Microsoft admits it could have been more focused on PC gaming

Corporate VP Phil Spencer says, "We were probably too focused purely on console."

Microsoft has admitted coming up short in the PC gaming category of late. Speaking with GamesBeat, corporate vice president Phil Spencer laid out Microsoft's shortcomings.

"Valve is right down the street from us," Spencer said. "They've done a great job of keeping the PC ecosystem strong at a time where I don't mind saying that we could have been more focused on what was going on in PC gaming."

Spencer went on to say that Microsoft should have done more to match the ecosystem Valve created for PC gamers.

"We were probably too focused purely on console," Spencer said. "With Steam, [Valve has] done an amazing job of building this thing that, in a lot of ways, we should have been building as well at Microsoft."

Valve introduced Steam Family Sharing in September, making Steam the first major digital platform to allow users to share their libraries of PC games with friends and family. Microsoft had planned to be first out of the gate with its own Family Sharing plan for the Xbox One, but scrapped this plan in June when it reversed a number of its digital policies

Still, this plan is not gone forever. Senior Xbox director Albert Penello told GameSpot at PAX Prime that the Family Sharing plan will return.

Though Spencer spoke fondly of Valve and praised the efforts the company has made in the PC space, he said he believes Valve's push into the living room via Steam Machines won't be a walk in the park.

"This is where I think they're going to have to do quite a bit of work," Spencer said. "There is a difference between being a game developer, running a store, and being a platform company. "That's an evolutionary jump. They made the jump from building Half-Life to having a set of franchises to running Steam. They did a good job of learning through that. Now they're taking the next job to become a platform company--in some sense a hardware company, but in the truest sense more of an OS company. That's not an easy transition."

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

Discussion

296 comments
telaros
telaros

It's ok MS, no one was buying crap from your PC 'exclusives' much to call it a worthwhile investment for you anyways. You stood no chance against Steam or even Origin for that matter.

Scorpion1813
Scorpion1813

Someone needs to step up and be an "OS company" - Microsoft have completely dropped the ball on that area.

TitanPolaris
TitanPolaris

M$ by saying this confirms my suspicions I had all along, the Xbox is a replacement for the gaming PC. Well I hope SteamOS takes over for Windows OS and makes the gaming PC king once again and the Xbox One falter! 

KimCheeWarriorX
KimCheeWarriorX

yeah, the heck with pc gamers...oh wait, im also a pc gamer.

Ayato_Kamina_1
Ayato_Kamina_1

A lot of companies see what Valve have done with Steam and realise they filled a niche that they didn't think was even there. Many have tried replicating it, but Steam works because of how well it is aimed at the customer. A company like Microsoft, EA, Ubisoft etc, they wouldn't be able to because their first priority lies with maximising profits. I'm not saying Valve don't try to do this, but at the same time they try and ensure the customer gets value for money. 

Could Microsoft have done more for PC gaming? Definitely, but then they had other engagements to pursue. One of the reasons the PC gaming market was open for a company to swoop in and dominate.

starcrafthenry
starcrafthenry

Microsoft tried to treat the PC the same as the 360, but they're totally different animals. I never wanted the Xbox experience on my computer. If a game used GFWL, I tried to avoid it as much as I could. GFWL is defunct now, which sucks if you made purchases through that program.

Neo_OnionKnight
Neo_OnionKnight

PC needs Open World Solitaire or Minesweeper....Why is that MS? Because this idea makes as much sense as a company who's initial strength happens to be PC and now is sinking in its own poop...I mean do balls fall off? 

Years ago nobody would have question your PC power and now the only thing your "Internet Explorer" is exploring is the toilet flush function. Now you attend these daily group therapy sessions telling you what you should already know, maybe you just hire people to tell you "what a pretty princess you are"?...Well sleeping beauty time for a Charles Darwin SLAP!

Merseyak
Merseyak

the only thing microsoft have contributed to pc is the os and windows 8 is terrible especially when it comes to gaming the frame rate is just better across the board on win 7 compared to 8

Dannystaples14
Dannystaples14

I don't know. I do believe in this world people need to be more dedicated. I'm sick of massive companies trying to white wash everything under their massive empires.

Microsoft trying to be the best at selling hardware, software, games consoles. If were to just stick to what they want to do and what they are best at, everyone would be better off.

I mean Microsoft are probably better overall at their Windows and their PC hardware than they are at consoles. But by focusing so much on consoles they have made Windows 8 and it was shit and then they misjudged their own customers by basically offending every single one of us in some way when they released the Xbox One earlier this year. They are trying to do too much.

If they just stopped and focused more we would get a better Windows set up and the console scene could be allowed to flex more by allowing Nintendo and Sony to have more wiggle room. Might even get some more consoles appearing without them getting squashed under Microsoft's massive ogre feet.

Same with Sony really, they started off as an Entertainment Hardware type thing, which to this day I still think they are quite poor at, with their convoluted user interfaces and stupid proprietary hardware set ups. But they did make the PS1 and the PS2 which were like massive supporting blocks for my entire childhood.

The Xbox has been a great console since the original, but considering this is Microsoft who are selling it, the richest company on the planet, it has never been as good as it could have been.

wexorian
wexorian

Even sony online entertaiment "soe" releasing games for pc , only thing that PC gamers are connected to ms is Crappy windows

VIPERGTSR01
VIPERGTSR01

Could have....

 MS Flight simulator series...


Scumbags

LADIES_MAN_2013
LADIES_MAN_2013

The only game I wanted from Microsoft for the PC was Age of Empires 4. But that's clearly not happening so they can stick to their xbones.

Good thing they still make & update the Windows OS though, cause until we have a suitable alternative, we're gonna need their OS.

I hope Steam OS turns out a success.

tightwad34
tightwad34

They should just say we are focused on where the easier $$ is.

ewjiml
ewjiml

Microsoft I would prefer if you just focus on your console toys and games.  We are surviving just fine without you. 

pozium
pozium

I'm quite happy that MS is not focused on pc gaming. If it were up to them, we'd be paying PC subscriptions for going online, using internet explorer, etc

archav3n
archav3n

i'm lmao hard at M$ stupidity. they must have thought all steam 65M users are pirate. go back with your shitbox which i'm not buying.

arqe
arqe

Actually its not Microsoft's fault at all.And if they are to blame , Developers / Publishers are at least 10 times worse than them.

I mean what developer chooses "Only PC" for making games ? Serious ones only.

Why waste time optimisation your game for different hardware and try to make everything better in game ? Graphics , textures , physics etc.

Just make game for the fixed hardware and you are good for 7-8 years and easier to make sequels because console never evolves. Just copy paste what you already got and polish it.

Mr_BillGates
Mr_BillGates

I'm glad they didn't. I wouldn't want my games be plagued with pirates and hackers.

Tzardok
Tzardok

@Ayato_Kamina_1 A good sum up. As a customer I do believe Steam provides me with the greatest value. I have used Origin (hated it), their store layout, I got errors when trying to buy Dragon Age 2 and DA:O, both titles where present at the store, but when I went to checkout an error would occur. I tried it for a week. Support didn't come thru as they said the game wasn't released in my region anymore (seriously, it used to be but not anymore). So why the heck would they still list the product bundle there? Games for Windows is something to be avoided entirely, it messed with my gameplay experience to the point some games where unplayable until I manually went thru the forums and got a solution from other fellow gamers. Finally, last but not least, Ubisoft. I was one of the unfortunate souls to get the Heroes of Might and Magic 6, their DRM was so nasty that I had the original game, playing on official server but had to constantly save my game because I would lose entire hours of mission gameplay because my match would disconnect from the server, all this while a person I know, pirates his games (I hate that too) but ultimately had a better experience than me, he finished HoMM 6 and I didn't.

So, the bottom line is, Steam provided me with quality, stability, trust and provided the sense that I was not just another number on their company (even if I am, I don't get the feeling as I do in other places). They have innovated the most on the digital front and have something solid. Cheers!

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

@jimdove2 Lol that's cute, the Linux die-hard freshman CS kids are out in force lately. 

It really, really, really doesn't. I find it so hilarious that people who are so pro-Linux - who you would thus expect to know history and know a little bit what they're talking about - don't comprehend that the Windows userbase is over 2 billion people.

MS is not remotely concerned about Linux or the Steam Box.

SkyAboveThePort
SkyAboveThePort

@wexorian Valve on Linux..Windows won't be required for most titles in a couple of years. Networking is so much better even without a Killer NIC..

neowarrior121
neowarrior121

@pozium thats so true, the xbone is basically a force paywall service to use internet explorer. that is just dirty business in my eyes, the thing about the xbone is not just pay walls its actually how many non paywalls it has (which btw is like 3 offline gaming dvd's and music). its sad that people need to spend $50 a year just to do basic things as well as more for netflix lovefilm etc as they have their own subscriptions.   

arqe
arqe

@Mr_BillGates You dont play games on any platform then ? Why do you care ...

Fabian85
Fabian85

@Tzardok @Ayato_Kamina_1 Steam is the best!  Origin is such a disaster mine wont update itself like it should so i have to reinstall the program from time to time. Had so many issues playing battlefield 3 i could play for a few days for a few days not etc would own bf4 already if was on steam.

meatz666
meatz666

@Tzardok @meatz666 @Grenadeh @jimdove2 I know, I can't use just Linux in my PC without giving away gaming. But you do know that most of the servers of the websites you navigate are Linux, right? And the grave problem is: Linux is open-source. You don't have a "Linux installer". You Have RedHat, Ubuntu, etc. And their marketing budget doesn't even come to 1% of Microsoft's.

Tzardok
Tzardok

@meatz666 @Grenadeh @jimdove2 Grenadeh, I am no expert on Linux, but I know it can be a much lighter OS than Windows. Windows is so desperate to integrate tools and functions I don't use that it always felt so heavy. I don't need to load news, several broken security protocols, report uploads to Microsoft when all I use my computer for is gaming. News, I get on TV and/or news sites. I have an older PC which I use for internet transactions which does need added security of anti-virus and proper firewalls. But for my gaming experience? I would rather use a lighter open source program than Windows (there are things game developers can't do in Windows if it infringes some of their license agreements). While I did touch on security issues, Linux is actually safer than Windows because everyone can mess with it and it is harder to create mass-viruses/hacks for Linux because the coding can be different from user to user, where as established platforms such as Windows, which can't be altered at all by license agreement, once you break the security protocol you essentially broke it for all computers using that OS until a patch is released. My two cents, and again, no expert here anyone is welcome to  jump in and correct me if I made an inaccurate statement.

pongley
pongley

@meatz666 @pongley @starcrafthenry Of course you don't have any problems, you're sitting the same distance from your TV that everyone else sits from their normal monitors. That's not a living room environment.

meatz666
meatz666

@pongley @starcrafthenry I code in my 55 inch TV, from the sofa, with the keyboard and mouse in an improvised plank, that I put on my lap. I sit probably 2 meters from the TV. Don't have any problem reading text. You're just throwing terms like DirectX SDK, living room experience. Stop it.

pongley
pongley

@starcrafthenry @pongley They were still oversized. The point is that a normal desktop environment doesn't work in the living room simply because you can't have small text or images the way you often need to on your PC, developers can't rely on it being clearly visible at larger distances. SteamOS may force more games to be compatible with Linux generally but the OS itself won't replace Windows.

starcrafthenry
starcrafthenry

@pongley Did you never the see the previous two Xbox 360 dashboards? They weren't large blocky garbage. The only reason the 360 has it's current dashboard is to make it more kinect navigation friendly. I don't own a kinect, so I've been pretty disappointed ever since they forced the newest dashboard on me.

pongley
pongley

@SkyAboveThePort @pongley @wexorian Microsoft calls it the 10 foot experience. You can't run a regular desktop from 10 feet away, that's obviously dependent on a particular TV size, they have an equation for calculating it somewhere on their old DirectX SDK documentation. So the living room experience is very dependent on the OS. This is why the Xbox and PS3 use their large icon dashboard UIs.

DevilDog982
DevilDog982

@Bellum_Sacrum @daemonproject @arqe @Mr_BillGates Thats quite an ignorent comment with anonymous shutting down PS3 servers and halting all online gaming for an extended period of time... something that didnt happen to any other console, but yea least hacked popular console so far... (bullshit)