Game Stash: Microsoft’s Missed Opportunity

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Just posting to say how much I dig the "primordial DOS soup" expression :D

ahpuch:
Additionally, there is a risk of conflict between games that MS makes vs other companies. Microsoft would rather you bought their game instead the one from BioWare or Valve. I accept that this is the same model that is applied to consoles but it is a model I do not care for. The controls that Console makers put on content on their consoles is one reason I don't own a console. If PC gaming was ever subject to the same content restrictions, that would really be the death of PC gaming. Is it happening now, no. Is it a risk, unlikely. But all the same, it is simply an issue I prefer to avoid.

Big difference there is that the PC is an open platform and MS has a lot of people watching them, ready to jump on their nuts at the first sniff of them using their OS dominance to restrict trade on the platform. Console manufacturers get away with what they do because consoles are closed platforms and they own the whole show.

Microsoft would not be stupid enough to give companies like EA and Acti/Blizz such an excellent openning to sue the living christ out of them.

LoganN:
PC to PC multiplayer has always been free. Only the PC to 360 multiplayer was charged for. People got involved, and the misconception spread.

What I said was:

Microsoft realized that they weren't going to succeed in getting PC gamers to pay for the kind of network gaming features that they'd been used to getting for free for years

Gold Membership Features
All Silver membership features
Multiplayer matchmaking with friends
TrueSkill matchmaking
Multiplayer achievements
Cross-platform gameplay

Source: http://kotaku.com/244045/games-for-windows-+-live-gold-to-cost-50

So it wasn't just cross-platform play they were initially charging for. And the fact of the matter is that they didn't so much make that feature free as drop it like a hot potato... 'round bout the time they realized they couldn't charge for it.

Well, that and realized that mouse players were likely to eat 360-controller gamers for breakfast in First Person Shooters.

But they are... Microsoft is publish four games for the PC that we know about so far, probably more will be announced at Gamescom. They are making more games than everyone's go to guys at Valve.

Plus, the games they make are almost always top notch. Tell me you didn't have fun with Viva Pinata or Age of Empires.

That Valve itself hasn't made many new games, I'll grant you. But their download service has made thousands of games accessable, including scores from small independent publishers. The Source engine has been used in several others, including indie darling Zeno Clash. And their support for their existant titles has continued in earnest, which is more than can be said for, say, Shadowrun. Or Halo, come to that.

I don't think Microsoft is inherently and in every way evil. But as far as games and the games community goes, they're far from an effective benefactor and advocate.

First off: Is it the moustache that gives you your powers of adroit recognition?

Secondly: I am not 100% sure it is all Microsoft's fault. A lot sure, but part of it is the variable nature of PC hardware I think. Take my Rig, 6 GB ram, big old HDD, 2.6 ghz quadcore processor, and a decent videocard.

Take my closest friend who has a computer that is a BEAST. The take another of my closet friends and his computer basically struggles with much more than Internet Explorer, because he cannot afford to upgrade.

I know it is a bit of a cop out, but it is still a problem.

Blame Micro$oft - sure. They should be pilloried for the unadulterated CRAP they called VISTA, before we even bother with videogames.

AC10:

Hopeless Bastard:

Andronicus:

Hopeless Bastard:
Accessibility just makes people lazier.

I think of it more as "Laziness makes accessibility more lucrative."

The lazier people are, the more accessible things need to be, which makes people lazier.

The final form of accessibility as a business model is children's television with blood, tits, and shaky cam.

imgunagitusucka:
blah blah blah

I'm sorry, but you can't really make me feel guilty for having the capacity to learn new things.

You also apparently missed the significance of "17 years ago." computers have evolved from dumb machines in front of smart people to smart machines in front of dumb people. I got in pretty much at the tipping point, which just says to me, pretty much anyone shouldn't have any real trouble.

Not to mention, every time the "i just wanna put it in and play" bit comes up, I have to groan, because well, I've "installed" console games and ran PC games directly from a disc. Then when you have steam games removing even the "stick it in" step, the bit just loses all meaning.

I agree with Hopeless Bastard here. You simply do not need to know much about PC's or hardware now-a-days to play PC games. You, of course, need to know the basics of using the windows operating system, but by the sheer nature of being on here I assume pretty much everyone is capable of installing software to a desired folder (which a game is) and double clicking an icon.

Everything is hand held now. If Direct X is out of date, it will automatically update for you. If you're video drivers aren't up to snuff, I've seen lots of games warn you then provide you with a link to download the new ones. How do you install these drivers? Just run an executable wait about 1 minute for it to finish then continue on.

There is no longer mystical IRQ conflicts, a billion sound cards with proprietary transports so you have to know exactly what you're doing, there is no longer long and complicated Setup.bat files from the DOS days - all of that is gone. Things are as easy as they've ever been, and with so many games being console ports and the fantastic popularity of the UE3 engine, requirements for games are pretty low compared to the old "push the envelope" mentality on the PC.

this wasn't about whether PC games were hard to install or what not, Hopeless Bastard [at least his handle is apt] catergorically labeled console gamers lazy because....well I'm not sure why exactly, I guess because they're not PC gamers. He sees accessibility as a negative, evidently not realizing that profits gaming companies generate from the casual gaming market help pay for the development of games for AAA titles aimed at 'core' gamers. That is why I took exception to his post, unfortunatly he chose to omit or deface the posts that expose the flaws in his views. You need to see the full posts to make an informed judgement on his opinions, as he was too insecure to leave the quotes as they were posted.

I just don't see how people equate GFWL and Steam. Yes, in essence, they do fulfil the same basic requirements, but Steam does more, and in my opinion, does it a lot better. Steam is far from perfect, but it does have some good, solid features that I use on a regular basis. GFWL.... doesn't. To me GFWL feels like a DRM auth system with an online achievement system tacked on. Steam feels like a game-management interface, with some extra nifty features.

Other thing I don't get is people counting exclusives. Imo, I think PC is less prone to exclusives, due to PC players don't seem to care if a game is exclusive, and there isn't really extra money in going PC exclusive. If a game is exclusive to PC, the only reasons should be either the dev couldn't afford to go cross-platform or the game just isn't suited to consoles.
As for MS being a first-party dev - I don't think that's really needed. Just the incentives for devs to develop for Windows, by providing the tools - which is pretty much what they do.

People tend to use the pseudonym "Micro$oft" because they really couldn't care less about anything other than money.

Their hardon for the Xbox is obvious, their support for Windows/GFWL is almost non-existent. They slam controlling mechanisms in everywhere they go and then launch frivolous law-suits at people who infringe on their right to control everything ever.

Apple, at least, act evil. Micro$oft just act spoilt.

LoganN:
Age of Empires, Flight Sim

And to reward the developers that made these fine games, well they shut them down, but I'm sure MS still cares about us.

Microsoft is big.

When someone from MS says they're commited to Windows games, it's not MS saying it. It's a few people, some employees who very well may be struggling to actually get some games out.

But they're fighting the Xbox divisions, they're fighting other distributors who don't care about the PC anymore, they're fighting Steam, pirates, non-interest from users...

And either way. WHAT would they release anyway? Fable 3? THEY DO. Halo? Who the fuck would want to play Halo on the PC? The first game was nice on the PC, okay, but PC gamers aren't interested in too-short, dumbed down console shooters. Mafia II is coming for the PC only because it has a very strong PC heritage and even I, a huge fan of the original, am not buying the sequel because it's dumbed down so much.

The only thing which can save PC gaming are PC EXCLUSIVES. And not just indie stuff, but actual AAA games. But apart from Blizzard, noone will ever risk a PC exclusive ever again. And maybe not even Blizzard.

Seriously, MS isn't the one to blame for this.

pantsoffdanceoff:

LoganN:
Age of Empires, Flight Sim

And to reward the developers that made these fine games, well they shut them down, but I'm sure MS still cares about us.

Of course they were shut down. Noone would buy their games anymore. The market is on the consoles because people play on the consoles. Why is MS the bad guy in this? If people don't pay for the Simulator but instead get a console and a dozen of games for it, well, that is the market. An often idiotic market, but a market.

Sgt. Sykes:

pantsoffdanceoff:

LoganN:
Age of Empires, Flight Sim

And to reward the developers that made these fine games, well they shut them down, but I'm sure MS still cares about us.

Of course they were shut down. Noone would buy their games anymore. The market is on the consoles because people play on the consoles. Why is MS the bad guy in this? If people don't pay for the Simulator but instead get a console and a dozen of games for it, well, that is the market. An often idiotic market, but a market.

No I agree that MS is wise not to deal with us comp users, we're picky bastards. But the post above me argued that MS DOES still care about comp users, which you seem to agree with.

Sgt. Sykes:

pantsoffdanceoff:

LoganN:
Age of Empires, Flight Sim

And to reward the developers that made these fine games, well they shut them down, but I'm sure MS still cares about us.

Of course they were shut down. Noone would buy their games anymore. The market is on the consoles because people play on the consoles. Why is MS the bad guy in this? If people don't pay for the Simulator but instead get a console and a dozen of games for it, well, that is the market. An often idiotic market, but a market.

Believe it or not, the country was in a recession. They had to close down some studios to save money. They had to lay off employees for the first time in history.

Anyway, recently, there were job posting at Microsoft for those interested in making a flight sim game. They specifically refereed to it as Flight Sim LIVE. As for Age of Empires, it is one of the most iconic PC games ever. Most of the developers from Ensemble went to form a new studio called "Robot Entertainment". Microsoft and Robot are working on another project for the PC, and possibly the 360 as well. Plus, when Robot first started, Microsoft was the first ones to give them a job, that job was maintaining Halo Wars and Age of Empires 3.

MS is focusing on the Xbox 360 because it owns that platform. Although it provides the OS for the vast majority of PCs out there, it certainly can't control the gaming aspect as strongly as it can on the Xbox 360. Closed platforms have their risks, but the past few console generations appear to have been exceedingly good at generating revenue (maybe not profit, but MS doesn't need profit at this point, since it receives huges amounts of money from other sources and investing in the Xbox 360 now may see the Xbox 720 as a huge profit driver later).

The fact is that for PC gaming, MS gets paid through virtue of the OS. Now, if they ever need to work more on GFW, it's there, but they get money from Steamworks' output as sure as if it was their own.

Also, there is the prevailing view that PC gaming is pretty stagnant compared to consoles and that the future of PC gaming is MMOs and social gaming. If you believe that, why invest in PC gaming when better alternatives exist?

I have one question for Microsoft on this subject. Where is a new Crimson Skies game?

Either of the board, tabletop, pc, or 360 variety. And that stupid Clix or whatever game doesn't count.

That is all

Bumping this thread in light of Age of Empires Online and Microsoft Flight being officially announced. Both are coming exclusively to Games for Windows LIVE.

Thank you so much for writing this!

My frustration over the lack of coverage of exactly this topic has been intense and I am grateful to see someone address this so well. Seeing PC gaming completely blown off by Microsoft so they can plow everything in to the Xbox has been a slow motion train wreck and painful for those of us who love PC gaming.

The fact it is completely short sighted and unnecessary hasn't helped either.

And GFWL has been an abomination and an abject failure. I was tempted to get a water hose and flush it from my tower.

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