Former Valve business head now at Microsoft to lead PC gaming division

Microsoft may be ready to try again to make a big mark in the PC gaming industry. The company has recently hired Jason Holtman, who previously worked at Valve for eight years as its director of business development, to be Microsoft's new leader of its PC gaming and entertainment division.

Holtman departed Valve in February, around the time that Valve was rumored to have laid off about 25 of its employees (Valve never confirmed or denied these reports). This week, Holtman's LinkedIn page was updated to show his new gig at Microsoft.

Gamesindustry International got a quick statement from Holtman, who said:

Yes, I have joined Microsoft where I will be focusing on making Windows a great platform for gaming and interactive entertainment. I think there is a lot of opportunity for Microsoft to deliver the games and entertainment customers want and to work with developers to make that happen, so I'm excited to be here.

Holtman is credited with being one of the biggest forces behind the growth of Valve's Steam service as it slowly became the biggest single source for downloadable PC games, including bringing many third-party game publishers to the platform. It will be interesting to see how much of his experience at Valve, his advancement of the Steam platform in particular, will be used in his new Microsoft job.

By the same token, the fact that Microsoft has hired a person such as Holtman to take over its PC game division may show that the company will be developing a new strategy for the PC game industry in general.

Source: Gamesindustry International | Image via Jason Holtman

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Hopefully, he can talk some sense into the FOOLS that cancelled Galactic Reign, update the game, and keep the servers going indefinitely.

Fresh ideas are certainly needed at MS. Hopefully, Holtman's ideas on the Windows-8 deficiencies will have credence and will be acted upon.

Would be great if MS hired a team to produce tablet versions of their major franchises. Forza, Halo, Gears, Fable and IPs that we haven't seen in a while like Midtown Madness, MechAssault and Viva Pinata (which could be cool on a tablet).

#1 All Modern UI games that run on a desktop mandatory day one gamepad (Xbox controller) support.

#2 Release/Re-release enhanced Gears of War Series for PC

#3 Release all MS Studios XBLA games that MS has a license to do so, on PC

#4 Everything supports Xbox for Windows & Achievements

#5 Geometry Wars, all flavors, for PC

#6 Just get AAA games made for PC, Xbox for Windows, and even Modern UI

Figure 8 Dash said,
Hey hey, let me get some of that Geometry goodness on RT too.

I don't do too much on my SurfRT these days, but Geometry Wars would actually be awesome!

I think the goal they have set is a clear one, just needs time and developers to take advantage of. Windows 8 brings the XBL service over to Windows in a deeper way than GfWL did, no messy middle ware app to screw things up etc.

Unify the APIs for Windows, phone and XB1 with WinRT etc. Allow for true cross platform games, we've seen a few so far that work on windows, phone and 360 for example. Halo Spartan Assault is a good example of this actually. Once a developer can have a game released to the MS "Store" with the ability to run on the PC, phone and XB1 and allow you to transition between the 3 devices and even play vs others on different devices then we're really talking.

It might take longer for the big AAA PC versions to follow but it shouldn't take long for the arcade type games to take advantage, the APIs needed are already part of the OS as far as services goes, just need to bring the ability to write once and run on all 3 systems to come through.

To this extent, the XB1 switching back to x86 hardware helps as well.

JHBrown said,
How about some Age of Empires 4? Maybe Rise of Nations 2? Age of Mythology 2?

A RoN 2 would be awesome. Sucks that the developer of doesn't exist anymore

I hope this means Microsoft is finally ready to have some sort of appearance in the PC gaming department. Rather embarrassing that they're responsible for the only real operating system for gaming, but not games or anything else too in depth. GfWL is rather a bit of a joke too...

Sounds good to me. Steam has been in a great model for pc gaming. Its certainly not perfect, but there is a lot that can be learned from it. I hope MS takes it seriously.

Windows 8 is indeed a catastrophe for Gabe if he loses key employees to MS. Sounds to me like their Steam-esque system of downloadable games is in the future.

Snake89 said,
I think gears of war will making a much bigger impact then what halo will do for windows gaming.
As long as it's not like Gears of War: Judgment.

The only reason that Microsoft is doing so abysmally with regards to PC gaming is because it keeps sabotaging the PC platform. This is the company that delayed Halo 2 by years and then made it a Vista exclusive that required GFWL; this is the company that forced the developer of Age of Empires to make a console exclusive RTS game based on Halo and then laid everybody off when the game didn't perform well; this is the company that wanted to charged PC gamers to play online via Games For Windows Live.

Microsoft used to have some credibility when it came to PC gaming but I don't see that changing as long as the Xbox brand is successful.

zeroomegazx said,
Step one, put xbox games Like Halo 3/Reach on PC
Step two ????
Step three, Profit??

Things that never will see : Halo 3 PC and HalfLife 3.

Half-life 3 is in the works.. Just waiting for source engine 2 to be done, which is still being worked on. So we might see half-life 3 in about 2 to 3years.

LaP said,
Step one bring the whole xbox live exp to PC. There's no step 2.

Huh? Why would we want to pay for XBL features that PC gaming has had for FREE for years, and better quality as I might add....

Snake89 said,
Half-life 3 is in the works.. Just waiting for source engine 2 to be done, which is still being worked on. So we might see half-life 3 in about 2 to 3years.

Did people say the same thing 2-3 years ago?

Gears of War is already on PC for $19.99 and the UE3 is terrible. They did something funky with Vsync. But a re-issue would be instant buy!

Randomevent said,
One can only hope, after the embarrassment that has been GfWL.

Step one. Add mandated support for keyboard and mouse on all Xbox One titles.

That is all. Good day.