Microsoft says it’s putting “real investment and big IPs” into the Windows platform in order to provide leadership to the rest of the PC gaming industry.
Say “Games for Windows” to most experienced gamers and you’ll probably be given the sort of look usually reserved for the discovery of something particularly repulsive on the bottom of a shoe. The sorry state of affairs is especially galling because Microsoft is in a unique position to create a powerful and compelling online platform, and yet time and again has failed to do so. The complaints have not fallen entirely on deaf ears, however, and Microsoft Game Studios General Manager Dave Luehmann told MCV that the company is aware of its failings and is prepared to do something about them.
“There’s been a fair bit of criticism aimed at Microsoft that we were spending a lot of our focus on console, and we need to be putting resources behind PC as well,” he said. “Other companies should look to Microsoft for leadership, but I’m not sure they do. It is our job to lead the way on PC. And in some ways we are doing that and in other ways we are not. So we need to step up.”
“We are putting some real investment and big IPs behind the Windows platform. We’ve spoken of the first three, Fable III, Age of Empires Online and Microsoft Flight,” he continued. “However we are not going to stop there.”
If Luehmann’s words ring familiar, it’s likely because Microsoft already re-committed to the PC as a gaming platform in June with an internal document declaring the market “an incredibly important part” of its business. Going back even further, to 2008, then-Vice President John Schappert claimed that Microsoft’s “continued investments” in the PC segment would provide consumers with “the kind of gaming experiences they will love.”
But all the assurances and commitments in the world don’t change the fact that Games for Windows Live remains the most universally-loathed online gaming platform in existence, or that major publishers have begun abandoning the platform in favor of the far-superior Steam. Nor is it encouraging that the biggest guns Microsoft can bring to bear are a delayed port of an Xbox 360 RPG, an online RTS and a reboot of a hardcore flight sim. If that’s the company’s idea of an attention-grabbing headliner, while more mainstream (and successful) titles remain exclusive to the 360, then maybe just “stopping there” would be for the best after all.