Jason Holtman, one of Valve’s former higher ups has joined Microsoft – and is planning on “Making Windows a great platform for gaming”. Jason Holtman might not have the name recognition of say, Gabe Newell – but he was with Valve for 8 years. He left back of February of this year, and his departure was anything but clear cut. He, along with several other high level staff members were let go of – and Gabe along with the rest of Valve haven’t commented to the reasons why.
At Valve, he was the primary contact for developers who wished to place their titles on Valve’s Steam digital distribution network. It’s fair to say that much of Valve’s success therefore has at least, in part, been his doing.
And now, he has joined Microsoft, which has left many people scratching their heads. Many had believed MS to be slowly phasing out their interest in PC gaming, especially since Xbox One is waiting in the wings.
Jason Holtman had this to say, “Yes, I have joined Microsoft where I will be focusing on making Windows a great platform for gaming and interactive entertainment,” he said. “I think there is a lot of opportunity for Microsoft to deliver the games and entertainment customers want and to work with developers to make that happen, so I’m excited to be here.”
It’s a fairly good indication that Microsoft see PC gaming as growing in importance – and it makes sense. X86-64 in nature, both the PS4 and Xbox One have very similar technology to PCs. This would make porting games to the platform very easy compared to now, where both systems are PowerPC based.
Games for Windows Live needs a lot of work – many in PC gaming (including myself) aren’t too fond of it. The primary reason being that it feels clunky, and yet another layer of extra DRM when games already for example use Steam. But, Holtman has skills convincing developers on issues with DRM and even sales. He helped convince them that Valve’s Steam Sale’s aren’t going to drive their businesses into the ground.
No doubt it would be a good thing for PC gamers to have more than just Valve as a major player in digital distribution. Let’s hope that for the sake of PC gaming, Mr. Holtman helps improve the PC division at MS.