Xbox head Phil Spencer shared some interesting comments regarding Windows 10, Steam, and Xbox.
The most intriguing bit seems to be his tacit admission that the company ignored Windows as a gaming platform when they launched Xbox.
Phil also talked about Steam. By showing Steam running on Windows 10, he wanted to make it clear that they want to work with Valve’s platform today. He also explained that Microsoft talked to Steam directly about their plans, and if there is any possibility for cross buy or cross play between the Windows 10 store and Steam, it is more up to Valve now. It is worth noting here that Microsoft started publishing their own games to Steam since late last year.
Here are Phil’s full comments regarding how their entry to Xbox compromised Windows as a gaming platform.
I think the easiest way to talk about that history is the amount of focus it took for the company to enter the console space. Way back in the day, 2000, we announced the original Xbox. We had no business being in the console space. You had Sega, you had Nintendo, you had Sony with the PS2 which was ridiculously successful. And then we had the Windows 95 team with blue screens of death and all that, and here we come building a game console. The team, we set a dedicated set of people off, kind of on their own. I call them the garage band. And they said, let’s try to gain relevance in this console space. And I applaud the work that the whole team has done. Xbox is now a gaming brand, whereas when we announced it, it was, ‘what is that thing?’
That amount of focus was almost required to land where we are with Xbox today. What it meant, though, was that distraction, we did ignore what was going on with Windows. Other people like Steam came in and offered some very valuable services. What’s really the impetus for me now is what our customers are saying and doing. Our customers play games on all of their devices. When I’m connected to my Xbox community on console and then I go to PC and lose that community—people want to stay connected wherever they are. The kickback has been more from what customers are saying.
Inside the company, you just see the importance of gaming, when you look at the engagement and monetization that happens on all of these devices, and gaming is right at the top. It’s not a hard sell to say if you’re going to sell a phone, if you’re going to sell a tablet, gaming is critical to that.