When Valve announced its SteamOS initiative last year, the company put Microsoft on notice. As a game maker and retailer, Valve’s reliance on Microsoft Windows was troubling to company executives, with CEO Gabe Newell, a former Microsoft employee, calling Windows 8 a “catastrophe.” For both technical and business reasons, Valve instead began pushing hard for PC gaming to adopt Linux, the free operating system, as a way to escape Microsoft’s control.
While Valve’s SteamOS and early Steam Machines have been met with interest, the broader gaming market has yet to signal a move away from Windows. But in an effort to stem any future tides, Microsoft used last week’s Game Developers Conference to announce a “renewed focus on PC gaming.”
As reported by Edge Online, Microsoft Studios Chief Phil Spencer discussed Valve and PC gaming as part of a broader “fireside chat” about the company’s initiatives in mobile, consoles, and desktops. Mr. Spencer praised Valve for its leadership in gaming, and claimed that its push towards Linux gives Microsoft the impetus to redouble its efforts in PC gaming.
They’ve been the backbone for PC gaming for the last decade when you think about the work that they’ve done. As the Windows company I appreciate what they’ve done. In a lot of ways they’ve focused more on PC gaming than we have, and for me that’s something inside the company that we’ll have a renewed focus on – Windows and PC gaming inside of Microsoft is definitely happening.
In line with Mr. Spencer’s comments, Microsoft also used GDC to unveil DirectX 12, the next version of the company’s graphics and gaming APIs, which promises better support for a variety of devices, as well as a lower level of hardware abstraction, allowing for improved multithreaded scaling and CPU utilization.
As for more consumer-focused announcements about Microsoft’s new PC gaming plans, Mr. Spencer promises that the company will have more to share at this year’s E3 conference, scheduled for June 10 through June 12.