Microsoft: Games, Games, Games - just not for Windows

It seems that Microsoft felt that E3 wasn’t quite the right place to announce any Windows based games, despite it being one of the most renowned gaming conferences each year for all platforms.

Speaking to Polygon, Microsoft’s head of gaming, Phil Spencer, said that “When we’re doing gaming strategy, gaming focus inside the company, that’s my job. I think in a lot of ways, you could argue gaming on Windows has never been more healthy in that the biggest of the big franchises, League of Legends, World of Tanks, those things dwarf a lot of what we’re doing in this console space in terms of users and monetization. They’re all on PC.”

“E3′s a retail show,” Phil said. “It’s a retail show, it’s a console show, so it didn’t really feel like the right place for us to talk about Windows, but Windows and gaming on Windows is critical to Microsoft’s success.”

Even stranger is that Phil stated that perhaps Microsoft would be better off focusing on large scale championship gaming events rather than games conferences to announce new Windows titles. This coming just a week after he said that “Microsoft needs to up” it’s gaming presence on Windows and where better than E3?

Despite Microsoft not banging the Windows Gaming drum at E3, the PC still had a lot of focus during the conference from other companies that still care about PC gamers. Games such as The Witcher 3, GTA 5, The Crew, Civilization: Beyond Earth and many more are due out within the next year.

Source: Polygon

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“E3′s a retail show,” Phil said. “It's a retail show, it's a console show, so it didn't really feel like the right place for us to talk about Windows, but Windows and gaming on Windows is critical to Microsoft's success.”

So PC isn't retail anymore? Wait.... Oh yah right.. Steam...

E3 has always had a console focus, but this year especially with the war between X1 and PS4, Microsoft needed every minute to get some momentum back.

People can make whatever conspiracy theories they want, PC gaming isn't being abandoned by Microsoft. They just used this event to try and sell the X1 platform since it needed the most help.

MS abandoned PC gaming a long time ago. The question is not whenever MS abandoned PC gaming. The question is will MS come back to PC gaming.

You need to lose the chip on your shoulder. They just announced DirectX 12, the biggest Windows platform initiative for gaming in years.

Let them focus their message on the Xbox One at E3. Windows, and the PC in general, is doing just fine with gamers.

Yes, they announced DX12 after AMD shoved the Mantle boot so far up their ass, MS could taste it. They're not going to do anything unless somebody forces their hand.

Yes PC is doing fine, no thanks to MS. They should just come out that they're abandoning it and finish this farce.

You do realize that AMD and other groups help create DirectX?

"Beyond that point, we expect DirectX® 12 to be every bit the robust and powerful solution Microsoft has promised it will be. We know that because we, too, are a member of the consortium Microsoft assembled to help shape this and every other version of their API since the 1990s." -AMD's own blog

Especially since Mantle is aimed solely at AMD's cards, its not a replacement for DirectX, only allows devs to dig at the lower level hardware on Radeon cards.

Whooosh! Do you realise that MS didn't even announce DX12 and or the fact that the next DX will be closer to the metal until after Mantle beta was released.

I don't know about create, but they certainly work very close with MS since DX is on a big chunk of PC. That and the fact that they make hardware for those PCs. Though with DX12, AMD certainly provided the tech behind it.

Mantle was never intended as a replacement for DX. They just wanted to convince MS (and the others) that lower hardware access is the way to go. What better way to do that than to show it.

Luc2k said,
Whooosh! Do you realise that MS didn't even announce DX12 and or the fact that the next DX will be closer to the metal until after Mantle beta was released.

I don't know about create, but they certainly work very close with MS since DX is on a big chunk of PC. That and the fact that they make hardware for those PCs. Though with DX12, AMD certainly provided the tech behind it.

Mantle was never intended as a replacement for DX. They just wanted to convince MS (and the others) that lower hardware access is the way to go. What better way to do that than to show it.

Do we even know when MS started working or even thinking about DX12? How can you or anyone say for sure which came first as far as development work? Mantel is good and all but it's limited to a select number of AMDs own cards, the new GCNs, heck my HD7870 doesn't have support for it yet from what I've seen. DX12 is a bigger project anyway you look at it, it has to work with everything out there and they're also supporting older not just newer hardware this time, which is a first for it.

So if we're going to compare the two and say which did what, I'd say it's hard to tell, at first glance you could point to Mantel as being the catalyst for MS to do DX12 but there's no proof because the scope of the two projects is vastly different. As far as complexity alone goes, DX12 has more and thus needs way more time to work out. It's easier to say it's going to have the longer development cycle compare to the other.

Shadowzz said,
DX12 is more of an Xbox One feature with Windows as a second thought.

Stop using it as an argument.

I think that's the other way around, DX is a Windows first feature and the Xbox gets whatever it gets. It's never been the other way around, this time DX12 is also going to come to Xbox but that has more to do with the nature of the Xbox One running Windows as it's OS than before.

George P said,

Do we even know when MS started working or even thinking about DX12? How can you or anyone say for sure which came first as far as development work? Mantel is good and all but it's limited to a select number of AMDs own cards, the new GCNs, heck my HD7870 doesn't have support for it yet from what I've seen. DX12 is a bigger project anyway you look at it, it has to work with everything out there and they're also supporting older not just newer hardware this time, which is a first for it.

So if we're going to compare the two and say which did what, I'd say it's hard to tell, at first glance you could point to Mantel as being the catalyst for MS to do DX12 but there's no proof because the scope of the two projects is vastly different. As far as complexity alone goes, DX12 has more and thus needs way more time to work out. It's easier to say it's going to have the longer development cycle compare to the other.

They might have started before Mantle, but I highly doubt closer to the metal was in the cards until Mantle sounded the wakeup call. You think MS would have kept mum about it if there were great performance improvements being worked on? They still announced more than a year and a half in advance, so why not a couple of months more before Mantle was publicly available? The truth is probably that the big API players needed convincing before implementing AMD's tech. That's why Mantle has such limited support, because it's a proof of concept. Their next gen cards will most likely come out before Dx12 and support Mantle across the entire range though.

Going by various conferences it's rather easy to see that AMD is behind the performance improvements of DX12/OpenGL.

Shadowzz said,
DX12 is more of an Xbox One feature with Windows as a second thought.

This has never been true after Vista moved desktop composition to the 3d gpu pipeline.
Stop dismissing DX on Windows.

deadonthefloor said,

This has never been true after Vista moved desktop composition to the 3d gpu pipeline.
Stop dismissing DX on Windows.

I know it does plenty on Windows, I'm fully aware of what DirectX does and its entire history.

However with DX12, most of it is aimed towards Xbox. All I hear Microsoft and fanatics about its how it will increase the speed of the XBO, blabla yadayadayada.

While the focus for DX12 on Windows is a bit of "Well it will perform better than DX11!".

Silversee said,
Windows, and the PC in general, is doing just fine with gamers.

Thanks to Valve, nVidia and AMD.

Directx 12 is an answer to Mantle.

So if this is the case then lets have two E3 per Year One for Console Gaming and a E3 PC version, and even show Games for Mobile.

xchaser said,
So if this is the case then lets have two E3 per Year One for Console Gaming and a E3 PC version, and even show Games for Mobile.

I'd say GamesCom is the show that would get more PC love, and or other shows like PAX. E3 is and has been a console heavy show, and to a lesser extent so is TGS. That's the truth of it really, and people should have noticed this by now.

Do you seriously need to keep milking this by writing more pointless editorials on this? It's so annoying when bloggers/editorial writers like this blow everything out of proportion just to get a click. He said it loud and clear and straight to the point that Games for Windows had no place that that show, and I whole hardily agree. It's very clear gaming is important to the Windows platform they just have nothing to announce for it yet. There's a right place and time and audience for everything and he said it very clearly.

Please - as much as you are crying for Microsoft to get back into Windows gaming, how much respect would Microsoft actually get? Microsoft doesn't get any respect for what it has done with WINDOWS (the OS) - if Microsoft actually got back to where it was in terms of Windows gaming with Windows 9x, how many would complain that Microsoft was trying to create a monopoly? Microsoft is NOT allowed to try its hardest in ANY area that it is in - all too often when it does, there will be the complaints that it is trying to create a monopoly; heck, someone actually posted that they were glad that Kinect (XB1) moved from mandatory to optional because it would save Sony. (Yes - thinking about Microsoft DOES get weird like that - in every market they are in.) Microsoft is the Rodney Dangerfield of their markets - no respect at all.

Well, really, any big studio would struggle to avoid the ire of the masses. Big studio games are held to a much higher standard than, say, indie games, which only have to be 'beautiful' and/or 'unconventional'.

Microsoft et al actually need adjectives like 'fun' and 'immersive' to be successful. They also have to make the enormous expense of localization, which will also have its quality judged. Smaller studios don't bother localizing.

And if Microsoft did, the anti-localization advocates would complain - if they didn't, the localization advocates (and especially their governments) would whinge. Can Microsoft win? Mostly no.

Joshie said,
Well, really, any big studio would struggle to avoid the ire of the masses. Big studio games are held to a much higher standard than, say, indie games, which only have to be 'beautiful' and/or 'unconventional'.

Microsoft et al actually need adjectives like 'fun' and 'immersive' to be successful. They also have to make the enormous expense of localization, which will also have its quality judged. Smaller studios don't bother localizing.

Disagree, that's bad / crappy indie games. Typically, indie games we hear about are the cream of the crop (for the most part) because they over came so many barer's.

It boils go one simple rule about a game be it small / no budget indie / game mod / AAA title. Is the game fun to play?

Joshie said,
Smaller studios don't bother localizing.

Smaller studios don't bother selling games at 70$ CDN either ... for the most part their games are sold at around 20$ CDN.

Meh, I don't know; there are more than enough good and great games available or incoming for PC; besides, majority of console exclusives are not that interesting anyway, to me that is.

Some of the great games on PC aren't displayed by big budgets at E3 and the like, but developed by the indie studios with a passion for their craft.

So true. Companies have realised that people will buy anything new just for the sake of it being new. But it's nice to see voices being heard when you see the problems EA faced with online DRM as well as the Battlefield issues etc. Hopefully Microsoft can implement a standard when it comes to gaming on Windows with one this for certain, no online DRM!

So I figured, as butthurt as this article sounds, Byron would get around to explaining why no announcements at E3 = Microsoft doesn't care about Windows. It looks like he doesn't know his own feelings any better than his article.

There is no logical connection between "We didn't want to announce anything for PCs at E3" to "We don't care about PC gamers". Please, honestly, try to come up with one. I'd LOVE to see the attempt. Just a heads up--you'll embarrass yourself.

This is hilarious considering a few weeks earlier the same guy released a statement saying they had a "renewed focus" for PC gaming and then don't even mention PC gaming at E3. Great renewed focus you got there. Telling consumers PC gaming has no place at the biggest gaming event to showcase upcoming games. #comedy

I doubt they had much choice TBH. Rightly or wrongly, the Xbox One has received lots of negative publicity and they had to try and neutralise that - the earlier announcements about Kinect and the focus on games at E3 has done that. Something had to give and that was a focus on PC gaming.

So because they don't mention anything at E3 it means they don't care? Maybe they started caring a week ago and have nothing to produce just yet. We shouldn't doubt Microsoft as they have the money to spend and if spent well, might just renew gaming. If they don't do anything at all this year, then this guy is just talking not walking.

It seems that Microsoft felt that E3 wasn't quite the right place to announce any Windows based games, despite it being one of the most renowned gaming conferences each year for all platforms.
“E3′s a retail show,” Phil said. “It's a retail show, it's a console show, so it didn't really feel like the right place for us to talk about Windows, but Windows and gaming on Windows is critical to Microsoft's success.”

I have to agree with the part about E3 being a retail show. Sure it is a gaming convention but consoles tend to dominate the entire event. Pretty much every developer (with a multiplatform game) spends far more money and time talking about their games on consoles than on PCs.

As for the rest, well Microsoft please start showing us that you care about PC gaming. You talk a lot about it...but then produce nothing. You do bring a ton of technologies that make PC gaming what it is today but start showing the games some love too. People would love to have Halo on the PC, or a new proper Age of Empires. You constantly talk about how easy it would be to port Xbox One games to the PC and yet there are no PC versions of some of your best selling franchises.

Personally, I think they did the right thing to support Xbox one. Their next message should be "any game that is published for both Xbox and Windows, will have an option for universal purchase as well as a way to upgrade your purchase to the universal option. Any game in our store that you wish to import from Steam can be imported for $1.99".

Riva said,
I am sure that will be the end result. Also XB1 games natively working on Windows.

They won't have that. It can't go both ways for them. If you could play XB1 games on your computer then why would you buy an XB1. Then you would never use Xbox Video, Music, etc..

They should definitely already be planning for Xbox games also being playable on pc, and I assume Directx12 is the first step. Next year there is likely to be a SKU of Intel's Skylake chip that has higher graphics performance than either Xbox One or PS4. Eventually consoles will have a smaller market potential than PCs, and economics will do the rest.

SolidSphere said,
They should definitely already be planning for Xbox games also being playable on pc, and I assume Directx12 is the first step. Next year there is likely to be a SKU of Intel's Skylake chip that has higher graphics performance than either Xbox One or PS4. Eventually consoles will have a smaller market potential than PCs, and economics will do the rest.

people have been proclaiming the end of consoles for many years and it's not going to happen. Consoles may change as we know it and might not be our primary means of gaming, and yes for the majority of people that's what consoles are. However as they blend into all in one entertainment devices and find other uses for them, they could be as essential to your television as the remote control.

That's a good point. I have an Xbox One and I do NOT play games on it. I game using my PC, which has magnitudes of better performance, graphics and sound---and can be upgraded. BUT, if Microsoft DID happen to migrate to universal app purchases, then I think that would benefit the Xbox One.

macrosslover said,

They won't have that. It can't go both ways for them. If you could play XB1 games on your computer then why would you buy an XB1. Then you would never use Xbox Video, Music, etc..

Yeah but if Microsoft is not serious about PC gaming then why would people not support SteamOS cause right now Valve is the company driving not Microsoft. SteamOS is not a threat right now but Microsoft is playing a very dangerous game by ignoring PC gaming.

I think Microsoft is still sore from GFWL. They tried to corner the market with their blinders on ignoring the competition, and the competition beat them silly.

If they can find a partnership or some way to do it better, allowing people into the Xbox brand more universally, whether you have an Xbox or not, I feel like there's quite a bit of profit to be made there. It's just the matter of the how really, and opting to not go against the grain would be a start.

Microsoft is talking about "ONE" device to rule them all, but if you look at Sony, they're aiming for the home console, they're aiming for your pocket (Vita), and now your TV where you could just have a cheap box or Sony branded television to get going.

Wasn't it rumored that Microsoft would come out with some $99 device to do something similar for 360 games? What happened to that? And why is Sony the one ready to deliver on this way ahead of them?

I feel they need to get a game plan figured out and run with it. Who knows though, Microsoft probably does and none of us know it yet, but it's hard to say, and hard to watch as a fan of Microsoft too. Where are you MS? :/

X1 games won't be playable on PC, it would lead to too many people complaining that PC games aren't keeping up with hardware advances. Would you really want PC gaming to be held back for 5+ years due to tagetting the X1's specs?

Geezy said,
Would you really want PC gaming to be held back for 5+ years due to tagetting the X1's specs?

PC gaming has been held back by the 360 for many years. What makes you think it will be different this time? Doesn't matter if the first party titles don't come to PC. 3rd party multiplatform games will still be made for the console first and badly ported to PC after. And it looks like MS is not really serious about supporting PC with exclusive titles despite the claims made lately.

LaP said,
PC gaming has been held back by the 360 for many years. What makes you think it will be different this time?
According to MS, a rededication to PC gaming.