Microsoft says it has 'renewed focus' on PC gaming, details coming this summer

Microsoft Studios head Phil Spencer told an audience at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco today that the company will be putting more effort into PC gaming, though he stopped short of offering any specific details.

Polygon reports that Spencer made those remarks as part of an answer to an audience question concerning Valve's Steam Machine-SteamOS plans. He praised Valve's commitment to the PC gaming space, even admitting that Valve has focused more on that business than Microsoft.

Spencer then said:

A renewed focus on Windows and PC gaming inside Microsoft is definitely happening. You will see more focus from us — not to go compete with what Valve has done, but because we also understand as the platform holder it's important for us to invest in the platform in a real way. We're fundamentally committed to that.

Spencer didn't offer any details on those plans, saying that Microsoft will reveal more about its PC gaming efforts this summer. As Neowin reported a few weeks ago, the company saw its PC gaming and entertainment leader Jason Holtman depart Microsoft in January after less than six months on the job.

Polygon also asked Spencer about the fate of Games for Windows Live, which is rumored to be shutting down July 1. Spencer said Microsoft may reveal the fate of the highly criticized online service "very soon." He added, "We've got to make sure we've got a thoughtful plan that supports the people that currently have games on Games for Windows Live. It's a conversation we're having."

Source: Polygon | Image via Microsoft

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Please, please, pleaaseee...Let some of the news involve Flight Simulator XI!!!! I have been waiting and hoping that they would revive the series.

Duh! Because if they do not, then someone will step in and take it! The PC is already ahead of the PS4 and Xbone on the high end, and they just came out. The next generation of hardware will BOOST PC sales, so MS must get that Metro desktop working fast? lol

Sad thing is it took them this long to figure this out.

So what of the next 6 - 8 years? LOL

Many Xboners will sell that mess for a new PC within the next 2 years.


So what does this mean for GFWL, are they abandoning it or not? Are they going to start anew with another service/drm other than GFWL? C'mon Microsoft.. I'm still in the dumps about Halo and Gears of War on PC. You release Halo:CE, Halo 2 but no Halo games on PC after that. You release Gears of War on PC but never release the next two games in the series on PC. I'm never going to buy a console as I can barely afford to maintain to system I use to game on and all of my gaming library is on PC. Releasing games you publish simultaneously on PC would be the perfect way for me to give you my money.

I read somewhere Forza 5 which is an Xbox One title was running on a Windows 7 PC so maybe Microsoft has some tricks up their sleeves in regards to PC gaming and DirectX 12.

Edited by Xtreme2damax, Mar 23 2014, 12:56am :

This must be coming at the expense of resources formerly allocated to the business and serious consumer computer user side of MS's marketplace. The honorable thing for MS to do would be to formerly state this new corporate direction and let those two parts of the marketplace proceed accordingly.

I don't see how they need to scrap GfWL completely. It connects to the same servers Xbox Live profiles and Windows 8 Xbox games do. Just release an updated client for Vista and 7 with Windows 8 style branding. I have a lot of GfWL games and wanna finish them with my cheevos. I never had any issues with GfWL the complaints only seem to come from Valve fanbois, Steam is the client that wants to update every launch.

I imagine they mean support in the sense of drivers and other software. But not games. They have a hard enough time getting an exclusive library to the Xbone One. It really needs some games to make it stand out.

If Microsoft wants to 'renew focus' on PC gaming they must add native support for extra mouse buttons (through DirectInput, some new XMouse class or something else). It is shameful that after so many years, core gaming device have no proper support and gamers have to map keyboard keys to the mouse through third party software.

Short of them licensing Steamworks, I really can't see anything long term that Microsoft can offer me.
What Valve/Rocksteady/WB/Eidos did over the Batman Arkham series GFWL fiasco speaks for itself.

lolneowin said,
Did the XB1 flop that bad?

It's impossible to consider it a flop. Consoles are long term investments. You can't measure success or failure in weeks or months.

hi. this is microsoft. guess what? we're renewing our focus on pc gaming. again. why? you asked. excellent question. well because we are lagging compare to our competitors. again. and you know what we like to do when we are lagging behind - shoving our inferior offerings down the throats of any idiots we can find, brain-wash or bribe - oops. sorry - provide financial incentives. so there. how's that for our re-focused honesty with our new ceo (with many of our top guys abandoning ship, of course!)

Quikboy said,
Yeah, because competition for PC gaming is a terrible idea...

It is when the competition is a product like GfwL.

Also, implying the PC doesn't have competition already.

Who woulda thunk? A company whose entire existence revolves around PC gaming (Valve) is more focused on PC gaming than a company in 100 different markets (Microsoft).

LaP said,
I'll believe it when i see a proper new Flight Sim released.

The engine running Flight is pretty good, all they need to do is port the world from fsx, release an SDK and the community will do the rest.

Sounds to me like he's talking about DirectX 12. They're fundamentally committed as a platform holder... not to go compete with what Valve has done. DirectX 12 will have a preview release later this year, it will move the platform forward and it doesn't compete with Valve.

I hope he's talking about releasing games as well. It's incredibly sad that Microsoft has basically abandoned PC gaming. Now they just publish little games here... :/

Enron said,
Could this be what I've been waiting for? A sequel to Minesweeper?!
Or maybe bringing Reversi back?
I've been waiting more than 3 decades for a sequel to Donkey.bas. Hopefully now that Bill himself is spending more time at MS...

Romero said,
I've been waiting more than 3 decades for a sequel to Donkey.bas. Hopefully now that Bill himself is spending more time at MS...

Donkey 1
Driver 0

My guess is full Xbone to PC games etc. I mean, it's a logical next step after all. Relaunch Xbox Live on PC as a real thing this time (I don't mean the in game XBL, which worked fine usually) and blamo there you go. MS has access to millions upon millions of Windows users looking for Xbone on PC easily.

Then again they could announce Zune 2.

Doubt it. I don't think I'd want Steam integrated into Windows either. It's a nice service but the program itself lacks polish.

I'm cool with SteamWorks considering I couldn't get into Dark Souls the other night due to the GFWL requirement and not letting me on for whatever reason, thus gimping the entire game. Got it on PS3 because of that...

I never want something like that to happen to me again. If Microsoft wants to commit to PC gaming, they can't be wishy washy about it. Valve for instance has maintained a strong presence over the years. MS can't just come in and throw that balance off without putting in some real work.

They say they're not going to compete with what Valve has done, which leaves me very curious as to what they will actually do.

dead.cell said,
I'm cool with SteamWorks considering I couldn't get into Dark Souls the other night due to the GFWL requirement and not letting me on for whatever reason, thus gimping the entire game. Got it on PS3 because of that...

I never want something like that to happen to me again. If Microsoft wants to commit to PC gaming, they can't be wishy washy about it. Valve for instance has maintained a strong presence over the years. MS can't just come in and throw that balance off without putting in some real work.

They say they're not going to compete with what Valve has done, which leaves me very curious as to what they will actually do.

If you can't beat 'em...join 'em.

You never let personal feelings cloud your judgement in business. There's a lot of terrible games on Steam, but Valve isn't going to say "your games suck...so we won't release them on Steam." They're an online publisher now...end of story.

I'm not talking about a game being bad and not released on said platform, I'm talking about the relationship between Microsoft and Gabe Newell. And if you truly think companies will always work together and there's no bad blood then go though the years of new stories on this website, you'll find plenty of stories about companies almost sinking because of there intolerance of another said company trying to bail them out of a situation or a merger of some sort.

Dot Matrix said,
I'll believe it when I see it.

I wouldn't disregard this. What they are trying to say is they want to expand the games available in the Windows Store for Windows tablets and Windows phones. Since Windows Phone 8.1 will introduce universal apps, games will take advantage of this too to be cross-platform between Windows and Windows Phone and maybe even Xbox One.

We already heard the speculation about Xbox Live games being easier to publish and maintain, and Microsoft trying to make Xbox Live games work on even Android or iOS. This is all to make games on Windows competitive with what the other mobile app stores have to offer.

Sionic Ion said,

I wouldn't disregard this. What they are trying to say is they want to expand the games available in the Windows Store for Windows tablets and Windows phones. Since Windows Phone 8.1 will introduce universal apps, games will take advantage of this too to be cross-platform between Windows and Windows Phone and maybe even Xbox One.

We already heard the speculation about Xbox Live games being easier to publish and maintain, and Microsoft trying to make Xbox Live games work on even Android or iOS. This is all to make games on Windows competitive with what the other mobile app stores have to offer.

Wouldn't that a focus on mobile gaming?

No, considering Microsoft counts every tablet running Windows RT a PC, and they believe the future of PCs is tablets and phones with desktops/laptops becoming less common in homes and more common that you'd have at least a phone and maybe a tablet, this is obviously more sensible to do.

They can reach every PC running Windows 8.1, every tablet running Windows RT 8.1, every Windows Phone running Windows Phone 8.1, and even have the same games also available on the Xbox One and on other platforms like Android and iOS.

It wouldn't make sense for them to reach out to a minority with high-specced PCs. DirectX 12 has a huge focus on scalability and efficiency, so games can look their best on whatever device they are running on.


Direct3D is the graphics API that Microsoft has worked on for 20 years as part of DirectX. Microsoft considers Direct3D to be one of the more critical pieces of a game engine. Which is why they've redesigned it to be faster and more efficient. They also stress that high-end PCs won't be the only place you see these improvements. Everything from phones to tablets to laptops and to consoles will benefit from the work Microsoft has done with Direct3D 12.

Sionic Ion said,

I wouldn't disregard this. What they are trying to say is they want to expand the games available in the Windows Store for Windows tablets and Windows phones. Since Windows Phone 8.1 will introduce universal apps, games will take advantage of this too to be cross-platform between Windows and Windows Phone and maybe even Xbox One.

We already heard the speculation about Xbox Live games being easier to publish and maintain, and Microsoft trying to make Xbox Live games work on even Android or iOS. This is all to make games on Windows competitive with what the other mobile app stores have to offer.

Yeah, uh, no.

Due to the mention of Valve the context of this interview is quite clearly towards "core" or "Triple A" gaming, none of that casual/mobile trash.

GfwL is only a month or two away from being buried, so it's not really surprising that Microsoft are talking up PC gaming now. It's right on schedule.

Dot Matrix said,
I'll believe it when I see it.

Look at Steam. They've already pushed Windows gaming much harder than they used to.

As far as major releases go yeah, I'll believe that when I see it.

TheExperiment said,

Look at Steam. They've already pushed Windows gaming much harder than they used to.

As far as major releases go yeah, I'll believe that when I see it.


Microsoft now has, what they call a large user base from Windows 8 users and Microsoft accounts.

That, along with the same 'accounts' they have on their xbox 360 and xbox one, they could use that as leverage with publishers to partner with them to release new games as downloads via the Windows 8 store.

Remember, Mirosoft's Windows 8 store is NOT just metro apps. It can deliver desktop software and games already with it's included account locking DRM.

It wouldn't be too hard to imagine that Microsoft, for example, made a request to the publisher as part of their xbox live/partnership to release the PC version via Windows 8 store.


On the other hand, Microsoft might also be releasing service APIs for backends that let the likes of Steam, origin, uplay, gog etc to work in side Microsoft's store to provide a seamless integration. Microsoft do like to license things out...

I can imagine at least Steam and Origin getting favourable exception for their Metro apps for their clients, much like the exception they made for Adobe's Flash in Metro Internet Explorer.