Steam vet aims to make 'Windows a great platform for gaming'

With Xbox One on the horizon, it seemed as though Microsoft had given up

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With Xbox One on the horizon, it seemed as though Microsoft had given up the hardcore PC games market. Perhaps yet another 180 is in order, as Microsoft's latest hire suggests a renewed interest in PC games.

Jason Holtman has joined Microsoft. His goal is to focus "on making Windows a great platform for gaming and interactive entertainment." But who is he? Oh, he helped spearhead Steam.

In a profile on GI.biz, Holtman is credited with signing third-party publishers to sell their games directly on Steam. He also helped make Steam sales possible, by convincing publishers that the deep discounts wouldn't devalue their IP.

Due to his contributions, Steam has quite the stranglehold on the PC games market. In fact, a number of publishers have switched from Microsoft's oft-criticized Games for Windows initiative to Steam. With Valve increasingly interested in Linux, and vocally critical of Windows 8, Microsoft's latest hire could be one step to for Microsoft to regain its footing in the PC games market.

From The Chatty

  • reply
    August 15, 2013 11:30 AM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Steam vet aims to make 'Windows a great platform for gaming'.

    With Xbox One on the horizon, it seemed as though Microsoft had given up

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      August 15, 2013 11:31 AM

      like it's not the best platform already? This sounds like he is fishing for investors

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        August 15, 2013 12:01 PM

        I don't think its fishing for investors. Its more likely they are trying to stop the erosion of the windows platform as a whole. For a lot of people the only reason they use Windows is because of some killer app or service they can't get on other platforms. For some people games are the killer app and others its office and so on. Lately there has been a huge push for OS-agnostic software that is ported to as many OS as economically feasible to do so.

        Microsoft is losing mind share because they are currently 3rd in the mobile/tablet space, the overall decline of the desktop PC, and then you have the public reception of Windows 8. Lot of games on PC from Indie to some AAA level stuff being ported to Linux and Mac as well. They can't really afford to stick their head in the sand and pretend that isn't happening.

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          August 16, 2013 2:00 AM

          This will be one of the only rational replies in this thread. Despite their missteps on the past, this sounds like Microsoft is actually trying to make things right when it comes to Windows as a gaming platform.

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      August 15, 2013 11:32 AM

      Same link on "numbers" and "publishers" words.

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      August 15, 2013 12:02 PM

      please, just let GFWL die. forever.

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      August 15, 2013 12:10 PM

      The tough thing will be brand rehab. Selling games digitally is easy. Being the most trusted by a bunch of angry gamers isn't.

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      August 15, 2013 12:16 PM

      My challenge to Holtman is this: make me not want to stay on Windows 7 forever. And no, Windows RT won't meet that goal. Chris Early and Kevin Unangst did tons to make Microsoft an antagonist in the PC keyboard and mouse market. Microsoft Studios can't even release an actual PC game anymore, due to marching orders from past regimes of XBox-drunk execs (see Microsoft Flight, Halo Spartan Assault, the casual AoE game, cancelling Alan Wake PC, Halo Wars being the last gasp of Ensemble, shutting down ACES... ugh).

      Also, ditch the entire "Games for Windows Technical Requirements" initiative. PC developers hate MS's cert process delays and costs; that's why they fled GFWL (and XBox Games for Windows) and moved to Steam.

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        August 15, 2013 1:30 PM

        Shutting down ACES was my biggest fuck Microsoft moment ever.

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      August 15, 2013 12:23 PM

      just team up with valve for fucks sake

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        August 15, 2013 12:45 PM

        I don't think they'd ever team up, especially considering that Valve was formed from several ex-Microsoft employees.

        Also, Microsoft's strategy for Windows 8 games was "you must have a Live account." It is unfathomable to them that a user would not want to create one, despite the Windows division having to support that scenario. I'm awaiting Holtman's response to "I have a Steam account, but don't want a Live account; why should I place faith in your initiative?"

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          August 15, 2013 1:30 PM

          lol what is wrong with requiring a live account? You need an account for everything.

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            August 15, 2013 1:31 PM

            No we don't.

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            August 15, 2013 4:04 PM

            Let me change the email that I use for that account. My login is that of an email I haven't used in 5 years. Hotmail FTL

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            August 15, 2013 6:29 PM

            I'm mostly okay with an account. You're pretty much making one when you setup Windows for the first time, and most people leave the default to require a password. Fine. But at no point is there a reason to insist that I have to attach that account to an online identity.

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            August 15, 2013 6:37 PM

            I don't want a login on any Microsoft-offered service. I got Steam already; that's enough for me.

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              August 15, 2013 8:44 PM

              For me it's not the multiple logins to play games, it's about the value of service I expect to get from Microsoft. Hell, they'll limit a game to their brand new Operating System for no other reason but to make you shell out $60 for a game and $120 for a new OS because they can. They've done it before, pulled the same attitude with console gamers on the xbox one and are eating crow right now. But that culture of arrogance is still there. It doesn't go away over night.

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        August 16, 2013 2:01 AM

        That doesn't sound like a good idea to me, monopolies are never good things.

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      August 15, 2013 12:24 PM

      It would be interesting if he flipped this upside down and announced a partnership with Valve to provide gaming services.

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      August 15, 2013 12:47 PM

      Thinking he resigns in a year. Hope I'm wrong.

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      August 15, 2013 1:00 PM

      The best thing Microsoft could do is nothing at all. If they come out with something else like GfWL it'll just damage PC gaming and reduce the number of games you can buy.

      Please Microsoft, just stay away!

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        August 15, 2013 3:33 PM

        That might be their idea, to damage PC in favor of consoles.
        They already used GFWL and DX10 to boost their Xbox 360 sales back in that days. Or at least there are a lot of reasons to think they did that on purpose.

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          August 16, 2013 2:04 AM

          The level of paranoia some gamers have is hilarious to me.

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            August 16, 2013 4:32 AM

            Its just curious that the directx launched after the xbox 360, was that huge of a failure, just like windows 8, you know when they tried to move us all to tablets / touch devices.

            And how they at first supported pc with gears of war 1 or the first halo (this one was pretty good optimized) and then they started not doing them for pc, or doing laughable ports like the halo 2 one.

            You just had to see the rapid declieve in players in all GFWL games compared to non GFWL ones too.
            If you see how much damage its doing to the games with GFWL logo, and how their certification process crippled the games production cycle, and after release with having to certificate patches too; you just don't let it like that so many years without a purpose.

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      August 16, 2013 1:57 AM

      It already is a great platform for gaming, we have Steam.

      Leave it alone, Microsoft...you don't know what you're doing, as evidenced by the travesty that is GFWL.

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      August 16, 2013 2:33 AM

      FRAGMENTATION. Great platform bro.