Microsoft has been attempting the win back the hearts of PC gamers and making promises to take the platform seriously. Rightfully, this was greeted with a degree of skepticism given Microsoft’s history and the disgraceful Games for Windows Live DRM client which plagued PC gaming for many years. Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President for Windows and Devices Marketing, Yusuf Mehdi discussed during the Credit Suisse Technology Broker Conference the Xbox brand and potential for Windows gaming:
“On Gaming, Gaming has been pretty big success case. Gaming, think about it in two pieces: there is a traditional Xbox console business where we compete with Sony, and there we have had probably the best year we have ever had for Xbox, and it’s still on the back of the greatest game lineup of the Xbox history.”
“So if you like games, this is the year to get an Xbox. We have Halo 5 launching. We have Minecraft on Xbox. We have Gears of War, Tomb Raider… Best lineup. Next year will also be the best lineup. That leads to really a great success on it.”
“But the other interesting thing, is now we are bringing that Xbox gaming value prop to other devices, in particular the PC.”
This is a very strange statement to make because Microsoft seems completely unwilling to release its core line-up on Windows. Additionally, Fable Legends is a free-to-play title, and the only Halo game is from a mobile spin-off. There are some exceptions such as Killer Instinct and Gears of War, but Microsoft isn’t delivering and still treating Windows gaming quite poorly. Unless Microsoft plans to release those core games on PC, I really can’t understand what world Mehdi is living in.
More worryingly, it seems Microsoft is planning to try and monetize Windows gaming in a similar vein to Xbox Live Gold. Yusuf said:
“And then you have the ability to effectively now start to get Xbox live in all these games that you are using, whether it’d be Solitaire or Minecraft and now what we see is, we have almost the same number of Xbox live monthly active on Windows as we do on the console.”
“To be fair it’s not the same: the console uses our Xbox Live Gold, paying subscribers. These are free customers, but the ability to build a subscription business on the back of that now, you can start to see some light for that opportunity.”
Microsoft, what the heck are you thinking? Do you really want to make the entire PC gaming community irate and launch another form of disastrous anti-consumer DRM? PC gamers will never and I mean never pay a subscription to access your servers. The only time people are prepared to pay a monthly sub is with MMOs and the majority of those are going free-to-play anyway!
This really is laughable and explains why the Xbox app exists on Windows 10. I have no idea how a company can completely mess up something so badly and then try to make the same mistake once again. It also comes across that the whole Windows gaming focus was simply to introduce an online subscription and fool PC gamers to pay for an online service.