Former Steam Boss Joins Microsoft Games Division

 Pages 1 2 NEXT
 

Former Steam Boss Joins Microsoft Games Division

The man who made Steam into the amazing gaming platform it is today is hoping to do the same for Windows.

Games For Windows is kind of a running joke in the gaming community, and Microsoft has decided that it doesn't like being the butt of the joke anymore. It has brought on none other than Jason Holtman, who spearheaded Valve's Steam platform for eight years, to work his magic with Games For Windows. "Yes, I have joined Microsoft where I will be focusing on making Windows a great platform for gaming and interactive entertainment," said Holtman in an official statement.

"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," he added. Holtman could be the very man Microsoft needs to kick start its gaming platform, which was riddled with bad decisions right from the start. when it shockingly believed PC gamers would be willing to pay for online play like their console brethren.

Holtman initially left Valve back in February, after an eight-year stint at the company. His departure wasn't very publicized, as it happened to be around the same time a bunch of Valve employees were laid off.

Holtman's position at Valve was specifically to be the primary point of contact for developers that distributed games on Steam, and as Steam is only as good as the games it has on it, it made Holtman the service's driving force. A huge proponent of digital distribution, Holtman is also credited with steering Steam through the DRM controversies it encountered and calming publisher fears that the annual Steam Summer and holiday sales would devalue their intellectual properties.

With the Xbox One looming on the horizon, it almost seemed as if Microsoft was abandoning the PC platform all together, but this news shows that they are still determined to try and make things work.

Source: Gamesindustry.biz

Permalink

If any person can possibly even attempt to revive MS' gaming sector at this point, it would probably be this guy. Let's hope they actually listen to what Holtman says instead of just going okay yeah and then continuing with the same practices as before.

Neronium:
If any person can possibly even attempt to revive MS' gaming sector at this point, it would probably be this guy. Let's hope they actually listen to what Holtman says instead of just going okay yeah and then continuing with the same practices as before.

Honestly I hope they don't listen and GFWL will finally die. Unless they can somehow magically rebuild the whole system, which I doubt. The windows 8 store is probably the closest thing to a GFWL reboot.

This is an interesting turn of events. We'll see if this guy can prevent them from shooting themselves in the foot for the umpteenth time. Though, part of me thinks he was so successful with Steam and Microsoft has such a shit poor reputation that this won't be that successful. I mean, ultimately, Microshit hurts itself by not allowing their products to be sold on multiple distribution platforms, that is actually what killed their whole PC gaming division. Exclusives are fine on consoles, but on an open platform where the competition is actually fierce, it doesn't really fly.

Baresark:
This is an interesting turn of events. We'll see if this guy can prevent them from shooting themselves in the foot for the umpteenth time. Though, part of me thinks he was so successful with Steam and Microsoft has such a shit poor reputation that this won't be that successful. I mean, ultimately, Microshit hurts itself by not allowing their products to be sold on multiple distribution platforms, that is actually what killed their whole PC gaming division. Exclusives are fine on consoles, but on an open platform where the competition is actually fierce, it doesn't really fly.

I always thought it was the fact that GFWL was nothing more than a port of Xbox Live dash (360 controls and all) for awhile after its launch.

The need for Gold accounts for online play did the rest.

I don't know how effective he will be, calling the MS gaming division a pack of retarded monkeys is a gross insult to monkeys.

Baresark:
This is an interesting turn of events. We'll see if this guy can prevent them from shooting themselves in the foot for the umpteenth time. Though, part of me thinks he was so successful with Steam and Microsoft has such a shit poor reputation that this won't be that successful. I mean, ultimately, Microshit hurts itself by not allowing their products to be sold on multiple distribution platforms, that is actually what killed their whole PC gaming division. Exclusives are fine on consoles, but on an open platform where the competition is actually fierce, it doesn't really fly.

People are quick to forget that when Steam first started, EVERYONE hated it. Like, people hated Steam just as much (if not more) than they hate origin or GFWL now. It had a VERY rocky start and people like Holtman managed to turn it around so much that now valve is this magicial company that can "do no wrong" in the eyes of the gaming community.

Steven Bogos:

Baresark:
This is an interesting turn of events. We'll see if this guy can prevent them from shooting themselves in the foot for the umpteenth time. Though, part of me thinks he was so successful with Steam and Microsoft has such a shit poor reputation that this won't be that successful. I mean, ultimately, Microshit hurts itself by not allowing their products to be sold on multiple distribution platforms, that is actually what killed their whole PC gaming division. Exclusives are fine on consoles, but on an open platform where the competition is actually fierce, it doesn't really fly.

People are quick to forget that when Steam first started, EVERYONE hated it. Like, people hated Steam just as much (if not more) than they hate origin or GFWL now. It had a VERY rocky start and people like Holtman managed to turn it around so much that now valve is this magicial company that can "do no wrong" in the eyes of the gaming community.

I completely understand that. I'll never forget what it was like the first time I installed Halflife 2 and discovered that I had to be online to play it, I was infuriated. And then it worked like shit anyway. I was simply pointing out that Microsoft's reputation is so bad, and this fella was obviously instrumental in Steam becoming the success it is today, that it will be hard for them to even be relevant, let alone be successful because Steam is the undisputed king at this point and everyone already actively hates MS.

Ed130:

I always thets ought it was the fact that GFWL was nothing more than a port of Xbox Live dash (360 controls and all) for awhile after its launch.

The need for Gold accounts for online play did the rest.

I don't know how effective he will be, calling the MS gameing division a pack of retarded monkeys is a gross insult to monkeys.

Well, GFWL is the DRM they use. But they are more talking about the Microsoft "app store"(god I hate that in reference to the PC gaming). Don't get me wrong, the folks who like GFWL can be counted on a single hand. But their market is actually what this guy would be working on, not the DRM aspect. I figure that it's all about getting more than first party games on your platform, and success I would also argue relies on them also widening their user base by selling on other platforms.

If this guy can get GFWL all right, I can finally install my batman games.

And in a few years we'll have yet another storefront and yet another publisher who refuses to publish games on any other storefront.

I know that isn't what was said, but still. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I wish all publishers published all their games on all PC sales platforms. Only then would the platforms themselves truly get to compete to offer the best service.

Araksardet:
And in a few years we'll have yet another storefront and yet another publisher who refuses to publish games on any other storefront.

I know that isn't what was said, but still. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I wish all publishers published all their games on all PC sales platforms. Only then would the platforms themselves truly get to compete to offer the best service.

Already happened and already happened (briefly). Nothing is new under the sun.

Look, GFWL is already required to use some truly great games. The best possible option is "fix it so it doesn't suck". If that means that Windows will be reserving the right to sell all two or three upcoming PC games they're making, so be it.

It would be neat to see GFWL being turned into a respectable service. It's been said before but I'll say it again; Steam is great, but there needs to be more competition. Really GFWL and Origin seem like the only two platforms with enough support to compete, but they both fail miserably when compared to Steam.

Still, Origin has slowly improved over the past year or two. It seems EA finally realized "HOLY CRAP, when we lower our prices for a while and give consumers good deal they give us MORE MONEY!" Imagine that. Maybe GFWL can learn to do that, as well as not force me to download 50 updates every time I want to play Dark Souls, then fail to log me in for whatever reason, then force me to quit and restart the game, then wait through more crap, then download MORE updates, then have me hurl my keyboard through my computer screen in frustration.

Huh. It's an IRL "You are the only one who can do this" thing. Here's hoping he really CAN do this.

Baresark:

Ed130:

I always thought it was the fact that GFWL was nothing more than a port of Xbox Live dash (360 controls and all) for awhile after its launch.

The need for Gold accounts for online play did the rest.

I don't know how effective he will be, calling the MS gaming division a pack of retarded monkeys is a gross insult to monkeys.

Well, GFWL is the DRM they use. But they are more talking about the Microsoft "app store"(god I hate that in reference to the PC gaming). Don't get me wrong, the folks who like GFWL can be counted on a single hand. But their market is actually what this guy would be working on, not the DRM aspect. I figure that it's all about getting more than first party games on your platform, and success I would also argue relies on them also widening their user base by selling on other platforms.

Then he has his work cut out for him, the app store is in really crappy shape.

Can you even get games that aren't time-wasters or Skinners boxes from it at this point? Because I remember reading that mature rated games were banned from it for some reason.

Nooooooo!! Don't save them, let them die! Please?

Eh, who knows, maybe he can make it work somehow. But I doubt it.

Even the best possible outcome is another Steam platform riddled with DRM, then again some actual competition for Steam can only be good for the people, even if its just to keep Steam on their best behavior.

I'm still hoping he'll fail.

Well, GFAIL can only get better and that could be a good thing. Hopefully it can become more than some tiresome clunky mess that I'm forced to log into to play certain games.

Stevepinto3:
It would be neat to see GFWL being turned into a respectable service. It's been said before but I'll say it again; Steam is great, but there needs to be more competition. Really GFWL and Origin seem like the only two platforms with enough support to compete, but they both fail miserably when compared to Steam.

Still, Origin has slowly improved over the past year or two. It seems EA finally realized "HOLY CRAP, when we lower our prices for a while and give consumers good deal they give us MORE MONEY!" Imagine that. Maybe GFWL can learn to do that, as well as not force me to download 50 updates every time I want to play Dark Souls, then fail to log me in for whatever reason, then force me to quit and restart the game, then wait through more crap, then download MORE updates, then have me hurl my keyboard through my computer screen in frustration.

GOG's influence is not something to be sniffed at and it's only getting bigger. It may be wishful thinking but I'd like to see them as having a better shot at being the big bad alternative to Steam, rather than Origin. By rights Origin should always be hamstrung by its restricted games library whereas GOG sells from all over the place.

Good. Microsoft can use this guy well, and a little bit of focus on PC gaming from Microsoft isn't a bad thing.

Evil Smurf:
If this guy can get GFWL all right, I can finally install my batman games.

Hey, there's nothing wrong with GFWL! The only recent issue I've had with it was the it stopped recognizing my almost complete save file of Batman Arkham City for no good reason (I could find it, Steam could find it, Steam had it synchronized in a cloud) and that it makes it harder to launch and play games...

Yeah, I am hoping this might fix GFWL too. The announcement that Batman: Arkham Origins wouldn't use it was reason enough for me to pre-order it on PC rather than console since that was the one advantage the PS3 version of Arkham City had over the PC version.

GFWL, oh the many problems I've had with it.

- Installing games in obscure, hidden folders on the system drive with no option to change drive or location.
- Controls freezing every three seconds because GFWL was looking to see if player 2 had put in a controller.
- Not working when offline.
- Having an overpriced, crappy store, that requires that you launch a seperate application to run.
- Many, many crashes due to the instability of the thing.
- Home being the dashboard-button, and of course being unable to rebind it (a problem for my left handed friend).

I'm sure there are more annoyances that I've forgotten, but really, I've had no good experiences with that piece of crud.

I hope this guy can fix it, and fix all the problems of the service retroactively as well. I sort of doubt it, but I do remember how much I hated Steam the first couple of years.

I am OK with this however something that from the beginning that has had me worried with multiple online distributers, despite the good that comes with competition, are the companies that tie their physical games to them, thus forcing you to use 3-5 separate online services just to get your game collection to function.

While I don't see myself abandoning Steam in favor of it, I think that some serious competition will improve the experience on all digital distribution platforms. Hopefully this guy can deliver.

RicoADF:

Neronium:
If any person can possibly even attempt to revive MS' gaming sector at this point, it would probably be this guy. Let's hope they actually listen to what Holtman says instead of just going okay yeah and then continuing with the same practices as before.

Honestly I hope they don't listen and GFWL will finally die. Unless they can somehow magically rebuild the whole system, which I doubt. The windows 8 store is probably the closest thing to a GFWL reboot.

Why would you want it to die? It's not like it's impossible to make it a good platform. I hope that they rebuild it and apply the changes to games that already use GFWL. They definitely have the resources to make that happen. They just needed the right mind for the job, which Holtman might have. I doubt that they hired him just so he can be a trophy.

Steven Bogos:

Baresark:
This is an interesting turn of events. We'll see if this guy can prevent them from shooting themselves in the foot for the umpteenth time. Though, part of me thinks he was so successful with Steam and Microsoft has such a shit poor reputation that this won't be that successful. I mean, ultimately, Microshit hurts itself by not allowing their products to be sold on multiple distribution platforms, that is actually what killed their whole PC gaming division. Exclusives are fine on consoles, but on an open platform where the competition is actually fierce, it doesn't really fly.

People are quick to forget that when Steam first started, EVERYONE hated it. Like, people hated Steam just as much (if not more) than they hate origin or GFWL now. It had a VERY rocky start and people like Holtman managed to turn it around so much that now valve is this magicial company that can "do no wrong" in the eyes of the gaming community.

Steam took less than 2 years to turn into a relatively stable multiplayer and store platform. GFWL has been out for 6 and still sucks donkey dick.

Could this be the start of owning a game on Xbox means you own the PC port on GFWL? That would make me buy an Xbone!

OT: Please fix the servers, DOW2 is useless these days and there seems to be no care for past games meaning i can't play it with. It shows little care for you consumer base, which i think after working with steam, Jason seems in the best place to address.

Well that was unexpected... This guy sounds perfect for trying to fix the problems.

Is this microsoft or am I dead?

Steven Bogos:
"Yes, I have joined Microsoft where I will be focusing on making Windows a great platform for gaming and interactive entertainment," said Holtman in an official statement.

But it already is!

That greatness just doesn't involve GFWL. We don't need Microsoft's particular brand of DRM, and you'd think this whole deal with the Xbox One would have made that more than evident.

Doom972:
*snip*
Why would you want it to die? It's not like it's impossible to make it a good platform. I hope that they rebuild it and apply the changes to games that already use GFWL. They definitely have the resources to make that happen. They just needed the right mind for the job, which Holtman might have. I doubt that they hired him just so he can be a trophy.

Past experience with GFWL, it gets between me and my games. It's been nothing but headaches and trouble. I'm all for competition, thus why I don't mind Origin, but when it's literally a pain to use to the point that I reduce playing a game or just stop all together because GFWL is too annoying, it's a bad sign. Like I said, Windows 8 store looks like a reboot and sofar isn't too bad. I'm not against a microsoft store, I just hate GFWL specifically.

RicoADF:

Doom972:
*snip*
Why would you want it to die? It's not like it's impossible to make it a good platform. I hope that they rebuild it and apply the changes to games that already use GFWL. They definitely have the resources to make that happen. They just needed the right mind for the job, which Holtman might have. I doubt that they hired him just so he can be a trophy.

Past experience with GFWL, it gets between me and my games. It's been nothing but headaches and trouble. I'm all for competition, thus why I don't mind Origin, but when it's literally a pain to use to the point that I reduce playing a game or just stop all together because GFWL is too annoying, it's a bad sign. Like I said, Windows 8 store looks like a reboot and sofar isn't too bad. I'm not against a microsoft store, I just hate GFWL specifically.

I agree with you about GFWL but I don't see why it can't be fixed. Personally, I have 2 problems with it:

1) Logging in - It has to log in whenever you start the game (a trade-off for not running in the background I guess). That log-in process is longer than it should be and sometimes doesn't work properly.

2) No proper offline mode - If you try to play your game while offline, you can't access saves. Inexcusable and unforgivable.

Since other services have managed to avoid/solve these problems, I don't see a reason why Microsoft won't be able to. As for Win8 store - maybe they plan on integrating GFWL into the store in a way that would effectively eliminate GFWL as we know it?

Good move I think another viable online store front for pc games will only help competition. We'll see if this man lives upto his credentials.

Doom972:

I agree with you about GFWL but I don't see why it can't be fixed. Personally, I have 2 problems with it:

1) Logging in - It has to log in whenever you start the game (a trade-off for not running in the background I guess). That log-in process is longer than it should be and sometimes doesn't work properly.

2) No proper offline mode - If you try to play your game while offline, you can't access saves. Inexcusable and unforgivable.

Since other services have managed to avoid/solve these problems, I don't see a reason why Microsoft won't be able to. As for Win8 store - maybe they plan on integrating GFWL into the store in a way that would effectively eliminate GFWL as we know it?

You hit the nail on the head, the whole login anoyance and then if it doesn't because it's being moody then you basically can't play your game, it's stupid. If they did that then wonderful, just GFWL as it stands is utterly useless and I'm glad I haven't seen it in a new game in years.

I don't see how they can "fix" GFWL. If they remove every annoyance any user has ever experienced with it, then what? Would you download and use it?
Is there a single thing they could do that would sell it, other than "its not Steam"?

Wow, they must be paying him a lot, and I mean A LOT, of money. LOL

PS: To be blunt, I don't know how much difference one person is going to make. MS's corporate culture from what I read is pretty ... "poisonous".

To the people that like to say 'nay' about a potential MS online store, or EA's origin store not allowing their games on steam or other platforms, let me ask you this: can I buy valve games on origin? can I buy left 4 dead 2 on greenmangaming? Can I buy half life 2 on gamersgate?

yeah, thats what I thought.

Honestly, the bigger problem right now with the online DRM schemes is that everyone is doing their own instead of just getting together and picking one standard. Considering whatever each guy chooses to use ends up on our computers and looking at the amount of space Steam itself has reserved, it would quickly eat through RAM and CPU cycles. Heck, even if something uses Steam right now, the publisher may still require it's own DRM program or account system anyway. These publishers should just invest in a separate system that they jointly control, but that seems less likely than EA scrapping origin and having all their games released on steam. Their might be a glimmer of hope if the Open Source community manages to make something.

Oh dear, I think poor Jason knocked his head and went insane. It will take alot more than a bright mind to fix GFWL (Global Failure Went Live), but if nothing else, I wish him the best of luck... for he will surely need it.

It's very late to the party. I mean, even Origen is more popular and people actively choose not to use Origen because of the laughable idea of giving EA control over one's library. Still, I'd trust a legitimate Microsoft option on pc more than Origen so it has a chance to gain ground.

My eventual goal is to convince EA to stop holding the few good games they put out hostage to Origen.

Goodluck trying to promote a platform where the company actively sabotages it, by paying money to other companies so they don't release games on the PC in favour of their console.

How are you supposed to make headway with a corporate structure that's that self-destructive?

 Pages 1 2 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here