leading cry for “PC gaming is dying” to be splashed across forums and websites again.)

      – Killing off all their PC focused games developers (even the profitable ones like Flight Team) to re-direct funds for more XBox development.

      – Refusing to port what licenses they DIRECTLY own in order to maintain the XBox’s ‘killer exclusives’.

      – On the rare occasion that they DO port a title, unnecessarily force it to be exclusive to an OS it doesn’t need to in a misguided attempt to force upgrades (Halo 2, Skulls of the Shogun)…

      – … And once they predictably fail to sell, basically kill off the idea of any further ports because they’re ‘not profitble’ (Halo series).

      – Killing off cross-platform play (perhaps their ONE killer feature over Steam) because it might make the XBox look bad in various ways.

      I could go on

      Frankly, that conflict of interest hasn’t changed, and neither do I see that their marketing-department led PC games strategy has either. I say marketing department led because to MS, PC games aren’t a business, they’re a marketing tool to sell OTHER products, and it shows in how things have panned out over the past 7 years.

      • mattevansc3 says:

        There’ll always be a conflict of interest because you aren’t looking at the situation properly. Microsoft makes money off of every game sold on the XboxOne. They only make money on PC games they publish and games sold via their app store. Microsoft is not making money from Ryse being ported to the PC, only Crytek and Valve are.

        Why would Microsoft enable cross platform play when they would make no money from the PC version and the PC version may even take sales away from the Xbox where they make money?

        Why would Microsoft pay for exclusivity for a game then release it on a platform where they will receive none of the profits and would likely cannibalise the sales of the platform they do make money on?

        • LordCrash says:

          Well, 3rd party exlusives are bollocks anyway and 1st party exlusives are the one published (and made) by Microsoft themselves so I don’t see any issues here why they shouldn’t allow cross platform play and cross exclusivity at least.

          And let’s be honest, people don’t buy consoles for few exclusives anymore, at least not the biggest part of the democracy. Consumers (not the core-gamers) buy consoles because they like plug-and-play gaming without having to mess around with PC hardware and software. I don’t think the “platform seller games” argument is that strong, especially not compared to PC. Or course people have to decide whether to buy an Xbox or a PS4 but that’s just a decision between consoles and not a decision for or against PC. PC gaming is still more or less either for quite tech-savy core gamers or complete casual gamers who play Farmville on business notebooks.

          If you ask me it wouldn’t cannibalism much of the Xbox market if Microsoft stengthened the PC games market, especially not if they come up with 1st party games (which could still be console exclusive) or even another attempt for a well done Steam competitor. I don’t see why MS shouldn’t be able to establish an own digital PC shop on a competitive level to Steam. That doesn’t mean that PC gamers have to worry. Even the GOG Galaxy client will allow cross playing with Steam for example. I would rather have a new GFWL (in a well done fashion competetive to Steam) than the status quo with MS not really caring about PC gaming and treating Xbox and PC like two different things completely while both are used for the same games by at least core gamers…

          • mattevansc3 says:

            Sadly you are in the minority regarding a Steam competitor. There’s numerous gamers who hate Origin just because its not Steam. When GOG announced they were doing their own platform people were bitching they didn’t want another launcher. Just look at some of the comments in this thread, people are stating they’ll only take Microsoft’s claims seriously if they release their PC games on Steam.

            Microsoft could release the best thing since sliced bread and PC gamers would still complain just because it wasn’t Steam.

          • LordCrash says:

            Yes, but some people just hate Origin and Uplay because it’s not even closely as good as Steam. That’s why I said that they have to come up with a competitive client. A client that offers the same or similar featuers that Steam offers and without being more restrictive. Quality sells and it’s obvious that Steam is way more consumer-friendly and feature-rich than its current competitors. People would get used to other clients rather quickly – if they had good reasons…

            That’s the only way imo for Microsoft to get their foot back into PC gaming on a serious level. That and 1st party games of course.

          • pepperfez says:

            I can, in my more optimistic moods, see GoG Galaxy competing with Steam if it lets developers distribute updates easily. Of course, some of the features people love about Steam (achievements, a central launcher, integration with a store) are what I hate in it, so I don’t really have my finger on the gamer pulse.

        • subedii says:

          Why would Microsoft enable cross platform play when they would make no money from the PC version and the PC version may even take sales away from the Xbox where they make money?

          Why would Microsoft pay for exclusivity for a game then release it on a platform where they will receive none of the profits and would likely cannibalise the sales of the platform they do make money on?

          You see, you say I see a conflict of interest because “you aren’t looking at the situation properly.”

          But then the following two paragraphs define exactly the kind of conflict of interest that’s lead to this situation?

          And that’s leaving aside all the daft business decisions they were making when they ostensibly were trying to be competitive in the PC games market with GFWL. If MS had tried, really tried to mold GFWL with the same attention and investment that XBL had received, then it likely would have survived and been profitable.

          As profitable as XBox sales? Who knows. But here’s the thing: The fact that Valve make 90%+ pure profit on any game they release on Steam didn’t stop them from releasing games on XBox. Largely because they didn’t view it as cannibalising sales, but as opening up another market.

          • jezcentral says:

            Yeah, I don’t think you and Matte actually disagree here. :)

  7. Oakreef says:

    I’m actually quite looking forward to Windows 10. I use 8 right now and quite like it with the only big issue on the UI still there for me being Metro apps interaction with the Aero desktop is still really weird (having two totally different environments was a bit daft from the getgo) and in Windows 10 they finally behave like, well, windows.

    Also it sounds like the command prompt might not be quite as horrifically painful to use anymore.

  8. Megazell says:

    Not interested. Moved on to Linux with Linux Mint 13/14 and it’s been great. Yep – Lots of titles not support natively but those that are run like water even on entry level rigs.

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      And the list of AAA titles is getting longer too thanks to folks like Aspyr and Feral.

    • SuperUnheardOf says:

      Same here, gaming on a 5 year old iMac. While not everything I would like to play supports OSX, there are sufficient to fill my free time, and I don’t feel like I’m missing out. The best outcome for me would be be MS doing something inane with DX to fragment the market and more developers focussing on OpenGL etc.

      • Megazell says:

        I a few old rigs and it’s surprise how much they run better on Linux Mint and Lubuntu. Games like L4D 2, Serious Sam 3 and Nuclear Dawn just FLY meanwhile on Windows XP or 7 – I had issues to deal with here or there to get them to run just right.

    • yabonn says:

      Packed my things an went all Linux after being kicked out of XP. At the end of the day, the Windows tax was just silly. For now, I can play stuff like Civ5, Borderlands and I hear Bioshock Infinite is coming soon, and things in the graphical stack seem to be moving fast (praise Gaben, maybe?). So :

      Soon.

  9. Turkey says:

    If they want PC gamers back on their side they need to kick start the middle-sized budget games market that they helped destroy when they decided to focus only on the x-box. Gather a bunch of developers who want to make the kind of PC games that PC gamers have been clamoring for since the mid-2000s and give them the means to do it.

    • LordCrash says:

      Actually we consumers/gamers destroyed the mid-level AA market on pretty much every platform. The demand of gamers and the broken review system to be precise…

      That’s what we cherish and demand: AAA games and indies, and we even tend to treat them like two different things altogether…

      • pepperfez says:

        My impression is that it’s been a function of publishers aiming at the huge profits of a COD or AssCreed rather than the modest, but less risky, profits of smaller titles and the mechanisms of the industry becoming tuned to that sort of production.

      • Emeraude says:

        I don’t think consumers did. Publishers and hardware makers did. They’re the one that force-fed the HD* hardware down people’s throat willing or not. *And once you’ve forced people to upgrade for that thing they didn’t really care about, they’re going to demand results, understandably.

        And big publishers willfully used the explosion in budget to get rid of the competition. Companies that couldn’t keep up with the arm race just stopped being an issue. Then, of course there’s the issue of the block-buster model adoption, which ties into the whole mess.

        It’s not that suddenly people weren’t interested in those middle-size B-games (as Kickstarter somewhat proved), it’s that publishers weren’t interested in the niche markets – not enough money, not sexy to their eyes.

        *: I find the vast majority of the market cared about HD about as much as they cared about SACD – or FLAC – not at all. Simply they didn’t have an alternative on the market, it’s all they were being offered, so they had to take it.

        • LordCrash says:

          Publishers just fulfil a demand. The demand of us customers. We have to ask ourselves why CoD, Destiny, AC and Dragon Age are the best selling games. We have to ask ourselves why so many people want to play these games. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with playing AAA. But if customers buy way more of these games than smaller games nobody wants to make them sooner or later. That’s how capitalism works. Risk aversion and the demand satisfaction.

          • Emeraude says:

            Yes, but then when they’re willfully NOT fulfilling demands because they prefer to put all eggs in one block-buster basket, ignoring that the middle market sustain the bigger ones in the long run, all that because they just would rather follow th short-sighted plan of hitting the bigger jack pot, they have no one to blame but themselves.

            There is, there as always been demands for all those B-games – hell why do you think developers massively migrated to hand-helds in Japan ? Was a way to continue producing those niche games while still keeping the producing costs in check (hence why the PSP and the Vita, when you look down to it are not really portable consoles, but cheaper, transportable home consoles in daily use).
            But publishers *went* for the blockbuster model. No one forced them to do that. Not demand. There was and is demand for other things than blockbuster games.

            Publishers just aren’t interested in fulfilling them.

          • aepervius says:

            And yes lordcrash many of the inidie A or B offer have been better and as sucessful as some of the AAA offer.

  10. Cvnk says:

    I wasn’t aware Windows gaming needed help. I have access to more good games than I know what to do with. Honestly this just sounds like Microsoft saying they don’t like Steam getting all the attention.

    • subedii says:

      The view is likely that If Valve hadn’t developed Steam, GFWL would be “the” platform today.

      That’s an alternate history I’m not keen on contemplating.

    • nu1mlock says:

      Either way, I would love to be able to play (all) Gears of War on PC in co-op and… probably a couple of other games that I’ve forgotten even existing due to Xbox 360 exclusivity. But that, yeah.

    • LordCrash says:

      There is still the issue with the huge Windows/DX overhead.

  11. Moraven says:

  12. bluebogle says:

    Is the proper response to this terror?

    • Shadowcat says:

      The proper response is to not waste your own time reading the article, because we all recognise the pattern of periodic lies from M$ by now, and so to actually pay any attention to them would merely insult our own intelligence.

  13. Loyal_Viggo says:

    Those goons need to release all the Halo series on PC. With robust coop campaign this would make a fortune.

    That is the only way I’d ever believe they are serious, if they released that.

    • SuicideKing says:

      Yup, same. I can’t understand them, so many of us have telling them that we’d throw money at the screen if they released all Halo games for the PC, but they don’t want it. It’s crazy.

  14. zarniwoop says:

    I’d like add my voice to those asking Microsoft to leave PC gaming the fuck alone. By all means ensure continuing compatibility, but otherwise just stay out of it. GFWL still gives me nightmares.

    That said, I have the Windows 10 preview running on my desktop, and it’s pretty good. Definite improvement over Windows 7/8.

    • zarniwoop says:

      Oh and they should make Crimson Skies 3 for PC.

      • All is Well says:

        There was a Crimson Skies 2? I have entirely missed this. And while you might certainly be aware of it, you could always check out BOMB (it’s on Early Access right now). Seems to be very much a Crimson Skies successor, and Tim Stone seemed to like it.

    • DrollRemark says:

      Yeah, 10 is really nice, I must get around to reinstalling it at some point.

  15. Shooop says:

    What he’ll say:

    “We really want you to just buy an Xbox instead because we want to focus on the PC as just an office tool.”

  16. Perkelnik says:

    Now, when we are doing juuuuuuuuuust fine, MS has to come and shit on our parade…

  17. jalf says:

    Oh, it’s that time of year again?

    It would be pretty cool if, instead of talking about how it is time to talk about games on Windows, they actually talked about games on Windows.

  18. Tom Servo says:

    I think it would actually make a lot of sense for MS to include XBone compatibility/functionality in windows 10. Sales of Windows 10 would go up because people would basically be getting a free XBone with it. If people could buy retail XBone games in stores, their licensing money would go up as well. I can’t see this happening though because it would have made no sense for Microsoft to shut down GFWL in this case.

  19. tumbleworld says:

    God, that desktop screen looks horrible. *shudder*. Makes me scared when they say it’s time to talk about PC gaming, they’re talking about destroying it.

    • LordCrash says:

      Maybe you should inform yourself better before making such statements. The metro design stuff in the start menu of Win10 will be completely optional and flexible and adjustable. Complaining without having solid information seems a bit laughable….

      • sicbanana says:

        oi! it’s getting a bit thick i’d say… aren’t you working for microsoft? this white-knightery is too damn high.

    • Misnomer says:

      I am typing this on a Windows 10 Tech Preview machine and I love it. Going back to my Windows 8.1 desktop makes me sad because I can’t customize all my app windows and the start menu redesign is so much more intuitive than the charms system. I still like Windows 8.1 more than Windows 7 but Windows 10 desktop is a thing of beauty as it currently exists.

      Don’t let the Linux love of RPS get you down. Similarly, Windows phone 8.1 has an interface most users love and great hardware to go with it. The problem is that the development environment is just not there (something users can’t see other than the lack of Third Party Apps). So, my concern isn’t some ephemeral feeling about Microsoft so much as wondering if they will finally get back to focusing on a great development environment to make sure developers are able to take fully advantage of the OS.

      • Premium User Badge

        Don Reba says:

        I skipped Windows 8, but have been using Win10 for over a month now as my main and only OS. Microsoft finally did its homework and made 10 as good as or better than 7 in every way.

  20. Tuor says:

    When it comes to PC gaming, Microsoft can go DIAF. I have nothing but the utmost contempt for them when it comes to their previous actions on PC gaming, and would like nothing more than for them to avoid it entirely in the future.

    As for Direct X: the X-Box uses Direct X, and once Microsoft started making their own console, they tended to only update Direct X when a new console was released (feel free to go look at the Direct X entry on Wikipedia and examine the rate of major updates over the years; the correlation is obvious).

    Microsoft has been actively sabotaging the PC gaming industry for years now. Them saying they will return to “help” it should be met with trepidation at the very least, and should not be encouraged in any way. It’ll only be a matter of time before they once again look for some new way to drive (or force) people to use their closed system console. I want no part of it.

  21. Freud says:

    Baby, I’ll never treat you bad again if you just come back.

  22. Psymon says:

    The right time to talking about gaming on PC was back when Microsoft tried to cripple it with a pincer attack of DX10 vista only, and the xbox 360.
    What was that, 10 years ago?

  23. vorador says:

    The thing they should do is to add the Xbox One kernel to Windows 10 so you could play Xbox games on PC.

    A man can dream, can i?

    But more seriously, i would be satisfied with their first party devs developing again for PC. But no Live for Windows shenanigans pretty please with sugar on top.

    • LordCrash says:

      It will be most likely the other way round. XboxOne will the the Win10 kernel (or at least a modified version) and you will be able to play PC games and apps on XboxOne. That’s actually already confirmed for Win10 apps.

    • SuicideKing says:

      What? NO. Other way around please! Actually, none of this is even needed, both run on x86, tools should already be available to compile to both Xbone and PC.

  24. CookPassBabtridge says:

    I seriously think that some gamers all have daddy issues. We keep coming back to the same authority figure, thinking THIS TIME IT WILL BE DIFFERENT, then passive aggressively complaining when yet again they do whatever the hell they like. Doesn’t anyone else get the same sense of complete apathy and ennui whenever anything to do with Microsoft comes up? I feel like I just ate plastic.

  25. int says:

    If they make a new Outwars for PC I shall love Microsoft for at least two dozen fortnights, platonically of course.

  26. bad guy says:

    Actions speak louder than words.

    PS
    Minecraft

  27. Kamos says:

    Good, I’m not the only one who immediately thinks “NO” when Microsoft wants to talk about PC gaming.

    The only reason MS has to talk about PC gaming is that it is finally free and thriving, and MS can’t have that. Games that can be played across different operating systems? No obnoxious rules to put developers on a treadmill? That’s not good for business.

  28. Charles de Goal says:

    It’s time to start gaming on Linux!

  29. kud13 says:

    The best thing M$0ft has done for PC gaming in the past 5 years is kill off GaFWL. And get as far away as possible from PC gaming.

    Now it`s coming back….. i`m scared.

  30. SuicideKing says:

    Well, they keep saying this and not doing much. To be fair they’ve released their older games on Steam so maybe there’s something good on the cards this time.

    But honestly, I’ll only believe them if they release the Master Chief Collection on Steam with full Steamworks integration and official dedicated servers. That’s basically pre-order material, right there.

  31. RobF says:

    My money is still on them extending the Windows Store to be a unified Windows/Xbox store. They want a way to fulfill their promise that “every Xbox One can be developed for” and the Windows store as is, thankfully, is a conweb ridden piece of shit.

    I imagine that this’ll still mean we get keep PC-native titles and XB1 gets to keep its native titles too. Hopefully if they are going to go this route they’ll manage it by learning their lessons from where XBLIG went wrong but I’m not convinced.

    We know they’re intent on unifying their platforms and the three screens plan has wavered over the past few years but never really gone away, we know Win10 is purported to be a solution to bringing them all closer together and running variations on the same OS. We also know that despite a good Call Of Duty week or so, the XB1 is falling hard on its arse against the PS4 and with little they can currently offer to close that gap short of buying up exclusives left, right and centre which might have worked last gen but kinda awkward now. See the response to Tomb Raider there. MS likely thought they’d cracked it and well, that didn’t go to plan.

    Which means I can’t see any other sensible way out of this.

    I’ve perhaps a lack of imagination here though or just finding a comfy option that won’t shit everything up again which I worry is putting more faith in Microsoft as a company than they deserve in recent years.

  32. Zhiroc says:

    Frankly, if all they want to talk about is how to make gaming better on Win10, I’m not interested. I’m on Win7, and will be until I retire this system. Upgrading is way too much of a hassle, and I like Win7. I hate the L&F of Win8,and Win10 will probably be more of the same.

  33. Hedgeclipper says:

    To ensure the high quality PC gamers expect only games purchased through the Windows store will be able to use DX12 features.

    To make sure PC gamers get the high quality cinematic experience they expect all cross-platform games will be caped at 5FPS lower than the XBone version.

    To help PC gamers enjoy their passion on their Windows Phone all game resolutions will be limited to official Windows phone sizes.

    To help manage the cluttered desks of typical PC users all game control will be through advanced touch interface.

    To show MS’s commitment to PC gaming MS has partnered with EA and UBIsoft to introduce the Enhanced Happiness Feedback system – this revolutionary device sees a pair of wires attached to the gamer that deliver a pleasant 204V current when the system detects (or suspects) piracy, when the gamer is insufficiently engaged completing every map objective in an open world game, or when the internet connection is not available.

  34. bill says:

    NO IT’S NOT!

    I don’t want Microsoft to talk about PC gaming. I don’t want them to think about PC gaming. I don’t want them anywhere near it.
    PC Gaming is doing fine without microsoft, and anything they do will be aimed at getting control of it as a platform and as a store.

    We have all been remarkably lucky so far that GFWL and the Windows Store have been so crap.

  35. LuNatic says:

    From the company that destroyed FASA and Ensemble Studios…

  36. LionsPhil says:

    What do want to hear Microsoft say about PC gaming anyway?

    Nothing. All games need from an OS is good “backend” stuff to build on like driver support, prefetching, scheduling and such, and Windows is already the most mature desktop OS in those areas.

    What I want them to do is stop buggering up the platform in other areas, like the UI, before they scuttle themselves so badly that “the year of Linux on the desktop” finally happens and computing takes another huge leap backward into the ’70s.

    If Linux “wins”, I want it to be because it got better, not because Windows got worse.

  37. montorsi says:

    A pity the Windows store is trapped in that other interface that lurks below the surface like some kind of ocean predator. I haven’t even dipped my toe in the water. Hopefully Windows 10 takes us further inland.

  38. a_console_pheasant says:

    The Microsoft astroturfing in this comments section is unreal.

  39. Nigersaurus says:

    Half-life 3 confirmed. What about an announcement for Halo 3 on PC ?