An internal Q&A document from Microsoft reveals that the software giant is once again gearing up to save PC gaming from the dark waters of oblivion, and this time it really means it.
Microsoft committing itself to the future of PC gaming: Does that sound familiar to anyone else? It should. Just a couple of years ago, Microsoft touted its Games for Windows program, and of course Games for Windows Live, as the future of the platform. "The Windows-based PC is the most connected gaming platform on the planet," Microsoft Vice President John Schappert wrote. "Microsoft's continued investments will enable game publishers to take advantage of that connectivity while delivering to consumers the kind of gaming experiences they will love."
Fast-forward two years and Games for Windows Live is a mess, while Microsoft's gaming ambitions remain strong but appear focused entirely on the Xbox 360. But wait! In an internal document "obtained" by Kotaku, the Windows publisher admits that it dropped the PC ball but claims that it's ready to try again, for real and for sure this time.
"Does Fable III on Windows signal a larger reinvestment by Microsoft in PC gaming?" the document asks. "How is this different from the previous times you've announced a reinvestment in PC gaming and not quite come through with a robust offering?"
"In terms of revenue, Windows is far and away the largest gaming platform in the world, so it's an incredibly important part of Microsoft's business," it answers. "From core games like Fable III to casual, social and Facebook titles, more gaming happens on Windows than anywhere else. Windows 7 is a world-class gaming platform, and you can bet Microsoft has a vested interest in using it as a platform for amazing first party content. Fable III on Windows as well as Xbox 360 this holiday is a great first step, and we'll have more news for you later this summer."
Okay, so it's not exactly an oath signed in blood and it does have the ring of a document that, while purportedly "internal," was meant for public consumption. Still, the simple fact that Microsoft admits that it has "not quite come through" in the PC gaming arena has to be seen as a hopeful sign. Maybe it's some kind of stealth marketing, maybe it's total crap, but given the alternative message - "Button-mashing for everyone!" - for now, at least, I'm willing to cross my fingers, pour some salt on it and take it with a smile.