Xbox's Phil Spencer says Microsoft 'lost our way with PC gaming'

At the PC Gaming Show, head of Xbox Phil Spencer admitted how Microsoft may not have given PC gaming the attention it deserves, and how the Redmond giant is looking to rectify the situation in Windows 10.

I wanted to have the opportunity to come here, because there have been times in our past where Microsoft has maybe lost our way with PC gaming. But what people have done on PC is critical to our success, and critical to Windows' success. So it's great to get the opportunity to come here and talk directly to the fans and the press.

Spencer stressed on the common ecosystem underpinning Windows 10, stating that the platform is designed to assist developers in making games for Windows:

We have Windows 10 coming out in July, and one of the early moves was to make it a free upgrade. Really, we thought about that from a developers' standpoint, that as developers look at a common ecosystem, with everybody on one version of Windows, it just makes it easier for people who are developing games. Building DirectX 12 and making it common across our platform, and Xbox Live with the same API set and same service – we're just trying to make it easier for developers as they're developing Windows games."

With the Xbox One also set to receive the Windows 10 update this fall, the subject of cross-platform titles was broached:

There are a lot of opportunities for cross-platform, but I also think there are games that exist on a television, and there are games that exist with a keyboard and mouse on the PC. It's not our job to dictate where games are developed or the kinds of games developers want to build. But giving developers the options, the opportunity, creating the widest canvas we can for creativity – what I've seen, in my time in the gaming space, is that that leads to the best games. And I think that's why we're all here.

With Windows 10, Microsoft will be looking to put PC gaming front and center, and DirectX 12 will play a major role in that. The coming months should be very interesting.

Source: Windows

104 Comments
  • I'm very excited for the future of PC gaming.
  • Me too
  • Can't blame them for ignoring PC gaming with all the piracy going on. Xbox needs exclusive games. If they bring all those exclusive games to PC, I would sell my Xbox and get a Playstation.
  • Did you see e3? The tech diff of lets say a fallout 4 running in ps4 or xbone..now have a look at the same game running on a pc...and you will know the diff. Sure there's piracy...but there are people like me..even from countries like India that buy a game...GTA V sold out here in a local store..all400-500 copies in a matter of few hours...same happened with Witcher 3...devs cant complain about piracy when they bring a shitty port like assassins creed unity that takes a year to run smooth...
  • I think piracy will be history because great service Steam! All those Sales. You can get games in prices like 2 - 5€. I rather pay that than go search torrents and get some malvares... And Steam is just great service.
  • LOL yeah sure, because piracy exists only on the PC; and anyway only an idiot would risk potential malware when you can get a lot of PC games for damn cheap during Steam sales.
  • Bingo!!!!
  • Piracy is rife on PC though, only an idiot would suggest otherwise. Come on, we all in our former lives, or know someone who sits there with either Bit Torrents running or pulling illegal sh*t from Usenet. You only have to look at VG Chartz and how most games sell on console a factor of 10 over PC. I am a PC and console gamer, I have no axe to grind. I personally won't Torrent, but there are literally millions who will Torrent PC games (and movies and music)
  • What? Why would that make you get a playstation? The exclusives would still be on Xbox and PC.
  • They should get rid of exclusives altogether, but I'd be satisfied with W10 exclusives instead of Xbox :)
  • Hi, someone could invite me to xbox one preview?? Xxcomoglioxx. Thanks!!!
  • Sure trevywankenobi is my gamer tag add me
  • On Linux - yes. On Windows - only if you like the almost-walled garden that is the XBox environment. I'm honestly not sure what MS can possibly contribute to gaming on PC that is actually not just a feature that looks interesting at first but gets annoying very soon.
  • Oh, and Linux does what for gaming that Windows doesnt exactly? Just because its open source doesnt always mean its better, I'm not sure what's with this generation and having to "stick it to the man" with open source software :s
  • Read up, then open your mouth. The summary of your nonsense is basically: "I have no idea what I'm talking about"
  • Whereas you Qwark Dreams have layed out your argument and point with such a fine level of detail. Yup, you won me over alright.
  • My point is that MS ignored PC gamers for the most part in the past years (just being able to play games on Windows doesn't really count as "supporting gamers"). People were never satisfied with Games for Windows Live and it turned out to be a pain in the ass (some games were just annoying to install or even failed to install because of GfWL). When MS realized this (after not trying to improve and make the situation better) they just abandoned it, leaving some PC gamers with unplayable games (not every game got a transition to Steam). I'm completely aware that Linux is still not an alternative for most people (not all programs work/are available for Linux, using a VM or Wine to emulate Windows and get the pograms to work there is just "jumping through hoops" to get what you already had on Windows and GPU driver support is annoying to deal with). And yet we still see more and more support from developers (especially game devs) bringing their software to Linux. And as far as the community goes...on Linux people need to work together because there are hardly any paid programmers to deal with bugs and enabling features. While - from what it looks like, and I might add, that this is also my scepticism talking - on Windows it seems like with Windows 10 the community, the users are just beta-testers. Where were the PC versions of XBox games like Crackdown, Halo (3,4, ODST, Wars and Reach; no, we just got a port of the WP game Spartan Assault), Gears of War (2, 3 and Judgement), the Forza series, Project Gotham Racing, Destiny, etc. Instead MS decided to keep them (for the most part, yes there are PC versions of Halo 1+2 and the first Gears of War) exclusive to their consoles. I don't want to buy an XBOne plus the games just so I can stream them to my PC - which I think is just stupid, just give us the games for PC (yes, I'm aware that this is meant for situations in the future when the XBOne will support media-multitasking so you can still play on it via your PC while someone else is watching Netflix). PC gamers and "power users" are getting more and more frustrated with the way Windows is changing (keeping it simple on the surface and hiding the interesting settings and features). Many people are adapting or at least trying out Linux as their daily driver for work and only keep Windows installed because of certain programs that aren't available/working on Linux and for playing games. Plus, Linux is free. That may come with some disadvantages (the community IS the support, you need to do some learning and not just click some buttons). Am I using Linux right now myself? No. Why am I talking about something I don't even use? Because I used it a lot on my netbook when Windows 7 Starter decided to fill up my RAM. The only reason why I don't have dualboot on my laptop is because it came with a Windows Bootloader and I can't get Linux installed (or at least I'm not familiar enough with the ways to circumvent it). The thing I miss most is the terminal with its handy command lines (installing programs, updating, etc.). But I don't see a real contribution from MS to PC gaming. No improvements and nothing but empty words, whenever they say "yes, we didn't give gaming on PC the attention it deserves" and "we will focus on that more from now on". Sorry if this comes off as a rant and but everytime MS announces that they care about gaming on Windows they end up making PC gamers either pay premium (wanna use the XBOne controller wireless, just like on the console? you CAN do that now....but you have to pay $25 for an adapter) or not doing anything at all. And with this XBox Live app for Windows 10 it just looks like the "XBox Live experience" forced onto PC. The only positive thing about that is the cross-platform multiplayer feature.
  • I say give PC gamers a re mastered. halo: combat evolved. But if they want more halo, they should get an Xbox.
  • I'm confused. So you want Microsoft to completely piss off PC gamers again? Just a guess. But, don't think that will win them over.
  • Well we are getting a gears of war remastered so why not the original halo saga...i am still waiting since vista when they made halo 2 a vista exclusive lol
  • Halo 2 works just fine on Win 7 an 8. At the time it was Vista exclusive as it was one of the first games to drop DirectX 9c support.
  • Who makes the games that gamers care about???
    On a tangent, one can argue WP is in a tough position largely because of developers - project Astoria, Islandwood - all these efforts are all about developers. A software company like MS knows very well how crucial developers are to any ecosystem - ignore them at your own risk, after all they are developers themselves...
    We can all see that Phil Spencer understands that games are all about IP, and IP comes from developers. Therefore catering to developers is catering to gamers, there is no other way to go about it.
    Add backwards compatibility of the Xbox one for 360 games and we clearly see that these guys care for gamers and developers alike!
  • But how can you care about developers customers without caring about developers first? In the end, what we want are awesome games on the console, and that comes from serious developers.
    In this particular case, Sony and Nintendo are more suitable for comparison rather than Apple. If we say developers are going to Apple, is that because of any special care for customers or simply a large mobile user base? Why are so many game titles released for PC and hardly any for the Mac in comparison despite their supposed care for customers? It's simply because of the enormous install base of PCs. No amount of caring for customers will make a major developer target a niche install base without any special incentives such a exclusivity deals which is what Sony and MS are doing - and that is essentially caring for developers..
  • Xbox are less powerfull than my PC when it come to gaming :( i7 2700k and GTX 760 is here :p
  • Haha same here...fx 8350,and a gtx 970...damn eye candy
  • But you still can't play Halo and Forza ;)
  • Haha and you sleep well now that lol...so all the best to you man...
  • Sounds good to me
  • Perfect opportunity to announce Halo: The Master Chief collection for PC! Larry already hinted on Twitter!
  • Indeed, this is probably the one and only thing that will convince people Microsoft actually cares about PC gaming. Untill we see MCC on PC its all just empty words.    
  • Agreed...halo mcc will break the wall of Msft and pc gaming...i do hope they bring it...even if I have to put a lot of money into it...i will...eyes closed..it can indeed be a platform for Msft to show what directx 12 can do on a pc..
  • I like how most pc gamers will crap all over how bad halo mcc was, but now they could possibly get the game they are so excited and come up with ways about how great it will be for PC gaming
  • Phil always saves the day...hail!
  • I think that Phil Spencer is right and i am really excited with Windows 10!
  • Halo MCC and then halo 5 a couple months after Xbox one release pleaseee.
  • Give us halo and we'll talk... Like that gonna happen
  • This means shit until I see all Xbox features on my PC when I want them, my PC can just as easily use a tv and Xbox controller, the Xbox one itself it's just a midrange laptop with a stripped down windows
  • Definitely not a midrange laptop more of a middle high gaming PC... But Microsoft can better optimize the Xbox than PCs because there's only one Xbox hardware configuration. There's millions of PC hardware configurations.
  • Even now if you have a wired Xbox controller(360) you can connect it to the PC and play all the Windows Store games as I do it with FIFA and ASPHALT 8 :) I again connect my laptop to my 50" TV with the HDMI and thats it, GAME ON :)
  • I use mouse and keyboard on Xbox. Game on :)
  • Microsoft still wants to sell the Xbox ya know.
  • Even if all xbox games run on Windows, Microsoft would still sell plenty of consoles, its not like all console players will jump to PC the second it gets all exclusive console games.    
  • Marketing doesn't work that way though. "Exclusive to Xbox" is a marketing tool. And believe it or not it can convince people not to go Sony. You can't say that if stuff was all available on PC. I hear what you're saying, but Microsoft has to keep something back to market and sell the console. It's business, after all.
  • Yeah I can see your point of view on this; but on a side note, if Microsoft had its priorities straight they would be the ones making the money from Windows games and not Valve; you have to really screw up to lose on your own platform to a competitor, so my advice would be to focus lot more on the PC market even at the expense of Xbox; and Microsoft can still claim Exclusivity to their platforms and attract people away from Sony even if the games are on both Xbox and Windows as they are both MS platforms after all.    
  • Yeah so does releasing a Halo 3 on pc so long after it has been "Exclusive" to Xbox take away customers or does that make people buy more consoles since they want to be able to play the exclusives as soon as they are released? Just a question..
  • But they don't have to distinguish the marketing. They can build Xbox into the Windows 10 Store. Call them Xbox One games (they're both running on Windows 10 devices, after all), have them use Xbox Live, put in Xbox achievements, etc, like what they're doing with Fable Legends, Gigantic, and Sea of Thieves: cross-buy, cross-play, same Xbox experience. And they can still say, "Xbox exclusive" or "Only on Xbox" then. Better yet, if they just pulled off the seemingy impossible and made an Xbox 360 emulator inside Xbox One, why can't they now employ that emulator inside Windows 10 and put all those Xbox 360 games in the Windows 10 Store as Xbox games?
  • I'm with you on this concept. Xbox as a device has a very limited life span. The devs are already complaining (while not naming names) that the Xbox isn't powerful enough to deliver their intended vision (Witcher 3). Xbox as a platform, however, could have massive potential if untethered to a specific and limited piece of hardware. Xbox could come to mean a certified spec for gaming hardware so you could build or buy your own Xbox as weak or powerful as you can afford. Worst case things stay the same as they are now and they could simply adjust the marketing the language. "Exclusive to Microsoft (Xbox and Windows 10)." 
  • of course, but how many do you know that will switch from a 350$ plug-play experience to a 2000$ pc and become a wizard just to play the same games at "4k"? but even then, isn't the pc another xbox platform now? that's what they trying to tell us if im not wrong, I know they don't directly make gaming pcs but if someone buys say halo 5 for pc instead of xbox they will get the sale anyway, its not like they are losing anything, as I see it, console gamers want consoles, not pcs, it doesn't matter to them what the pc can do, they aint paying 400$ each year for a new gpu, so in a perfect world the xbox would be the baseline product, if you want a greater xbox experience and don't mind the price/required skills then get a high end pc, its a devices and services company now isn't it?
  • Just make a Xbox two that has the Surface profile and PC capabilities. Just call it the X-Surface.
  • SurfX? Or XFace?
  • It would be in XS
  • I want a second xbox1, but waiting to see if they make another & that definitely would be the 2nd Xbox in my household.
  • We want Xbox achievements on PC games
  • GFWL would have been good if it worked consistently. It worked great for BioShock 2 with updating patches and achievements, but it broke Viva Piñata.
  • What do achievements do exactly? I see people talk all the time about getting gamerscore/xbox achievements and I just don't understand the appeal. I may be missing something though; I've only been on Xbox Live since 2003. Can haz explain?
  • So now if you say one game is windows 10 compatible then does that mean the same copy will be able to run on desktop pc and xbox one??
    This common ecosystem is really very confusing for me with tons of unanswered questions.
  • You probably just need to read the articles a bit more carefully. In this one it says that MS will make it easier for developers to make games cross-platform, not that every new Xbox game will run on your PC. The unified Windows 10 makes a lot of sense, you just need to pay attention to the details.
  • in a perfect world that'd be the case, but no, they rather sell more consoles(they think they wont if the pc has everything)
  • Regarding Morden apps: Yeah developer will gonna develop modern apps for your environment when after paying for VS IDE & their developer account for windows, they still have to pay for hyper-V which is still available only as pro version premium feature instead of a standalone product, where most PC come with a core version.
  • What?.... Pay for hyper-V.... Where are you getting that from?
  • Hyper-V can be made a standalone product that can be bought cheaper than the whole pro version of Windows. It's a thing that developers need for modern app development
  • You mean like they did over 2 years ago? https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/evaluate-hyper-v-server-2012-r2 hyper v server right there for FREE with an infinite trial time. Also developer licenses for microsoft are now free (or £15 a year depending on what you go for) for smaller devs ALSO VisualStudio Community has been out for a while, is fully featured and free... https://www.visualstudio.com/en-us/products/visual-studio-community-vs.aspx again for indie and smaller devs, but still!!   So i think you're complaining about a problem that doesn't exist!
  • Hmm... I'll have to try this on my Home Premium laptop and see how it works. Thanks for the tip!
  • Developer licences are free for those who are already developers there, which already cost them as since WP8. Visual studio community is a great welcome addition which will greatly help in modern apps development, but most developers who are currently developing from WP8 already have bought VS Pro as they need it. It will help the new ones, but it certainly need hyper-v a pro version premium feature(for those who don't know about this hyper-v server and if it works in running emulator in VS) N I really don't know about hyper-v server unlimited trial, so I will certainly try it n if it works( or u can tell if it work in running Windows emulators in VS) I will share it
  • u can't, Hyper-V server 2012 R2 or Windows Server 2012 R2 are Server Operating Systems which can't run above Windows
  • Hyper-V Server can be booted as a standalone OS on Device, therefore can't use its hyper-V services on Windows OS
  • Exactly the way I feel. I've mentioned it before. If anyone in the Apple ecosystem wants to develop for iOS (either iPhone or iPad) or Mac OS X, they just download the free tools and start developing. They don't even need to worry about having to buy a specific version of OS X in order to be able to develop for iOS. Meanwhile, Windows developers have to install a Pro SKU. Instead of making it easier for developers, this is actually a big let down for many people who downloaded the tool, perhaps started coding, just to find out they can only test their code on a physical device, but no emulator. Pretty bad experience in my opinion.
  • Xcode does have an min OS requirement. But I see where you're coming from. Either way I've never owned a computer with less than the "pro version" of windows... Vista Ultimate, 7 ultimate, 8.1 Pro, and soon 10 pro
  • windows emulator runs as a secure hyper-v file that's why its need hyper-v to run, not any min. OS requirement. But what you say if where you are from you need a gold edition apple watch to develop for a apple watch
  • So what's the cost of the pro versus the home version of windows? Maybe $100. How can you compare buying a gold edition apple watch to the difference between home and pro version of Windows? That's a ridiculous comparison. Any serious developer isn't going to balk at that kind of cost differential.
  • That's great to hear
    Because they've been abandoning PC Gaming for the Xbox Gaming for years
  • It seems they are still very much lost. Unless they do something drastic, the Windows 10 Xbox promises just seem like GFWL 2.0 and the end result will be the same as before.  
  • I think we've been here before.
  • Want to make Microsoft PC Gaming, huh? Bring Forza Horizon 2 on PC
  • How about mobile? More than way was/is lost..
  • All I want is Forza 6 on PC... Doubt that's gonna happen but still..
  • Mircrosoft at first need something to compete with Steam (from Valve), or simply buy it (:D) Xbox app in Windows 10 PC is useless
  • You mean that app that isn't finished yet
  • I wouldn't keep my hopes up even for the finished app. It's not like Microsoft is bringing something to PC gamers with their app that they don't have from other software providers already; and as for integration with the console, not many PC gamers care about that, since they are PC gamers and most likely don't bother with inferior console games.    
  • No they don't, they just need to release games on PC. I don't care if its in steam or it's just an install from a disc, just make them available.
  • Agreed. I spend on steam all the time and would certainly buy, but as far as pc gaming is concerned I think msft should bury the hatchet and partner with steam and just get on with it, no more hokey delivery systems. Get games on there and people will listen. I've got an xbone that hasn't been turned on in near a year as I've just been buying on steam and my tvs link to the pc, I can play with a controller or kb and mouse and just not think about all the bs politics. Sli titan x and all the games look how I want them to look and run fast. Even with the graphics downgrade to pander to lower fidelity devices, pic games are better, with mood support better still. Console gaming is not that flexible. Yet. It's going that way but the next aaa title Batman - well look at the nvidia graphics demos for 1080p and 4k. No console can do that. MSFT, if they're serious, should bring their titles to pc. Deliver it responsibly, and not necessarily through the windows app store but go where gamers live, and take the platform forward. Pc gaming IS windows gaming. It is msfts platform and there are many more of that platform than xboxes in the world. MSFT is all about service, will make it one where you just log in, it detects the games on your ssd, irrespective of origin like steam or whatever, and you get all the trophies etc and msft know what they need to. People can then buy a console or go high end and it's all the same: Games are games wherever they come from as long as they're on Microsoft.
  • What might not be obvious is that you are a power user on PC and a minority in the larger scheme of things.
    Many people don't even know what a Titan video card is. They don't know or care about video card settings and so on, some can't even open up a PC - they just want to play games. These are the people that belong in the console space, and there are millions of them. That is why consoles will always thrive.
    It's ironic that although I've been building my PCs for years now, I still own a console from each generation. Let alone folks that don't care about what a ram stick looks like! I believe there is probably more revenue in console gaming versus PC gaming, that's why the Xbox still gets the greater attention from MS in terms of games..
  • They don't need to partner with Steam. Steam is their competitor and can offer them nothing of value. Only Valve would benefit from that partnership. They have their own distribution system already: the Windows 10 Store. They just need to put their games in there, call them Xbox games, and start advertising them.
  • As far as cross platform gaming is concerned, having an Xbox (or any other) controller should be necessary. Say for eg. FPS games which would be better played by mouse and keyboard rather than a controller.
  • Have the choice to do both. Better, no?