As the hype for E3 escalates, Head of Xbox Phil Spencer has an announcement to make and it's directed to PC gamers. We've heard this spiel from Microsoft before, and they have been improving for the past few years, doing more right than wrong, but now they seem more committed than ever. The announcement focuses on placing the PC gamer at the center of the gaming experience, able to "harness the unique benefits of the devices they choose to play on." Spencer recognizes that Microsoft, as the creators of Windows, have a unique responsibility to keep the PC platform open and highly customizable. While Spencer also recognizes that Microsoft hasn't always lived up to this aspiration of keeping gamers at the center, they pledge three steps to contribute to a thriving PC gaming ecosystem.
The first step is the introduction of the Xbox Game Pass for PC gamers. The Xbox Game Pass curated library of games has been available for two years now on Xbox One. It will give PC gamers access to over 100 high-quality PC games from developers and publishers such as Bethesda, Deep Silver, Devolver Digital, Paradox Interactive, SEGA, and more. There is also the growing roster of Xbox Game Studios, such as recent acquisitions Obsidian Entertainment and inXile Entertainment. Microsoft is working with over 75 developers and publishers to make the Game Pass a thriving, ever-growing gaming subscription service on PC. There are also discounts in the Microsoft Store, with up to 20% off on games on the Windows Store for subscribers. More information for the service will be at E3, but one should expect PC titles and some differences in comparison to the Xbox version of Game Pass.
A few months ago we saw the highly anticipated announcement of Halo: The Master Chief Collection coming to PC and Steam. It was a dream come true for many PC gamers and fans of the franchise who have always wanted to try the legendary first-person shooter with a mouse and keyboard rather than a controller. With that announcement, Microsoft and Xbox consolidated their commitment to bring more choice on where players can buy Xbox Game Studios titles. They intend to do more than that and will continue to add other Xbox Game Studios titles to Steam, such as Gears of War 5, the Age of Empires Definitive Edition trilogy, and so on. We can expect more Xbox and Microsoft exclusives on Steam in 2019 and beyond.
Finally, they announce their commitment to support Win32 Games on Windows 10. This is a complicated matter, which goes back to Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney and his op-ed for The Guardian in 2016, where he accused Microsoft of monopolizing games development on PC by using the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) API as a closed platform. There has been a lot of discussion on the subject since then, both among developers and gamers. So it's not surprising that Microsoft is now doing a U-Turn to support games developed with the Win32 API. This decision reinforces the open nature of PC gaming, and gives both developers and gamers more freedom.
The announcement is full of reassurances to the PC gaming community, and we can only hope it sets the standard to come in future years.
What do you think of the announcement? Will Microsoft stick to their promises? Let us know in the comments below!