Does Microsoft really care about PC gaming?

Sure Microsoft has been saying for while that they do care about PC gaming and that it’s an important aspect that they want to get back into. But lets think about that for a moment and actually take a look at Microsoft’s track record. Sure they’ve been involved in the Pc gaming market, had several titles under their wings; Flight Simulator, Mech Warrior, Midtown Madness, Halo Wars (Loved this game), Age of Mythology, just to name a few. They even had their own PC gaming controller line-up, does anyone remember the SideWinder gamepad and Joystick? I sure do, I owned several of them. So it’s not that Microsoft hasn’t been involved in the PC gaming market and they were a huge part of it once upon ago.

That is until they got into the gaming console market. With the launch of the original Xbox (not Xbox One) Microsoft’s PC gaming support pretty much ended up life support and all their efforts were focused on the Xbox. But every now and then you would hear Microsoft state that they hadn’t abandoned PC gaming and that they were committed to both it and the Xbox. But in the end they were just empty words, words that would be echoed for the next 10 years with no real fruit.

Geez, when will the lies end? Ok, that was a bit cruel but it’s the truth folks!

Seems to be the only platform MS is focused on these days.

Seems to be the only platform MS is focused on these days.

To their credit they did give us Microsoft Games for Windows Live but from one gamer to another, that platform was such a mess it was avoided as much as humanly possible but they also shut down Essemble Studios. And for those in the know, Ensemble Studios was perhaps the most important development branch in Microsoft that was committed to PC gaming, so to shutter them didn’t send a signal that they “cared” about the scene.
Now we can add yet another comment from Xbox’s  Phil Spencer on Microsoft’s commitment to PC gaming via a recent twitter post that he made.

So while that tweet did give me a little hope in MS supporting my gaming platform of choice, this feels exactly like that few times that they said this. Especially when that said support is headlined by the release of their new and upcoming OS release. They said it back during the Vista OS release and then again with Windows 7. That trend continued on in Windows 8 with the addition of DirectX 11.1, which was not support in Vista and we’re about to get on that ride again with Windows 10 and DirectX 12 which won’t be supported by Windows 7. Don’t get me wrong as I’m all for MS giving PC gamers more love but I feel that the whole DirectX 12 is cool and is coming to Windows 10 is just another ploy to get them to sell more copies of the OS. There are things that they can do NOW to help fix the divide that exists now.

What can MS do to address the lack of PC gaming support?

First and foremost, look at what Sony is doing. Street Fighter 5 is a huge and prime example as it’s coming to both the PlayStation 4 and PC. That’s a major flagship title that will be hitting the PC and Sony doesn’t appear to be phased by this as they know that both PS4 and PC gamers are going to pick up the title. This is where Microsoft has to pay attention, especially since they have a huge library of IPs that they can bring to the platform. And I’m not talking about old ass games like Halo 3 (Remember that Halo 2 release back in 2007?) but the same stuff that they are releasing for the Xbox One now.

Want my suggestions on what you should do Microsoft?

  1. Cross-buy: This would be a welcomed option that would allow gamers to purchase Xbox One games and being able to play them on the PC and vice versa. Pick up Forza 5 on the Xbox One and being able to play it on the PC. Trust me MS, you’d pick up a ton of fans doing this alone.
  2. Cross-platform play: If you end up giving us the same games as Xbox One then will not let us play with them? I’m gonna point out that Street Fighter 5 deal again since it will support cross-platform play with the PS4 and PC. Microsoft, you have Killer Instinct, Forza Motosport, Forza Horizons and Gears of War for crying out loud! Four of Microsofts biggest titles that would be right at home on the PC.  Give us that and give us cross-platform play!
  3. Put your titles on Steam: Seriously Microsoft, this a no-brainer! Steam is without the doubt the most well known and supported platform for PC gamers. We practically live there! Tons of sales, integrated Steamworks support, achievements. Give up with GFWL and move your stuff to Steam, you and Gabe need to make up for the best interest of PC gamers.
  4. WIRELESS XBOX CONTROLLER SUPPORT: Damn it Microsoft, if you do one thing on this list it would have to be this. I love the Xbox One controller (http://staging01.theouterhaven.net/love-hate-relationship-microsofts-xbox-one-controller) but I hate using a USB cable to use it on my PC. Imagine how much more money you’d get as well, do this… NOW! I mean, unless you’re fine with us using the Sony Dual Shock 4 via Bluetooth, since it works just fine.
  5. First party support / exclusive titles: Same thing that applies to a console applies here. We want exclusives or at the very least a title or two that is promoted towards to the PC gaming market. It’s not unheard of, especially since the PC is home to a lot of games and genres that this isn’t so far fetched. How awesome would it be for Microsoft to announce something and show it off at E3 2015 for the PC?
  6. Extend Games for Gold to the PC: Pretty self explanatory! Everyone loves a deal and it’s been working for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One, so why not extend it over to the PC?

So no Phil, as much as I want to believe I simply can’t. Microsoft has pushed their lies into the hearts of PC gamers for years upon years and yet you expect to tell us that there will be talks of what’s ahead? On top of that you don’t even mention the current status with Windows 7 and Windows 8, but only Windows 10 which isn’t even out. You need to worry about now or there won’t be a later. PC’s are more than just a machine that sits under a desk anymore. There are SFF , HTPC and even gaming laptop’s that run the gauntlet as gaming PC’s that allow gamers to do everything that a full fledged PC can do and more. Even further many of those are being used on either multiple monitor setups or freaking huge LCD/LED TVs. As a owner of both current generation consoles my PC still gets 90% of my gaming time and yes I play on both a 34 inch 21:9 ratio monitor (LG 34UM94-P) and a 55 inch plasma TV. And for those out there wondering if i’m bragging, I am not. Just wanted to dispel that silly ass myth that PC games are only played on small monitors while people hunch over on their desks.

My gaming SSF PC. Ain't she a beaut?

My gaming SSF PC. Ain’t she a beaut?

But that aside, I would love for Microsoft and Phil to make me a believer again, but if they can turn around the Xbox One’s position then maybe there’s hope yet.. Hell if you want to put some PC exclusive titles out there or want some suggestions, hit me up anytime and we’ll talk.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I got to go back to playing Shadow of Mordor….  on my PC!

Sources: Neogaf, PCGamer, Edge Online, Kotaku, Shacknews, Polygon, Eurogamer, Gamespot

About The Author

Keith Mitchell
Editor-in-chief and all-around good guy!

Keith Mitchell is the Founder and Editor in Chief of The Outerhaven. A grizzled IT professional during the day, but a passionate lover of video games after his 9-5 grid. Loves playing the Dark Souls series and has been gaming since he was 6 years old. You can find him on Twitter as @Shadowhaxor or you can email her at keith.mitchell@theouterhaven.net.