With Microsoft’s renewed commitment to PC gaming (and with Windows 10’s launch) many gamer’s are wondering if more Xbox One exclusive titles will be making a home for themselves on the PC. After all, Microsoft are bringing Killer Instinct to the PC, and we’ll be seeing Gears of War Ultimate Edition, so what about titles such as Scalebound and Quantum Break?
“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,” says Microsoft’s Xbox division head Phil Spencer.
“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.’
“Even with Gears, like the Gears 1 remake, we thought about framerate, we thought about multiplayer. The opportunity to bring it to Windows in a refreshed way felt like a great opportunity from the beginning. I’m trying to be more deliberate in the choices that we make.”
So, if you’re happy to read between the lines, Phil Spencer isn’t denying the possibility in the future – but is saying that right now it’s full steam (no pun intended) ahead for the Xbox One iterations of the software, and then possibly PC ports will appear in the future. Personally, I’m really looking forward to both Scalebound and Quantum Break, and while I’ll certainly buy the games for the Xbox One, I won’t deny if I had the opportunity I’d pick up the PC re-releases too.
Phil Spencer did say that there might be certain titles which might return “purely on PC” though: “I look at the franchises that we have on console and I think there are some franchises that can work really well on PC. I also think about some of the things in our past, as Microsoft, that we used to have on PC, and say, ‘Boy, wouldn’t it be great if we brought some of these games back purely on PC.’”
“So I’m stating it again, I’m kind of less in the broad sweep of, ‘Everything should be over here and over there,’ because I think in certain instances that might not be the right model, but I definitely want to build out our Windows games portfolio, and we’re making slow progress on that. But slow in a way that I think is good, because we’re being deliberate about the games that we’re deciding and make sure we have a real plan.”
Ultimately, Microsoft have to be rather careful with decisions made with console exclusives being swapped to PC – but don’t be surprised if in six or twelve months a few of the games on your Xbox One wish list start popping up on a Windows 10 gaming PC near you. Microsoft also need to consider other competitors too – not just Sony. We know Nintendo are readying their NX (which I’m sure we all hope is good competition) and Steam’s SteamOS is picking up momentum too. In fact, if you check how many big AAA releases are Steam OS compatible, you might be surprised. Obviously Windows still has the largest market share, but with development of Vulkan and Valve’s insane level of backing of their own OS, it could end up being a worthy competitor to the market place.
Let’s face it – a single player in any industry isn’t good for progress or consumers.