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Microsoft Says Valve is Keeping the PC Ecosystem Strong

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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  • dotaloc
    Pretty objective comments, considering the source. I'm impressed.
    Reply
  • Bloob
    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.
    Reply
  • Hando567
    This is what PR SHOULD be like, honest meaningful opinions. Not a bunch of hyped up marketing garbage.
    Reply
  • dgingeri
    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!"
    Reply
  • Yuka
    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!
    Reply
  • JD88
    12156407 said:
    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
    Reply
  • dgingeri
    My company writes server software based on Linux. We don't have to jump through any legal hurdles or employ a bunch of lawyers.
    Reply
  • Avus
    yes, Valve may face a uphill battle for pushing gaming in Linux platform, but it is an uphill battle with almost no competition!!!
    Reply
  • Yuka
    12156487 said:
    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!
    Reply
  • bluestar2k11
    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.
    Reply