Microsoft has forged a fairly distrustful relationship with PC gamers over the last decade due to broken promises to take the platform seriously, and the horrendous Games For Windows Live DRM client. As a result, any claims regarding their renewed focus is rightfully met with scepticism because of Microsoft’s poor track record. On the other hand, Phil Spencer has been nothing short of a revelation and adopted a more open approach to PC gaming while catering to the core console demographic. Sure, he’s made some mistakes along the way as Microsoft’s initial PC gaming talk was very disappointing, but at least there is some progress thanks to his leadership.
In an interview with PC Gamer during Gamescom 2015, Phil Spencer openly answered questions about the likelihood of Quantum Break coming to PC and said:
“In the case of things like Scalebound or Crackdown or Quantum Break, you know, just to be completely honest with you, we started those games before we really looked at expanding into Windows in the way that I wanted to bring as part of becoming head of Xbox.”
“Going to those teams mid-cycle and saying: ‘Hey, by the way, I want to add a platform,’ didn’t really feel like necessarily the best way to end up with the best result for the game. They had a path that they were on. It’s not to say those games could never come to Windows, but right now we’re on the path to finish the great games that they’ve started, and I want that to be the case. These games are on a path, whereas with, like, Halo Wars 2 I had the opportunity from the beginning, when we’re sitting down with the studio, to say, ‘Here’s the target. Here’s what we wanna go do.”
Despite this, Microsoft and Remedy recently announced Quantum Break was coming to PC at the same time as the Xbox One version. Clearly, this is uncharted territory and a major departure from the company’s initial plans. Up to this point, Microsoft has either dismissed the PC with major exclusives, or delayed them to encourage users to purchase an Xbox One console. I’ve been very critical about their decision-making process and fixating on the idea that putting Xbox One games on the PC platforms results in lost sales. I don’t think it’s that simple because many console owners prefer the simplicity of not upgrading their hardware and have no intention of building a gaming machine.
Head of Xbox Marketing Aaron Greenberg recently discussed the decision on the Major Nelson podcast and eloquently argued:
“We weren’t sure how and when we could get the Windows 10 version done. They lined up [with the Xbox One version]; a lot of people’s reaction on Twitter was like, I get it, you want to bring this to a lot more gamers to play, but why didn’t you tell us about this before?”
“We’re trying to bring gamers together, we’re trying to break down the walls if you will.”
“To be able to bring a title like Quantum Break to the Windows 10 ecosystem is a great benefit. We know that there are a lot of PC gamers out there who would like to play the game, so that opens up a new audience.”
Quantum Break is scheduled to launch on Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs on April 5th.