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Microsoft promises core first-party games coming to PC

"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."

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"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."

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.

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From The Chatty

  • reply
    November 6, 2013 9:30 AM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Microsoft promises core first-party games coming to PC.

    "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."

    • reply
      November 6, 2013 9:32 AM

      Give me a break MS you are so full of shit, just shaking in your boots now that Valve is working to remove Windows from the equation. It'll take some time but hopefully I can say "good bye and fuck you" to MS for PC gaming.

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        November 6, 2013 9:39 AM

        It's not just that MS is looking at Valve, there's a ton more pressure on Windows as a gaming platform with the constant grow and near onslaught of mobile gaming. Yes, FPS and RTS aren't big on mobile. But, that's not to say developers won't crack that problem. So, MS has to keep up the evangelism for Windows as the go-to open platform gaming platform.

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          November 6, 2013 9:42 AM

          Makes sense but if Valve can eventually steal PC gamers over to their OS, how huge of a hit is that going to be for MS? I can only speak for myself but the moment the Steam OS gains traction and most if not all future titles will be Steam OS compatible I'm completely done with Windows.

          Gaming is the only reason I have stuck with Windows as long as I have.

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            November 6, 2013 10:32 AM

            If all you do on your PC is game and browse the web it's a sound move, but there's little indication that SteamOS will be more than a games and flavor of the month app portal. Gaming is one of the biggest reasons I personally haven't switched to Linux. My options there are to suffer through WINE, or the tedious duel boot.

            If I can't run Photoshop, Blender, or production software in general on SteamOS, it just won't do for me and my desktop. However a system built with cast off parts for the living room for controller only play would be fine.

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              November 6, 2013 10:34 AM

              Although if I had to go through the trouble to duel boot maybe I'd get more work done...

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              November 6, 2013 11:34 AM

              I don't think SteamOS is intended to be in the office at all. It's intended to be dual boxed - desktop running dev apps and games, and SteamOS running HTPC and games. The threat here is that most consumers aren't running dev apps, so they just need the one box in their living room.

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      November 6, 2013 9:34 AM

      How many times have they said this in the past? Still waiting on a PC version for Halo 3

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        November 6, 2013 9:36 AM

        Exactly it's a completely meaningless Microsoft statement as usual

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        November 6, 2013 9:37 AM

        And FOrza

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        November 6, 2013 9:43 AM

        The stakes are higher now. I think MS is probably more concerned with the Ouya style platform than Steam and gamers migrating to Linux. The low cost of those kinds of gaming platforms can have Wii-style disruption in the marketplace.

        The other issue MS has is that developers have been perpetually stuck in DX9. The new consoles should finally push developers over that hurdle, but then that means games on Windows have to catch up, and not just the ports. I think MS needs to push DX11+ at the Inde level.

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          November 6, 2013 10:53 AM

          ^^^ totally this, as for "I think MS needs to push DX11+ at the Inde level." easy launch XNA5 that has DX11.2 support and works for Xbox One and Windows that would be beyond EPIC the crazy thing is they could easily do this if they wanted to.

          MS has so much power and potential the question is what are they going to do with it?

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            November 6, 2013 11:32 AM

            Part of MS's problem with that is that there has been too much of a hold out on XP, so enough people haven't been able to even load/run beyond DX9. Win 7/8 is probably at enough saturation to skirt that issue, but it may also mean that dev studios aren't just not comfortable to start developing games/tech to require that as a min spec. So then, we'd see those DX11 min spec games in about 2 more years. That's a LONG time at the pace these micro systems are coming out and developing. Gotta figure the next wave is just a few months away and will sport Tegra 4 or even 5 chips in them which will nip at DX11 capabilities if not equal (tegra 5).

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              November 6, 2013 12:04 PM

              Massive point yet again and it is totally true ^^^. But and a big but and I do blame MS they could of solved this easily by actually focusing on the PC a just a little bit and just release a bunch of Xbox 360 first part titles for the PC and require that they need DX11 and even X64, that would of helped push the transition easily to a new DX11 OS.

              Many PC gamers will get a new OS for killer IPs it has been proven and is money in your bank with interest.

              Hmmm how many would of gone to Win7 or 8 if MS released the following:

              Gears of Wars Complete Collateral Damage Edition:

              GOW fans and PC crew rejoice a fully remastered complete series of Gears including 1, 2, 3, 4 graces the PC leveraging UE3.5, DX11, High rez textures and 64bit processing

              Forza MAXIMUM:

              For the first time PC crew get a taste of DX11 chromeage and 64bit acceleration of a remastered complete series of forza on the PC system. So real you can almost taste the tarmac

              HALO from the Heavens Edition

              A complete remastered DX11 high definition experience of the Master Chief that you love and have grown up with. Remastered in brilliant HD and PC exclusives that only the Game gods can provide. This insane combo includes Halo 1, 2, 3, 4, OSD

              Crimson Skies...

              Fable...

              New IP... gasp heaven forbid

              Ms could of easily pulled this off :( and it hurts thinking about it. The old saying if they build it they will come, would of been very true.

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              November 6, 2013 3:04 PM

              Windows XP has been a small subset for a long time already. Yeah, a lot of businesses are still using it, maybe even consumers. But gamers who would actually buy a state of the art game?

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        November 6, 2013 11:14 AM

        Have they? I thought after Halo 2 they just went radio silent on PC games except for Flight

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      November 6, 2013 9:36 AM

      Yes, they're back like every year. The PC will buckle under the load of first party MS games.

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      November 6, 2013 9:36 AM

      We know Titanfall is coming to PC, so they are off o a good start so far. This would be great if they keep it up.

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        November 6, 2013 9:39 AM

        It was also coming to PS4 up until a few weeks ago.

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          November 6, 2013 9:44 AM

          It was? I thought it was an Xbox exclusive?

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            November 6, 2013 9:50 AM

            As far as the developers were aware it was coming to the PS4. A week ago EA made a private deal with Microsoft so that Titanfall 1 would not come to the PS4. It was revealed via a tweet directly from the head of Respawn.

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              November 6, 2013 9:59 AM

              I got the impression from the tweet that not a lot of thought had gone into the PS4 either way. It was more of a "we'll look at it later" kind of thought, and what the developer got surprised by was that a decision was finally made.

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                November 6, 2013 10:03 AM

                You'd also have the problem of the Xbox Cloud, which apparently plays a pretty big role in the game. You'd have to redesign the game and make sure that Sony had some sort of comparable offering. Or pay what is surely a lot of money to have Microsofts cloud support a PS4 game. It's possible that it wasn't so much a private deal as EA not wanting to front the cash for comparatively little returns (since the number of console owners is small the first year, comparatively).

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                  November 6, 2013 10:35 AM

                  It sounds like its just used for dedicated servers. And their cloud technology is likely their own server code, and they just slap it on the Azure instances to run. I'm just speculating but from what I've been reading in their interviews this is likely the case. It would cost money for sure to use it on PS4, but likely not all that much different from EA paying for their own dedicated servers for their sports titles.

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                  November 6, 2013 10:37 AM

                  The thing is Microsoft sells those same cloud services they use on the XboxOne to anyone who wants to buy them. That includes Sony and it's PS4 platform. It wouldn't be hard for developers to put something together.

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        November 6, 2013 10:11 AM

        Titanfall isn't first party, nor is it even published by MS so I'm not sure what that has to do with anything. MS makes this same bullshit promise every couple years and it's never true, and right now it's more unbelievable than ever because it would be illogical to give people less reason to buy an Xbox One given how console-wary things are right now.

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      November 6, 2013 9:44 AM

      I just want the Fable remake and Fable Legends.

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      November 6, 2013 9:46 AM

      Year of the PC!!!!!

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      November 6, 2013 9:47 AM

      hey phil, get fucked.

    • reply
      November 6, 2013 9:52 AM

      A bunch of the XBLA games from microsoft studios have been coming out regularly for steam. So long as that keeps happening, I'm ok with that.

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      November 6, 2013 10:10 AM

      Please guys

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      November 6, 2013 10:28 AM

      Sweet so I don't need an xbox one, thank you PC!

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        November 6, 2013 11:11 AM

        That's kinda what I took away from his statements, too. It all depends on whether Fable and Killer Instinct make the jump to PC. Although I'd expect most fans of fighting games to play on the console.

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          November 6, 2013 11:12 AM

          Obviously, my statements apply to me and what I want. Fable and KI are the only MS-exclusives I'm interested in.

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      November 6, 2013 10:30 AM

      I can't wait for the next shitty Games for Windows platform which they will discontinue after 5 years anyway.

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      November 6, 2013 11:09 AM

      Means nothing if they continue to insist on shipping them only via the windows store or forcing achievements and encrypted saves with awful live integration that mean you lose progress just because you got logged out mid-game.

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      November 6, 2013 11:16 AM

      OK, proof will be if they release another first line Halo game, Gears game, or a Forza on PC. I'm crossing my fingers for the last one there.

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        November 6, 2013 11:38 AM

        Forza on the PC would be fucking amazing.

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          November 6, 2013 11:56 AM

          I think I just came a little

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        November 7, 2013 9:57 AM

        Not just release, but release day-and-date. None of this one-year-delay crap like Fable III.

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      November 6, 2013 1:03 PM

      I'll believe it when I see it.

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      November 7, 2013 11:28 AM

      Microsoft if you were serious about releasing core PC games again you can start with reviving the PC franchises that were killed because they couldn't easily be retooled for the Xbox. I am talking about series like Flight Simulator, Rise of Nations, Age of Empires, and so on. Those free to play games you released a year two ago doesn't count. If you were serious you would have focused on releasing games on both the xbox and the PC at the same time and work on solving the cross-platform multiplayer issues.

      It seems like every year other year microsoft makes these claims and have nothing to show for it.

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        November 7, 2013 12:54 PM

        Just as long as they don't make their games "Windows 8 Only". That would suck.

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      November 7, 2013 1:20 PM

      What keeps Microsoft from being reactionary toward the consumer instead of being a leader in what people want to buy?