Microsoft's explanation for the canning of Alan Wake on the PC was far from satisfactory to many -- even console gamers wondered what was up. Saying the title was better suited to being played "from the couch in front of a larger TV screen", we were in a state of puzzlement ourselves.
A Microsoft spokesperson has just now clarified the statement to us, saying, “Alan Wake has been an ambitious project from the start, and as such, has taken several years to be fully realized. To accelerate the game's delivery, we made the decision to focus exclusively on Xbox 360 and deliver Alan Wake this May. We have no plans to deliver a Windows version at this time.”
This seems like a fairly sensible response. As you may know, the game has been in development since at least 2005, starting off on the PC. Not to say console development isn't challenging (it certainly is), but certain extra efforts are required for PC releases, many in the testing department.
That combined with a simultaneous (or nearly so) multiplatform release would be reason enough for some to at least put off a PC version, given the already very lengthy development time. After all, no studio wants to be compared with 3D Realms.
Of course, Microsoft has previously stated at least one of the reasons for focusing on 360 is because there's more money in it overall:
"On a global scale the Windows Vista business is as important as our Xbox 360 business," explained Microsoft Game Studios' European business development manager Peter Zetterberg. "But in Germany for example, we want more gamers to buy our Xbox 360. If we launch a game that is on 360 and PC simultaneously, we basically shoot ourselves in the foot by allowing the German market to choose to play the PC version – because they are more likely to buy that than spend their money on the Xbox 360."
"On a global scale the PC is very relevant to us. And I would say that 90 per cent of the games that are pitched to us are on console. We're strongly perceived as a console publisher because we're the first-party publisher even though the Windows operating system is equally important to us. If we launched a Halo game on PC and 360 in Germany simultaneously, 80 per cent of sales would be on the PC. So we need to pick and choose our formats."
How relevant this stance is now, we can only speculate, but the good news is that "who knows" response.