Microsoft has hired Jason Holtman, the man who helped make Steam the reference point for digital game distribution, to head up its PC gaming efforts.
Holtman worked at Valve for eight years establishing the Steam service, but he left back in February. Now, he has confirmed to GamesIndustry that he has joined Microsoft where he will be “focusing on making Windows a great platform for gaming and interactive entertainment.”
It’s an interesting move at a time when Microsoft appears to be putting all of its gaming efforts into launching its Xbox One console. Whenever Microsoft has deigned to address PC gaming it’s generally turned out pretty disastrously, such as with the Games for Windows debacle.
Of course, there are signs that PC gaming plays a major part in Microsoft’s immediate future. For one thing, the Xbox One is essentially built out of off-the-shelf mid-range PC parts – with a little customisation – and is expected to focus heavily on Steam-like digital distribution for its games.
Also, Microsoft’s Windows 8 OS comes with its own built-in games store that aims to provide titles for a range of PCs and tablets hardware. With the right guidance it could be a huge gaming outlet.
A major part of Holtman’s role at Valve was liaising with developers who distributed their games through the Steam service, so he brings an enviable contacts list to his new Microsoft role as he strives to restore Microsoft’s PC gaming credentials.
Next, read our Xbox One vs PS4 comparison feature.