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Microsoft Says Valve is Keeping the PC Ecosystem Strong

By - Source: VentureBeat | B 35 comments

Microsoft provides a nod of approval to Valve.

Microsoft Studios vice president Phil Spencer recently admitted to Venturebeat that the company could have been more focused on what was going on in PC gaming.

With Games for Windows Live virtually dead, the company's PC gaming plans up in the air, and the Xbox One gearing up for a retail release, all eyes are now focused on what Valve is doing with Steam Machines. Even Microsoft corporate vice president Phil Harrison said the company would keep a close eye on Valve's initiative, but Spencer seems more congratulatory.

"Valve is right down the street from us. They've done a great job of keeping the PC ecosystem strong at a time where I don't mind saying that we could have been more focused on what was going on in PC gaming," Spencer noted.

In an interview with Venturebeat, he admitted that Microsoft has neglected PC gaming, and even suggested that the company should have made a distribution platform in Steam's likeness. "We were probably too focused purely on console," Spencer said. "With Steam, [Valve has] done an amazing job of building this thing that, in a lot of ways, we should have been building as well at Microsoft."

Agreed. Other companies have taken the hint such as Electronic Arts with Origin, Ubisoft with Uplay, GamersGate, GameFly and a few others. Yet so far none have been able to match the popularity and the amount of content found in Valve's Steam platform. Still, despite the success, Spencer believes that Valve will face an uphill battle with its push for Linux. Of course, this opinion comes from a Windows-based company; whether that is true or not remains to be seen.

"This is where I think they're going to have to do quite a bit of work," he said. "There is a difference between being a game developer, running a store, and being a platform company. That's an evolutionary jump. They made the jump from building Half-Life to having a set of franchises to running Steam. They did a good job of learning through that."

"Now they're taking the next job to become a platform company — in some sense a hardware company, but in the truest sense more of an OS company. That's not an easy transition," he added.

Valve made its Steam Machines initiative official back in September, and is now sending out beta units of Steam Machine prototypes. The company, which started out as a developer of Half-Life back in the 90s, plans to announce its Steam Machines partners at CES 2014 in January. The actual products are slated to arrive sometime next year.

"They're smart. They've been through it. I think they can do it. But I think it will take time," he said.

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Top Comments
  • 19 Hide
    dgingeri , December 11, 2013 10:34 AM
    There is a distinct difference in the ways Microsoft and Intel welcome competition. Microsoft welcomes them in with a slap on the back knowing competition expands the industry and encourages advancement and innovation. Intel welcomes competition with a swift stab in the back and shouting to their customers "Do business with them and you'll never do business with us again!"
  • 16 Hide
    Hando567 , December 11, 2013 10:31 AM
    This is what PR SHOULD be like, honest meaningful opinions. Not a bunch of hyped up marketing garbage.
  • 13 Hide
    dotaloc , December 11, 2013 10:20 AM
    Pretty objective comments, considering the source. I'm impressed.
Other Comments
    Display all 35 comments.
  • 13 Hide
    dotaloc , December 11, 2013 10:20 AM
    Pretty objective comments, considering the source. I'm impressed.
  • 4 Hide
    Bloob , December 11, 2013 10:24 AM
    Seems like a very honest opinion and I totally agree, on both MS needing to give PC gaming more attention and Valve having a difficult path with SteamOS.
  • 16 Hide
    Hando567 , December 11, 2013 10:31 AM
    This is what PR SHOULD be like, honest meaningful opinions. Not a bunch of hyped up marketing garbage.
  • 19 Hide
    dgingeri , December 11, 2013 10:34 AM
    There is a distinct difference in the ways Microsoft and Intel welcome competition. Microsoft welcomes them in with a slap on the back knowing competition expands the industry and encourages advancement and innovation. Intel welcomes competition with a swift stab in the back and shouting to their customers "Do business with them and you'll never do business with us again!"
  • -7 Hide
    Yuka , December 11, 2013 10:44 AM
    Well, the only worry on Linux (SteamOS) is that Valve will have to dedicate half their yearly budget to lawyers... If not more. That will cut into other R&D they have.

    Cheers!
  • 12 Hide
    JD88 , December 11, 2013 10:48 AM
    Quote:
    There is a distinct difference in the ways Microsoft and Intel welcome competition. Microsoft welcomes them in with a slap on the back knowing competition expands the industry and encourages advancement and innovation. Intel welcomes competition with a swift stab in the back and shouting to their customers "Do business with them and you'll never do business with us again!"


    Oh really?

    So what's this then?

    http://www.scroogled.com/chromebook
  • 4 Hide
    dgingeri , December 11, 2013 10:49 AM
    My company writes server software based on Linux. We don't have to jump through any legal hurdles or employ a bunch of lawyers.
  • 8 Hide
    Avus , December 11, 2013 10:52 AM
    yes, Valve may face a uphill battle for pushing gaming in Linux platform, but it is an uphill battle with almost no competition!!!
  • 7 Hide
    Yuka , December 11, 2013 10:55 AM
    Quote:
    My company writes server software based on Linux. We don't have to jump through any legal hurdles or employ a bunch of lawyers.


    Sure, just stay away from rectangles with rounded corners and you'll be safe.

    Cheers!
  • 6 Hide
    bluestar2k11 , December 11, 2013 10:56 AM
    I agree Microsoft needs to pay more attention to the Pc market that helped their gaming division exist, what they don't need to do however is continue to try and push out a useless digital system for PC that nobody likes. We have enough as it is.

    But I hope that SteamOS takes off and pushes Linux as a leading gaming OS. It will be awhile, but one can hope for the future.
  • 3 Hide
    KenTX , December 11, 2013 10:58 AM
    "Valve is right down the street from us. They've done a great job of keeping the PC ecosystem strong at a time where I don't mind saying that we could have been more focused on what was going on in PC gaming," Spencer noted."

    Translated: "Valve is right down the street from us and is really causing a whole lot of grief because we are trying to kill the openness of the PC to force people over to the Xbox and into our app store. We could have been more focused on what was going on in PC gaming but we were more focused on forcing people into the Windows 8 Metro paradigm so that we can have more control over the market where we are not doing well in mobile and to also lock up software development in the Windows space. We really prefer to distort a market using our monopoly in the Windows demographic over competing and we really would prefer to have that all locked up just like we do on Xbox." Spencer noted."

    Sorry Spence... your not fooling anyone over here.
  • 4 Hide
    timetravelingtrevor , December 11, 2013 10:58 AM
    In Valve we trust...
  • 5 Hide
    Innocent_Bystander , December 11, 2013 11:00 AM
    "yes, Valve may face a uphill battle for pushing gaming in Linux platform, but it is an uphill battle with almost no competition!!! "

    No competition in the Linux space, but:
    - There is Windows and the entire Steam library already working there... that's a major hurdle
    EA, Ubisoft and Blizzard will have to make similar moves before Linux gaming becomes viable for the masses. Steam, as good as they are, can't provide the whole package.
    - Consoles and their exclusives.

    Ultimately Steam on Windows is SteamOS' worst enemy. Why would I jump to a Linux based system when ALL publishers and Steam work just fine on Windows?

    Someone answer me that question and then we can have a debate about viability and competition.

    IB
  • 4 Hide
    JD88 , December 11, 2013 11:06 AM
    Quote:
    "yes, Valve may face a uphill battle for pushing gaming in Linux platform, but it is an uphill battle with almost no competition!!! "

    No competition in the Linux space, but:
    - There is Windows and the entire Steam library already working there... that's a major hurdle
    EA, Ubisoft and Blizzard will have to make similar moves before Linux gaming becomes viable for the masses. Steam, as good as they are, can't provide the whole package.
    - Consoles and their exclusives.

    Ultimately Steam on Windows is SteamOS' worst enemy. Why would I jump to a Linux based system when ALL publishers and Steam work just fine on Windows?

    Someone answer me that question and then we can have a debate about viability and competition.

    IB


    Steam OS isn't intended to be a replacement for Windows. It's a simple console OS for the living room.

    You would use Linux because you don't have to pay a licensing fee or use Windows, which is a major drawback for many in itself.

    To the average person (especially gamers) Windows offers no real advantage over Linux and yet it costs $100+ which is money that could be better spent on hardware.
  • -1 Hide
    mauller07 , December 11, 2013 11:14 AM
    And now with AMD helping to kill Directx with Mantle we can all start to progress and get the games we should have had on pc for the last 10 years.

    OpenGL is just as bad and has just as many short comings as Directx that mantle removes before anyone mentions OpenGL.
  • 2 Hide
    Innocent_Bystander , December 11, 2013 11:19 AM
    There is already big picture mode on top of windows so you can turn it into a living,room PC. You can also install xbmc as a 10ft interface. It costs $100 more but it,runs everything without compatibility issues (wine
    ...) so as far as I'm concerned that's a 100 well spent, especially if you are a gamer who likes his AAA titles. To say that Windows doesn't hold an advantage over Linux for gamers means you are ignoring the vast majority of games...

    I wish them the best but I don't see this going anywhere meaningful anytime soon.
  • 0 Hide
    biohazrdfear , December 11, 2013 11:28 AM
    I'm glad to see Microsoft complimenting Valve about this, rather than bashing on them...which is something I would have expected.
  • 2 Hide
    burkhartmj , December 11, 2013 11:41 AM
    Quote:
    "yes, Valve may face a uphill battle for pushing gaming in Linux platform, but it is an uphill battle with almost no competition!!! "

    No competition in the Linux space, but:
    - There is Windows and the entire Steam library already working there... that's a major hurdle
    EA, Ubisoft and Blizzard will have to make similar moves before Linux gaming becomes viable for the masses. Steam, as good as they are, can't provide the whole package.
    - Consoles and their exclusives.

    Ultimately Steam on Windows is SteamOS' worst enemy. Why would I jump to a Linux based system when ALL publishers and Steam work just fine on Windows?

    Someone answer me that question and then we can have a debate about viability and competition.

    IB


    I think what makes SteamOS compelling to me at least is that fact that A] It has no desire to replace Windows. Its goal seems more to be to provide a gaming oriented free OS for a dedicated console experience on a standard computer. B] It can stream any game you own in Steam and have on a Windows machine to the console over your network, cementing it as a companion OS [rather than competition] and removing the limitation of not having Windows natively on the computer.

    If you have a spare license of Windows 7 or 8 lying around [like me and I'm sure many of us], then I doubt Valve would bat an eye at you setting up a Windows based console using big picture mode, but for those that don't have a license lying around for something that will only ever play games and stream content, this seems to be an incredibly well made free alternative.
  • -5 Hide
    ta152h , December 11, 2013 11:43 AM
    Microsoft might be too late to save themselves, although at least they appear to understand they are an almost irrelevant company now.

    Chrome OS and Android are gaining market share, and there's no stopping it. It's too late. They're quickly achieving critical mass, and once that happens Microsoft's market share losses will increase more rapidly.

    You can't charge upward of $60-80 for something another company is giving for free, once that free 'part' works well enough and has industry support. That's the problem, now Chrome OS and Android are viable, and becoming moreso all the time. And gaining market share, so gaining more support, etc...

    Microsoft learned too slowly. Too late. They lowered OEM prices too late. They decided to make the next Windows 8 what people were asking for, after a couple of years of putting that absurd Metro rubbish on it.

    It's too late for Microsoft. They'll have to runt off, a diminished and beaten company, and pay homage to Google, as their victor. It's already happening in big numbers in consumer devices, and although their losses in corporate are very slow, they will eventually speed up, although that's a few years off, at least.

    But, rejoice in their impending death. You youngsters don't know what an evil company Microsoft was. And no, they didn't invite competition. They did everything, illegal and otherwise, to kill competition, and were duly fined for it. They're a thoroughly wicked company, who's defeats have only recently humbled them. But, make no mistake, they're the worst of the worst.

    I'll give on example. There was a time, before they were fined for it, that MIcrosoft would make any OEM PC maker to pay for a license for Windows whether the machine sold with Windows on it, or not. For example, if they sold an OS/2 box, they'd have to pay the OS/2 OS cost, and even pay for Windows at the full cost. That applied to ANY OS. If you didn't want to do that, you couldn't sell a machine with Windows. So, of course, everyone had to agree to it.

    Read about what they did to Netscape. How about all the other Office competitors. Networking competitors? Yup, Microsoft h as been the most backward, and destructive computer company in the industry, and has set the world back due to destroying companies with better technologies, illegally.

    Now, the weenies try to say how wonderful they are. Good grief, learn something first, and then tell us how good they were and are. They're the worst of the worst, and the computer industry has suffered because of it.

    Now they're done for, and can't stop innovation. It's a good thing, don't weep for this dying cretin. The industry will evolve as it should, rather than deal with absurdities like Windows 8, or counter-intuitive and obnoxious software like Office and Internet Explorer.

  • 0 Hide
    jimmysmitty , December 11, 2013 12:31 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    "yes, Valve may face a uphill battle for pushing gaming in Linux platform, but it is an uphill battle with almost no competition!!! "

    No competition in the Linux space, but:
    - There is Windows and the entire Steam library already working there... that's a major hurdle
    EA, Ubisoft and Blizzard will have to make similar moves before Linux gaming becomes viable for the masses. Steam, as good as they are, can't provide the whole package.
    - Consoles and their exclusives.

    Ultimately Steam on Windows is SteamOS' worst enemy. Why would I jump to a Linux based system when ALL publishers and Steam work just fine on Windows?

    Someone answer me that question and then we can have a debate about viability and competition.

    IB


    Steam OS isn't intended to be a replacement for Windows. It's a simple console OS for the living room.

    You would use Linux because you don't have to pay a licensing fee or use Windows, which is a major drawback for many in itself.

    To the average person (especially gamers) Windows offers no real advantage over Linux and yet it costs $100+ which is money that could be better spent on hardware.


    Windows offers a direct line of support for their products including free patches and updates for the life of the OS and a toll free number to call when you have an issue. That is on top of the internet community such as TechNet, MSDN and other Windows dedicated groups that offer great support and help fixing issues.

    Linux does not have that since it is free. It has a internet community but it also requires more advanced technical skill. Even the most dumbed down user friendly version of Linux, Ubuntu, requires you to kill the X/GUI (or whatever they decide to call it) and use sudo admin commands to install drivers from hardware devs. And if you can't do that, you don't get proper multi monitor support for example and in the process the GUI can be destroyed.

    Each has their place but Windows is easier for networks in businesses due to the integration of so much while Linux serves best as a server/firewall.
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