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Microsoft - The Prodigal Son Returns to PC Gaming

FreedomEclipse

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#1
"I think it's fair to say that we've lost our way a bit in supporting Windows games," Microsoft Studios VP Phil Spencer admitted. "But we're back."

Old news I found while lurking about on the interwebs.

We may be at an event previewing Xbox One, but Spencer notes that PC is also an important part of their portfolio. While the company may have focused exclusively on console games in the past decade, that's going to change, he promised. "Windows is incredibly important. The 'One Microsoft' mantra that's come out had us looking at all the devices that Microsoft builds and truly becoming a first-party gaming studio across all devices."

I needed to press further. I wanted him to explicitly tell me that there are PC games coming from Microsoft first-party. And he complied. "You'll see us doing more stuff on Windows. We probably have more individual projects on Windows than we've had in ten years at Microsoft Studios."


Of course, it doesn't matter much to core gamers if Microsoft plans on simply releasing casual games on Windows. However, Spencer reassured me that the focus is definitely on the core. "At the launch of Windows 8, we had about 30 games in the Windows Store. A lot of those you'd consider lightweight or casual games... But we've covered all of that property now. Now we're starting to look at bigger and core gamer things. I'm excited by that."

There's already evidence that Microsoft isn't focusing exclusively on Xbox. In fact, many of One's games are also coming to PC, including Titanfall and Project Spark (pictured above). In the case of Spark, you'll be able to play and share content between Xbox 360, Xbox One, Windows 8, and Surface. Having that kind of interoperability is crucial to improving the value of Xbox Live, Spencer points out. "Let's start to act like a true first-party across all these devices. A service like Xbox Live that knows me and my content and my friends and achievements across all these devices. I think that's an advantage for us."

Consumers no longer expect services to be stuck to one device, Spencer pointed out. "For us, we're first-party across all Microsoft devices. We definitely think about ourselves that way in our studios. If you think about a service like Spotify or Netflix, you expect that service to work on any device you have. For some games, it will be similar. I just want to have an Xbox Live account and it works on my phone, on my console, and my Windows machine. And then I'll be able to access my content in a screen-appropriate way."

In some ways, Microsoft is playing catch-up to Sony. In recent years, Cross-Play games have propagated content across PlayStation 3, Vita, and, now, PS4. But "One Microsoft" isn't willing to sit by and squander the incredible audience of Windows. For PC gamers, Microsoft's newfound commitment to PC games certainly is exciting.
- The article is from shacknews

It seems pretty laughable to be honest. Microsoft paired with the PC was the 'go to' platform for many decades until Microsoft came out with the Xbox and retreated from the PC gaming segment of the market quicker then erocker tripping on hot coals, All if not most of the Microsoft owned PC gaming studios were either forced to close down and have all its personnel and assets transferred into projects only for the Xbox and even then when they finally decide to port games to PC like Halo 2 it was beyond terrible. no effort was put into it,

They left PC gaming to rot and now they want back in after pretty much ignoring the platform for so long.

Microsoft the company that closed down

FASA Studio - the people behind the Mechwarrior/Mechcommander series.

Ensemble Studios - the people behind Age Of Empires, Age of Mythology & Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds

ACES studio - the people behind all of the microsoft combat flight sims, My first introduction to PC gaming was through M$ Combat flightsim.

Im sure there are a handful of studios that arent accounted for that were there to make early/mid 90s to '03 the best era for PC gaming and microsoft just closed them down without even thinking about future consequences. PC gaming was there for the taking by microsoft discarded it like it was some dirty rag.

In a sense their like epic games but flip flop less - One minute they hate the PC platform and focus all their efforts on consoles because of bullshit excuses like piracy, then they backpedal and start making games for PC. There are countless articles on the interwebs where Tim Sweeney or one of the other headchogs from Epic games have come out and said the PC platform was "good for anything, just not games"

Oh yes - lets make another gears of war, as if the market isnt already saturated with 3rd person shooters. they bitch and moan about not being able to make a profit on the PC platform but yet make games for a market thats saturated with games. Not forgetting how they threw their toys out of the basket in a strop when UT3 didnt sell as well on the PC as they predicted. moan about piracy killing game sales and shout about going back to making games for console only. Not once have they looked at themselves and said "yeah...we really made a shit game" and its because the game is shit that nobody wants to play it. for that reason UT99 will always be the best UT out there. Graphics will always improve with newer games but nothing will ever come close to how intense UT99 was.


Its never too late to come back and breath some life in to the PC gaming scene but PC gamers dont want console ports, and since thats all that microsoft has been doing for the last decade or so. i worry that the games they make will never live up to some of their greatest like Mechwarrior.

Anyway, Only time will tell.

Be interesting to hear what the rest of you have to say about this
 
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#2
Forza+PC=godly, there are many X-box exclusives such as Halo that many of us would enjoy. At least they still gave us DirectX updates as windows is still a gamefriendly platform in my opinion but some more "first party" games are welcome.
 

FreedomEclipse

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#3
Forza+PC=godly, there are many X-box exclusives such as Halo that many of us would enjoy. At least they still gave us DirectX updates as windows is still a gamefriendly platform in my opinion but some more "first party" games are welcome.
I think there will be many xbox exclusives that are kept xbox exclusives. Windows is of course a game friendly platform but the problem is that nobody wants to make games for it anymore because the massive boom in people buying consoles. microsoft 'losing their way' when it comes to pc gaming is taking it a bit lightly since they disbanded a lot of their studios that mainly made games for pc. not to mention the while 'games for windows live' thing which was more of an xbox thing rather then pc that microsoft did absolutely nothing with on the PC, thank god they decided to scrap it entirely.

Piracy is always going to be an issue, I sure as hell have pirated quite a few games in my time but If i decided i really liked the game then i would go out and buy it. Most games these days are multiplayer based. so you need a valid CD Key to be able to get on to their servers. Im guessing 99% of people pay for games because they get access to online play. Piracy is still there but not as bad as it was in the mid 90s and to use it as an excuse not to make games for PC is a bit silly.

Star Citizen is an awesome example that theres still life in the PC gaming community. they're almost break $36mil in funding which is just crazy for a platform that many publishers and developers no longer cared about. Publishers thing they wont make money making PC only titles but star citizen is a prime example of how a game if done right can absolutely smash the market and its not even on sale yet!

Will EA, Activision or Epic Games care? Most likely not, not a single bit because they're too focused on milking the console community for what their worth. All we can do is hope that when star citizen goes live that publishers and developers will look at the monthly sales charts and think about making games for PC again because star citizen could well spark the revival of PC gaming.

Microsoft can talk all they like about going back to their roots and making games for the PC but they will most likely do nothing at all or give us shitty console ports because Xbox is their bread and butter when it comes to family entertainment. they want you to buy their consoles and pay above the odds for games and their day 1 DLCs, map packs & other shit because you cant really mod games on a console, youre stuck to playing the game as it is unless the developer releases patches or fixes for bugs.

Early call of duty, battlefield and source based games woudnt of lasted as long as they have on the PC if they didnt have a great community behind the game rolling out mods to keep the game active.

I played CoD:1 for 3-4 years before I eventually retired from it and joined the fight in BF2.

I have no faith in microsoft following up on their promises to bring games back to windows. Not when Xbox is still raking in the cash. not to mention that games arent made the same way they used to be made any more, You pay more for less content
 
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#4
But Xbone is a PC, so no more crappy console ports, now the development can be side by side, and performance to match, and if mantle ever appears and is adopted it will be amazing for PC gaming as well, and may force the hands of all.
 

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#5
But Xbone is a PC, so no more crappy console ports, now the development can be side by side, and performance to match, and if mantle ever appears and is adopted it will be amazing for PC gaming as well, and may force the hands of all.
Its a pc but still a mid range one at best. Better then the previous generation of consoles but PC is still light years ahead. the only real difference is that AMD can better optimise their games for consoles, so when it eventually gets ported to PC it would be an optimised console port. that still wont make use of highend hardware unless mantle scales the game depending on your hardware but even then we would still need developers/publishers to integrate that into their games
 
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#6
I think it's fair to say that we've lost our way a bit in supporting Windows games
And they realized now?! Now it's too late.

You lost the game already, not my friend! R.I.P.
 

FreedomEclipse

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#7
And they realized now?! Now it's too late.

You lost the game already, not my friend! R.I.P.

I dont think its too late. PC gaming has many years ahead of it still. but the problem is if Microsoft will act on it since they realise they done goofed.

PC will always be one of the most viable gaming platforms out there
 
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#8

FreedomEclipse

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#9
But I did not mean PC gaming is dead (or dying).
People would say otherwise - It has always been a quite a debate. At the end of the day PC gaming isnt exactly growing either. and most people buy a console not just because it has more exclusives but because they can turn it on at a push of a button and play it while sitting back on their couch after coming home from school or work. Its just 'easier' but people have gotten lazy over the years anyway
 
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#10

FreedomEclipse

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#11
May be because it has no more room available to grow anymore.
No....

Because the focus is on console gaming (and now portable gaming with Vita & Android/Apple & Windows tablets)
 
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#12
Because the focus is on console gaming (and now portable gaming with Vita & Android/Apple & Windows tablets)
This is true. I see so many people playing on those stupid things.

And I bet this market is even more profitable for game developers.

-----
But not everybody hates consoles, tablets and mobiles like me.
 

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#13
But PC gaming HAS been growing! I just saw something last week that Steam has more subscribers than XBL and Playstation network do. And one cannot ignore the huge multitude of indy games being put out.
 
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#14
But PC gaming HAS been growing! I just saw something last week that Steam has more subscribers than XBL and Playstation network do. And one cannot ignore the huge multitude of indy games being put out.

Maybe this article?

http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/Matt..._Valves_service_doubles_every_three_years.php



"Over a decade later, Microsoft's service has over 48 million accounts while Steam surpassed 65 million a few months ago. Sony's network -- under the name PlayStation Network (PSN) or Sony Entertainment Network (SEN) -- now has 110 million accounts, far more than Steam. However, that figure includes web-only accounts and accounts for services like Music Unlimited which need not be related to video games at all."

"If that rate of growth continues, Steam will have exceeded 130 million accounts on its system by the end of 2016, putting it ahead of Sony's consolidated service population, in my estimation."


Personally, It amaze me how much Steam has grow over the past years, even with new consoles it continues to grow. And Steam is only one service, we also have GOG, Origin, F2P like LoL, WoT, etc.

Look this: http://www.pcgamer.com/2014/01/04/the-best-pc-games-of-2014/

It's freaking amazing!



IMO the problem M$ has right now, is that from a gaming point of view we don't need them anymore, maybe we won't need them at all some time in the future, publishers piracy argument is now obsolete, IMO if you don't release on PC you are not making as much money as you could. Even some Japanese devs are starting to release their games on PC. IMO this is PC best years and the best is yet to come.
 
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#14
I actually tend to agree that the pc gaming market has grown. The market for xbox and playstation is just people who have a console to pass the time, they are not gamers; these people generally have FIFA/Madden, COD and GTA. RRP for new console games is now £49.99 many of these multi platform games can be had at a much lower price. Even publishers and developers are saying right we need a good pc port for our next title; for example the Dark Souls team promised to up their game with Dark Souls 2 and make a great port for pc unlike the last one. Kojima said Metal Gear Rising on pc is a great port and is even looking into a port of MGS V for pc. Then you take the non traditional big budget games, like Spelunkey or The Stanley Parable, Papers Please...

I believe that the mobile market is also more of a time passer market, candy crush and angry bird type of games you can play for a bit and go back to whatever you where doing; fun but not compelling.

I read more developers are interested and certainly from hearing word of mouth i can say that people are more interested.
 

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#15
I actually tend to agree that the pc gaming market has grown. The market for xbox and playstation is just people who have a console to pass the time, they are not gamers; these people generally have FIFA/Madden, COD and GTA.
Shitsticks this argument has got do go away. They are gamers; no ifs, no butts. It's just retarded.

That aside, 2014 will be an interesting year in many, many ways. Steambox, Mantle, new consoles newly launched, an evergrowing indie market... Good stuff all around.
 
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#16
Microsoft Studios were always a synonymy for quality. Not sure why they stopped in the first place. Midtown Madness 1 and 2, Motocross Madness 2, entire Age of Empires and Age of Mythology series, MechWarrior 3 and much more. All these were a AAA grade games for me and they also received great reviews everywhere.
 

FreedomEclipse

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#17
Shitsticks this argument has got do go away. They are gamers; no ifs, no butts. It's just retarded.
I think what Kieran meant was how people buy a console only just to play CoD then call themselves gamers when they spend less than 2-3hrs per week playing it? I think the correct term is 'casual gamers' because CoD is a game you can stop playing for a few months then pick up again when you feel like it with no real detrimental effect. Same goes for people who play for 30mins in the morning before work or school etc etc

They only play one game but call themselves 'gamers' which isnt entirely correct.

Microsoft Studios were always a synonymy for quality. Not sure why they stopped in the first place. Midtown Madness 1 and 2, Motocross Madness 2, entire Age of Empires and Age of Mythology series, MechWarrior 3 and much more. All these were a AAA grade games for me and they also received great reviews everywhere.
Xbox was the reason they stopped. They didnt have to shutdown or disband those studios but i guess they felt better if all their resources were pooled together and focused on the console market rather than sitting there and collecting dust.

The people who made Microsoft flightsim's actually reformed and made their own studios. you can find them here at Cascade Game Foundry though im not sure if theyve been involved with any projects lately. The made a game called 'infinite scuba' but im not too sure what to make of it... its like a scuba diving sim? o_O
 
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#18
I think what Kieran meant was how people buy a console only just to play CoD then call themselves gamers when they spend less than 2-3hrs per week playing it? I think the correct term is 'casual gamers' because CoD is a game you can stop playing for a few months then pick up again when you feel like it with no real detrimental effect. Same goes for people who play for 30mins in the morning before work or school etc etc

They only play one game but call themselves 'gamers' which isnt entirely correct.
I draw a line at; do you play games recreationally as a hobby? In other words, if you play LoL 2-3 hours a day, you are a gamer. If you play Angry Birds during your bus ride to and from work, sorry, you're not a gamer. The gaming community is the only community where there is no real difference between someone who does it and someone who is a hobbiest. If someone goes to see a movie every few months we don't call them a Cinephile, but in Gaming that's kind of the attitude the powers that be have. The ESA is terrible for that reason. They have all these studies and are commonly cited as the ones who proclaimed "47% of gamers are women". The only problem with their study was that they asked one question to determine if someone is a "gamer", and that was basically "do you ever play video games?". That means basically every person I know classifies as a gaming enthusiast in the ESA's mind, which is stupid.
 
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#19
If you play Angry Birds during your bus ride to and from work, sorry, you're not a gamer.
And if I play Angry Birds (retail version, not mobile or browser) for 10-12 hours a day on my computer?
 
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#20
And if I play Angry Birds (retail version, not mobile or browser) for 10-12 hours a day on my computer?
You would be considered a casual gamer (or maybe a hardcore Angry Birds player, LOL) due to the simplicity of the game in question.
 

FordGT90Concept

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#21
I hate what Microsoft did to FASA Interactive, Digital Anvil (you omitted that one in your list), and especially Lionhead. Digital Anvil made Freelancer which was the only really successful game Digital Anvil produced and...why, you ask was it successful? Because it was "virtually unchanged" due to the Microsoft acquisition and it remained a PC exclusive. All the rest either were abandoned by Microsoft or forced to become Xbox exclusive. Most flopped.

Lionhead had a diverse portfolio prior to the Microsoft acquisition including Black & White, The Movies, and Fable (when it was something unique). The moment Microsoft bought out Lionhead, they scrapped the Windows version of Fable II making it Xbox 360 exclusive. Microsoft course-corrected for Fable III launching the title on both but the entire Fable series after the original was...well, a Halo/Call of Duty exercise (release crap titles rapidly to milk the cash cow). The love was sucked from Lionhead just like Bungie; Peter Molyneux abandoned ship to form 22Cans where he can be creative and adventurous again--and develop for Windows.

Microsoft...there's very little positive to say about them. Windows 8 blows chunks. Xbox One is misguided. They killed off a lot of the good AAA PC title developers. Windows RT and Windows Phone remain locked down so freelance developers have their hands tied. Bing pretends to be Google. The list goes on and on. Microsoft pisses me off.


Piracy is always going to be an issue, I sure as hell have pirated quite a few games in my time but If i decided i really liked the game then i would go out and buy it. Most games these days are multiplayer based. so you need a valid CD Key to be able to get on to their servers. Im guessing 99% of people pay for games because they get access to online play. Piracy is still there but not as bad as it was in the mid 90s and to use it as an excuse not to make games for PC is a bit silly.
Piracy is an issue when they try to fight it. Case in points: Spore, SimCity, Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, Anno 2070, Beyond Good & Evil, and the list goes on. Reviews for all these games tanked because of some DRM issue or another. The best way to counter piracy and make a lot of money in the process is to sell games for a reasonable price. It's hard to justify being a pirate when you can get an AAA game (albeit a while after launch) for the price of a cheeseburger.

Personally, It amaze me how much Steam has grow over the past years, even with new consoles it continues to grow. And Steam is only one service, we also have GOG, Origin, F2P like LoL, WoT, etc.
The reason is simple: sales. Prior to Steam, game sales were unheard of. AAA titles couldn't be had for less than $20 even five years after launch. Now they can be had on GOG or Steam for a fraction of that price. The game industry, prior to Steam, had the same mentality as the MPAA and RIAA. Case in point: a single 4 minute song still can't be had for much less than $0.80. That still adds up to close to $20 per album. Spotify is finally changing that. Amazon is changing the movie market as well.

The game industry has already moved to the 21st century (e.g. Uplay and Origin have had some serious sales offered). The music industry moved to 21st century for a few years (with iTunes) but they regressed to 20th century when they forced all digital retailers into new, bullshit terms (can only buy from up to five devices on one account). The cable and film industries are still predominantly stuck in the 20th century.
 
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#22
I want a new Flight Simulator. A real Flight Simulator, not this "Flight" shit that failed horribly.
 
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#23
I want a new Flight Simulator. A real Flight Simulator, not this "Flight" shit that failed horribly.
Newer iterations of flight remind me of the simplicity of mario party. I have many customers who are pilots of mostly small aircraft and they say is horribly unrealistic.

Microsoft takes good games/studios and dumbs them down for consoles, then wonders why the PC version flops. I hope Mantle is a success for nothing more than to force the hand of MS and other devs to use something more efficient.
 

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#24
Newer iterations of flight remind me of the simplicity of mario party. I have many customers who are pilots of mostly small aircraft and they say is horribly unrealistic.

Microsoft takes good games/studios and dumbs them down for consoles, then wonders why the PC version flops. I hope Mantle is a success for nothing more than to force the hand of MS and other devs to use something more efficient.
"Flight" was a one time thing for Microsoft to try and get back into that realm, but instead it was an Arcade flying game plastered with microtransactions. Flight Simulator X was the last true sim from Microsoft studios. Ive had the pleasure to sit up in the cockpit of a 737 when going to California years ago, and talked to the Co-pilot and told him that I play Flight Simulator on a daily basis, and He specifically said, "If you can fly the jets in that game using all the correct instruments, calling the tower for departure, and landing, and all the various other things, you are on your way to be able to fly the jets in real life."

I have a buddy that has thousands of hours in a Cessna who did go to school to be a commercial airline pilot, but found interest elsewhere, but still flys Cessna's every once and a while, and he plays Flight Simulator to stay sharp.

I also don't think Mantle will force Microsoft to do anything. After all its vaporware right now. But I will not get into the Mantle argument in this thread.
 

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#25
Microsoft takes good games/studios and dumbs them down for consoles, then wonders why the PC version flops. I hope Mantle is a success for nothing more than to force the hand of MS and other devs to use something more efficient.
To be fair it's the same in the entire industry. Some blame should be placed on the devs.