Microsoft now focused on 'core' PC games after Windows 8 launch's casual titles

When Windows 8 launched last year, it was accompanied by several game releases most would classify as casual games. Now Microsoft plans to focus on “core” games, however, according to a company executive.

In an interview with Shacknews, Microsoft Studios Executive Vice President Phil Spencer said first-party games will now concentrate on the core gaming market. Spencer admitted Microsoft “lost our way a bit in supporting Windows games,” but assures the company is now focused on major titles.

“You'll see us doing more stuff on Windows,” he told Shacknews. “We probably have more individual projects on Windows than we've had in 10 years at Microsoft Studios.”

Spencer added that Microsoft “covered” the casual market with Windows 8’s launch, which had about 30 games in the Windows Store, though the company is now “starting to look at bigger and core gamer things.” He didn’t allude to what future announcements may hold, though Microsoft has already confirmed “Titanfall” is exclusive to its Xbox consoles and Windows computers. “Titanfall” isn’t a first-party game, however, as EA is its publisher.

Microsoft may emphasize Xbox Live in its upcoming titles, as Spencer said the service is an advantage for the company, citing achievements and friends features.

What Microsoft’s Xbox Live service will look like as Windows progresses remains a mystery, as the service is integrated in the new Metro environment, though it’s largely absent from the traditional desktop area. Microsoft is in the process of disbanding Games for Windows Live, with the service expected to be canceled within a year.

Microsoft could theoretically require Xbox Live games to run in the Metro environment, though that would limit them to only running in Windows 8 and newer versions of the company’s OS. Microsoft notably required Windows Vista for its “Halo 2” port in 2007, but requiring all its first-party PC games to run on Windows 8 seems unlikely.

Several critically successful games have been released for Windows 8 in the past year, though most are smaller in scale compared to typical console releases. 

Source: Shacknews via Joystiq | Image via EA

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I hope MS uses this opportunity to change it's XBL policy for Windows and WP like it has with the Xbox One. You still need a publisher to use XBL on Win/WP and you have other restrictions like we had on the 360 which was also dropped. Once MS can do the same for the Windows Store (and by extension the WP store which will merge in a few years), XBL will be used by most game developers. At least when the game is on Windows 8.x and it's built in XBL APIs.

NeoandGeo said,
. Consoles are useless and not needed in 2013.

I assumed you were being sarcastic till I seen your angry internet man response to another user.

Must be one of the silliest things written on this site. I own a decent gaming Pc , Pc gaming is my favourite but I can't wait for the new consoles .

I'll believe it when I see it. Hey, Lord Method Man beat me to it. Xbox Live for Windows appears to be dead and hell froze over as I finally installed steam to do Typing of the Dead: Overkill. Oh how I hate steam, but Xbox Live for Windows, for gaming, non-existent and no dev support, no hardcore gamer support. When hardcore gamers prefer the POS known as steam client and service, no matter how good XBL4W is, it's done. They'd have release Killer Instinct for XBLW to even have a chance and finishing last.

They might find a way to make it Window 8 only, but it won't be WinRT/XBLW, I'm willing to bet on that.

MorganX said,
I'll believe it when I see it. Hey, Lord Method Man beat me to it. Xbox Live for Windows appears to be dead and hell froze over as I finally installed steam to do Typing of the Dead: Overkill. Oh how I hate steam, but Xbox Live for Windows, for gaming, non-existent and no dev support, no hardcore gamer support. When hardcore gamers prefer the POS known as steam client and service, no matter how good XBL4W is, it's done. They'd have release Killer Instinct for XBLW to even have a chance and finishing last.

They might find a way to make it Window 8 only, but it won't be WinRT/XBLW, I'm willing to bet on that.

The only way to make it Windows 8 only is to make them Windows Store games, and that means they're going to use XBL.

MorganX said,
Not sure I follow that logic as not all Windows 8 games in the store use XBL.

Those aren't from MS, why would MS make first party games that don't use XBL?

Cuz XBL is dead everywhere but 8, and it's practically dead there for serious gamers. They have preferred Steam. Though I find XBL superior and preferable, they have not.

I can't see MS wasting more than 1 or 2 AAA titles trying to revive it. I would be happy, but I'll believe it when I see it.

MorganX said,
Cuz XBL is dead everywhere but 8, and it's practically dead there for serious gamers. They have preferred Steam. Though I find XBL superior and preferable, they have not.

I can't see MS wasting more than 1 or 2 AAA titles trying to revive it. I would be happy, but I'll believe it when I see it.

I agree that it's not seeing much use in the Windows Store but that doesn't mean they'll ignore it. Gamers prefer steam not so much for the service but for the sales they offer at this point. Anyways, the fact they're talking about this means they plan to push it on Windows more, now that the XB1 work is pretty much done. There's also no reason they can't release it on both and let users decide if they want it through the store or not, it could be on steam or it could just be a digital purchase through their web site for Windows 7 users.

Another problem that needs to get fixed with XBL on Windows and WP is that they have these publisher rules and so on. They've dropped those for XB1 and started up the new indie program that gives devs access to use all of XBL for free. That should trickle down to Windows and WP as well, then there's no reason for more developers who make games not to use the service.

From what I've seen of the publishers rules, etc. that does need to get fixed. But as for MS supporting steam, if that happens, XBFW is dead. I just don't see how anyone would bother with XBFW if MS publishes on Steam.

If MS really wants XBFW to live, all they have to do is release a AAA SBFW title, such as Killer Instinct and allow cross platform play. I think even the steam junkies would get on board. But I'm talking AAA, not Team Crossword or Halo: Spartan.

Releasing all MS Studios XBLA titles for XBFW would go a long way as well, classic XBLA packs for XBFW. I actually think there are issues with coding for WinRT, Marvel's Modern Avengers game is as buggy as all get out. Why? Something is amiss with WinRT right now. Too many issues, developers are pretty good and talented, it has to be something else. Even MS themselves haven't brought any AAA game or even apps really. Though I like the core apps now for the most part. Either there's something wrong in WinRT or its a lot harder than MS led people to believe to develop complex apps.

BTW, I hate Steam, love XBfW only no one is using it.

MorganX said,
From what I've seen of the publishers rules, etc. that does need to get fixed. But as for MS supporting steam, if that happens, XBFW is dead. I just don't see how anyone would bother with XBFW if MS publishes on Steam.

If MS really wants XBFW to live, all they have to do is release a AAA SBFW title, such as Killer Instinct and allow cross platform play. I think even the steam junkies would get on board. But I'm talking AAA, not Team Crossword or Halo: Spartan.

Releasing all MS Studios XBLA titles for XBFW would go a long way as well, classic XBLA packs for XBFW. I actually think there are issues with coding for WinRT, Marvel's Modern Avengers game is as buggy as all get out. Why? Something is amiss with WinRT right now. Too many issues, developers are pretty good and talented, it has to be something else. Even MS themselves haven't brought any AAA game or even apps really. Though I like the core apps now for the most part. Either there's something wrong in WinRT or its a lot harder than MS led people to believe to develop complex apps.

BTW, I hate Steam, love XBfW only no one is using it.

I agree with you, they need to open it up on Windows more and let anyone use it. But at the same time they'll have to release a version for Windows 7 users that might not have XBL integration unless they redo a XBL client for Windows 7 to cover that, which could happen. I also don't think they'll do games on Steam, just think that we could see a AAA title that could be limited, service wise, for Win7 users and have the full XBL support for Win8.x users. And the cross play is a plus as well, I want to see that.

Agreed. It's all talk for now. Knowing them, they'll tie it to the Windows Store and use it as a tool for getting people to bump up to Windows 8, as they did with Vista and Halo. Meh.

(for the record, I don't hate Windows 8, but I see no reason to upgrade right now)

dead.cell said,
Agreed. It's all talk for now. Knowing them, they'll tie it to the Windows Store and use it as a tool for getting people to bump up to Windows 8, as they did with Vista and Halo. Meh.

(for the record, I don't hate Windows 8, but I see no reason to upgrade right now)

It depends on what the game is like, if it's a Store game and gives you the ability to also run it on lots of different PCs with your account it's a plus IMO. Seeing as how Windows Store apps/games can be installed on up to 81 different devices. It'll also probably use XBL as well, I see no reason not to. A Windows 7 version would be limited in nature though, which could be fine if you don't care.

I agree, MS should push their franchises through the Windows Store to make it have more impact. Then the real competition with Steam will start and being on more platforms than Steam, it could hurt them pretty hard.

Thief000 said,
I agree, MS should push their franchises through the Windows Store to make it have more impact. Then the real competition with Steam will start and being on more platforms than Steam, it could hurt them pretty hard.

Unless you can buy the game once and play it on all avalaible platforms it wont hurt Steam much. And if the past is any indication of the future you'll have to buy the game once for every platforms you want to play it on.

LaP said,

Unless you can buy the game once and play it on all avalaible platforms it wont hurt Steam much. And if the past is any indication of the future you'll have to buy the game once for every platforms you want to play it on.

Correct me if I'm wrong here but it's not like Steam is on more than one platform. It's on more than one OS, sure, but it's still the PC (Macs are just PCs). I don't know what the pricing model will be but we've had games that run on different MS platforms that sync and allow you to jump between them, so it's more than possible to do that.

If we're also talking big core AAA titles we're not going to run them on our phone or mini tablets, at least I won't. So being a store game, if they are, seeing how they let you install content on multiple devices with your account already. You could go between your Win8.x PCs and play the game anywhere.

xankazo said,

NO!
We like the convenience of having those games on the store.

There is no "we"... leave me out of it. If it's a PC game it had better be available for Windows 7, which means NOT on the store. If they want to put it on the store in addition, fine. While they're at it, make it available on Steam too, for Windows, Mac, and Linux. That'd maximize title availability that's for sure.

domboy said,

There is no "we"... leave me out of it. If it's a PC game it had better be available for Windows 7, which means NOT on the store. If they want to put it on the store in addition, fine. While they're at it, make it available on Steam too, for Windows, Mac, and Linux. That'd maximize title availability that's for sure.

It doesn't have to be on steam, it could be sold through their website and target Windows 7/8 and Mac. I doubt they'll bother with Linux.

domboy said,

There is no "we"... leave me out of it. If it's a PC game it had better be available for Windows 7, which means NOT on the store. If they want to put it on the store in addition, fine. While they're at it, make it available on Steam too, for Windows, Mac, and Linux. That'd maximize title availability that's for sure.


>2013
>Still not on Windows 8

Step it up.

ROFLCOPTERS said,

>2013
>Still not on Windows 8

Step it up.

Why? I have a Surface RT, so I'm familiar with Modern UI (though I run the jailbreak so I can use its desktop). I see no reason to pay to upgrade my Windows 7 box to 8 as yet. And I recently upgraded my older XP 64bit PC to Ubuntu 13.04 instead.

GP007 said,

It doesn't have to be on steam, it could be sold through their website and target Windows 7/8 and Mac. I doubt they'll bother with Linux.

Agreed that they probably wouldn't do a linux port. But if they changed the focus of using games to push a new platform, and instead distribute to as many OSes and platforms as possible to maximize title distribution, a Linux port no longer seems a big a conflict of interest.

I suggested Steam as it's a common distribution system, and they've even used it before. Sure it could be sold plenty of other ways, digital distribution and boxed format.

Sabotage your new console, then reaffirm PC support. This was the right thing to do, Microsoft. I welcome you back home where you belong. Consoles are useless and not needed in 2013, we literally have no need for them with personal computing devices doing everything we need. It's not 1993 anymore, thank you for finally realizing that.

Please tell me you forgot yours. I feel for you if you can't comprehend obvious and stupidly simple facts of life. You have my sympathy.

While we are at it, please entertain us as to why you think consoles are needed. I need a good laugh this morning. Let me guess, your only excuse would be "exclusives". If that's it, then don't even bother, you are well beyond reaching in your current incoherent state.

NeoandGeo said,
Sabotage your new console, then reaffirm PC support. This was the right thing to do, Microsoft. I welcome you back home where you belong. Consoles are useless and not needed in 2013, we literally have no need for them with personal computing devices doing everything we need. It's not 1993 anymore, thank you for finally realizing that.

applause.

NeoandGeo said,
Sabotage your new console, then reaffirm PC support. This was the right thing to do, Microsoft. I welcome you back home where you belong. Consoles are useless and not needed in 2013, we literally have no need for them with personal computing devices doing everything we need. It's not 1993 anymore, thank you for finally realizing that.

What a load of bull****. We play Titanfall on a 499 dollar console and it does ALL the entertainment at it's best on the screen where it belongs... right, the TC. You can't do that on a tablet or you need a 1000+ game computer. You just better shut up. You literally have ZERO clue what you're talking about.

The consoles are already dwarfed by $500-$700 PCs that do everything better, have greater compatibility and can do actual work related activities. Consoles are useless in this day and age and are a waste of money when a PC of the same price can do everything they can do and more. Get out of here with your ignorant shtick unless you can bring a real argument to the table. It's going to be hard for you to transition from the console bottle to the PC cup, but you will eventually grow up and see the light. Just think back to giving up the teet, it's going to be traumatic, but in the end you won't look ridiculous sucking on your mom as a 5 year old. You will be doing true gaming and not letting silly fanboy wars and console exclusivity BS cloud your judgement.

I'll believe it when I see it.

Microsoft has a terrible record of supporting PC gaming since the introduction of the original Xbox. It actively undermined and then shuttered the few decent PC studios it had (Ensemble Studios, Aces Studio, etc); GFWL was a trainwreck (that the company initially wanted to charge for); Halo 2 was delayed on PC by two-and-a-half years, was poorly ported and was made Vista-exclusive for no legitimate reason; DirectX has stagnated; free-2-play was used to fleece customers with games like Age Of Empires Online and Microsoft Flight.

I agree with everything you said just want to note, the last GfWL client was actually quite nice IMO. Steam Client will NEVER be in it's league. For all the reasons you mentioned MS dropped the ball, but it wasn't because of the client.

They also never delivered any meaningful cross platform play and shouldn't have actually promised it. They still haven't delivered that yet.

They'd be better off requiring Windows 7. That'll force everyone on Vista (or XP!) to upgrade, without ****ing off core gamers who can't even play their games on Windows 8.1 due to mouse issues.

And how many HOME users that game are still on XP or Vista? Even casual (Web-based) gamers have by and large moved to Windows 7 already. And if your hardware supports Windows 7, there is (in most cases) absolutely NOTHING in terms of hardware keeping you away from Windows 8/8.1 (and even less in terms of software).

theyarecomingforyou - F2P has nothing (as in NADA) to do with GfWL (or even the lack of progess thereof); it predated GfWL and has progressed majorly since; in other words, they are non-connected. GfWL had it's own issues (agree there); however, F2P (or even lack of it) had nothing to do with it. AoE Online has issues other than GfWL - note that it's on Steam in the F2P section, and even that isn't saving it; same applied to Microsoft Flight. GfWL (as a service/API) has simply hosted more than its share of failed games; however, not every game that failed was due TO GfWL

Imagine... you could purchase a game directly from the Window Store, and that same game would be available on the One and your PC without paying twice for the same game.

So you mean in the Windows Store right? I mean I'm tired of not seeing epic games in the Windows Store. It's annoying. All my friends can play awesome games like Dead Trigger 2 and Deer Hunter 2014 and (unless I have Bluestacks) go with Armed! and Hydro Thunder Hurricane.

Ezekiel Carsella said,
So you mean in the Windows Store right? I mean I'm tired of not seeing epic games in the Windows Store. It's annoying. All my friends can play awesome games like Dead Trigger 2 and Deer Hunter 2014 and (unless I have Bluestacks) go with Armed! and Hydro Thunder Hurricane.

He was likely referring to AAA titles, based on his comments about the games being bigger and more core-focused.

I'd be fine with Windows Store games such as those, however, along with AAA games.

Anthony Tosie said,

He was likely referring to AAA titles, based on his comments about the games being bigger and more core-focused.

I'd be fine with Windows Store games such as those, however, along with AAA games.

But why couldn't AAA games be Store games? We know that they have specific game engines that already support WinRT, Unreal Engine 3 does from what I remember. So as that's been used for AAA games in the past there's no reason it couldn't be a Store game.

GP007 said,

But why couldn't AAA games be Store games? We know that they have specific game engines that already support WinRT, Unreal Engine 3 does from what I remember. So as that's been used for AAA games in the past there's no reason it couldn't be a Store game.


Because that would mean limiting games to Windows 8 or newer, as I mentioned in the article. That'd severely hamper potential profit at this early a stage. It's possible for that to be the case eventually, but right now it seems unlikely for an entire portfolio.

Anthony Tosie said,

Because that would mean limiting games to Windows 8 or newer, as I mentioned in the article. That'd severely hamper potential profit at this early a stage. It's possible for that to be the case eventually, but right now it seems unlikely for an entire portfolio.

Sure, though I suppose the Windows 7 version could be limited then. I don't see how it'd work with XBL unless they use a client for it. And it makes no sense to me not to have their own first party games use XBL.

Good, because I hate that a lot of the decent windows 8 games released by microsoft studios have some sort of method that either require you to pay money to get some sort of enjoyment out of the game, or just suffer lack of content and ads every minute

Having games be live supported means a few things. They are either Windows 8 only and Windows store games, because xbl is part of the OS, or they're going to back port some of the xbl APIs fo Windows 7 so the games use the service on both OS'. Personally I think that they'll be Windows Store games but this would mean that we'll see more of them like Halo Spartan assault. A game that's on phone, tablet/PC and soon one consoles. Toss in the ability to sync your game save between them and play with others on a different system, then things start to look interesting indeed.

ZipZapRap said,
Uh oh Gabe. But hey you got SteamOS

yeah because Microsoft did a great job with GFWL and Windows gamers will trust they will also do a good job with the Xbox Live service on Windows for "core" games...

Xbox for Windows doesn't force a secondary client running at the same time. Xbox Live features are incorporated into the main executable.

gonchuki said,

yeah because Microsoft did a great job with GFWL and Windows gamers will trust they will also do a good job with the Xbox Live service on Windows for "core" games...

Games for Windows Live was an Interim step in unifying all of the services MS had which they couldn't do due to the Anti-Trust agreement with the DoJ as a result of the suit brought on by Apple, Netscape, and several other companies. It expressly prohibited them from creating a cohesive service where one ID could be used to purchase games, music, videos, and web services. That agreement ended in May of 2011. Now we are seeing the unification of the MS ecosystem the way MS wanted to do, but was prohibited.

The "secondary client" is actually running with Xbox Live for Windows, you just don't have to manually open it because it's forced upon you by simply installing the OS.

Nope, that's the common misconception. "Games" is just an app that can be uninstalled and there is no GfWL installed under Windows 8 or 8.1. If you run an Xbox Live for Windows game, the only thing starting up is a Microsoft Account Sign-in Assistant. Xbox Live games on Windows PC's now run entirely differently and much less obtrusively than with GfWL.

gonchuki said,

yeah because Microsoft did a great job with GFWL and Windows gamers will trust they will also do a good job with the Xbox Live service on Windows for "core" games...

What's wrong with the Windows Store?

There is nothing wrong with the Windows Store. But GabeN is very scared of the Windows Store because it already has a lot of traction among app makers and could gain fast support for games as well. Being on more platforms than Steam could hurt Steam pretty fast if MS attracts more customers to it. Xbox Live for Windows is the only true multiplatform gaming ecosystem out there ATM that is gaining traction.

Drewidian said,

Games for Windows Live was an Interim step in unifying all of the services MS had which they couldn't do due to the Anti-Trust agreement with the DoJ as a result of the suit brought on by Apple, Netscape, and several other companies.

A badly designed interim step which will render useless a couple dozen games once they shut down the servers (and which already did for Windows 8 users).
Does the fact that some former GFWL games are moving to Steamworks instead of Xbox Live tell you something? Devs don't trust Microsoft anymore, and Steamworks is a far superior platform.

Thief000 said,
Xbox Live for Windows is the only true multiplatform gaming ecosystem out there ATM that is gaining traction.

When you have 0% of the market, the only way you can go is up. Don't be fooled by their "23948% increase" numbers, that just means the had just 1 user in the past and now have 23948.

Thief000 said,
Xbox Live for Windows is the only true multiplatform gaming ecosystem out there ATM that is gaining traction.

LMAO!! What a joke.

gonchuki said,
A badly designed interim step which will render useless a couple dozen games once they shut down the servers (and which already did for Windows 8 users).
Games for Windows LIVE works fine on Windows 8 (and 8.1), at least when using the latest version of the Redistributable. If you're having a problem with it it's specific to your system, not the OS as a whole. You can install the latest Redistributable from this link:

http://www.xbox.com/Live/PC/DownloadClient

Halo 3 must come and is probably coming! In my opinion it was the best Halo game to play with friends. Spent a lot of time playing custom infection games..

I'm pretty sure both of those series will turn up on the Windows 8 Store as Xbox for Windows games at some point. There was already talk about a Halo Trilogy appearing in the Steam entries some time ago...

Niekess said,
Halo 3 must come and is probably coming! In my opinion it was the best Halo game to play with friends. Spent a lot of time playing custom infection games..

Unlikely at this point IMO. 6 years is a long time to wait for a PC port.

Gears of War is available for $19.99 but it's horrible with UE3. Screen Tearing so horrible. But it's still one of the best games ever. Needs to be redone for sure.