Microsoft: Simultaneous PC, 360 Releases Would 'Shoot Ourselves in the Foot' Due to PC Popularity

By Chris Faylor, Jul 01, 2008 9:12am PDT Simultaneously releasing a major first-party game on PC and Xbox 360 in Germany would "basically shoot [Microsoft] in the foot" due to the popularity of the PC platform, Microsoft Game Studios European business director Peter Zetterberg has stated.

"If we launched a Halo game on PC and 360 in Germany simultaneously, 80 per cent of sales would be on the PC," he told "We basically shoot ourselves in the foot by allowing the German market to choose to play the PC version."

Though Zetterberg seems to indicate that Microsoft is intentionally limiting the PC market to further its console business--echoing an accusation made by World of Warcraft developer Blizzard--the executive claimed that both platforms are "equally important" on a global scale.

However, he noted that "in some territories we need to make the games for the 360 to increase the sales there," justifying that rationale because "the PC has a much wider use, it's so established, it's so dominating."

While some other publishers and developers simultaneously release games on multiple consoles and PC, Microsoft has a long history of publishing PC ports of console games long after their debut.

The original Halo hit Xbox in 2001 but didn't arrive on PC until 2003. Halo 2 debuted on Xbox in 2004, the PC version didn't arrive until 2007. Fable released on Xbox in 2004 and PC a year later

However, one exception arises: last year's simultaneous PC and Xbox 360 release of FASA's multiplayer shooter Shadowrun, after which the internal studio was closed.

Despite the apparent business preference for Xbox 360, Zetterberg noted that he doesn't let that get in the way when he's dealing with game pitches.

"I've had an RTS game pitched to me on the 360," he revealed. "As they pitch, clearly this is not a good idea to do it on the Xbox 360. But their argument was that they could potentially sell more on the console because it's more of a mass market machine than the PC. We suggested that they came back with a PC pitch. "

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23 Threads* | 71 Comments

  • Extremely simple logic to follow, whether you choose to read between the lines or their lip service. The reason they release on the 360 first is first and foremost, piracy. They will move a lot more units on the 360 as a timed release whereas someone who really wants X game sees it for both systems, fire up your favorite BitTorrent client and you're playing it within hours, and they spent no money on the game. I know people will say you can pirate on the 360 as well, but it's a hell of a lot harder and not as mainstream as PC piracy is.

  • Im getting sick and tired of MS's attitude to PC gamers such as myself. While I can understand the business rationale behind it, Microsoft is hardly a poor company and they can afford to cater for PC gamers.... DX10 is a total sham since there hasn't been one game built up from the ground for DX10 only. I really hope that developers look to OpenGL and OpenCL and leave Direct X in the dust.Unreal Engine 3 is already optimized for OpenGL. Nvidia and ATI already support OpenGL. That will be the beginning of the end for the Windows OS as we know it and more power to Mac OS X and Linux. Bill Gates leaving MS = decline of Microsoft and rise of Apple and Linux distros...

  • Seriously, you could have asked. PC gaming dominating in germany is an old hat. Sometimes games for PC sell more units around here than in the US, although the population is like a quarter (80millions vs 350million or whatever you have ;) )

    I also think I read a couple times how the average gaming PC around here is way more powerful than an US gamer PC. (actually the wording usually is exactly the opposite, since that was a little shocker for some here.)

    On the other hand, online platforms and webbased gaming are a topic which seems to be far from the acceptance it has in other places. This might change though, since Valve recently did a couple things to enhance it's support for germany, personally I really look forward to "uncensored" non german versions on steam. Go Valve! ;)