Microsoft had backed off of PC gaming around 2007, after they released a string of excellent titles like Fable: The Lost Chapters, Age of Empires III, Halo 2, and Gears of War, putting a new, heavy focus on its Xbox gaming business, partly in an effort to sell more consoles. Given they invented the world's most used operating system, PC gamers felt left out in the cold to some extent, but as you may have noticed, this is changing as of late.
As early as February of last year we began receiving solid signs of Microsoft's return to the platform, when VP of the Interactive Entertainment Business for the EMEA region Chris Lewis said Windows 7 would be "nothing but good news for PC gamers." This certainly feels true so far, nevermind what's to come.
More recently, Microsoft has stepped up their Games for Windows LIVE platform, offering more features, made it easier for developers to certify their games and implement LIVE functionality, and publishing new, full titles digitally at launch day. Game Room was a nice touch, too.
Lastly, they've recently announced Fable III and Age of Empires Online for the PC, delaying the former for proper PC optimization. While the latter title appears very kid-friendly, the company and developer are assuring us the core gameplay is intact.
Now today we hear the first word direct from Microsoft on what this change is all about.
"I think it was a focus thing," explained Microsoft Game Studios general manager Dave Luehmann in an interview. "We started to focus on one area and now we're saying let's start to spread that focus. I think the whole company has been focused on console work for a long time and it's time for us to come back and bring one of our best IPs [Age of Empires] back and to a market that can really use it."
"I think we need to invest in this space. Windows is an important space for us so we need to invest our first-party IP in it as much as anybody else. We cant really ask other companies to step up if the first party isn't stepping up."
Sounds to us like they've sold enough Xbox's now, so don't mind expending the resources to invest in both platforms. Though Kinect and the new "slim" 360 are coming up, it seems Microsoft still has plenty of leg room to work with.
Welcome back, folks -- PC gamers missed you.