Ever since its launch, Steam has become a force to be reckoned with. With a massive inventory of games, and a user base of over 125 million players of which 6-11 million are concurrent, it’s currently the biggest marketplace in Gaming. And making money hand-over-fist for that. It’s only obvious that other major players in the industry will seek to eye the same gaming audience. Other stores like Good Old Games have done rather well in that regard, with Origin following closely.
Now Microsoft has started bringing their Xbox One exclusive titles to the Windows 10 PC, which are available through their Windows store. However, the Windows Store is nowhere near attaining the same respect and reputation that Steam has. In fact, it’s hounded by various issues, and hence gamers tend to keep their distance from it.
GiantBomb on their E3 stream had a chat with Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox, and asked him whether Xbox One and Windows 10 exclusives will find their way to the Steam store, and this is what he had to say:
“Definitely could. I look at Steam today, it’s on an incredible growth trajectory. It’s a massive force in gaming, a positive force, I think it’ll be bigger a year from now than it is today and five years later it’ll still be bigger again…My role, well we say it’s head of Xbox, actually inside of Microsoft they think of me as the head of gaming. I look at Valve as an important ISV [independent software vendor] for us on Windows. They are such a critical part of gaming’s success on Windows. I don’t think Valve’s hurt by us not having our games on their store right now; they are doing incredibly well and I think we’re going to learn by doing of putting our games in our store.
I wanna build a store, there’s no doubt about that. Gabe and Scott and Eric and I talked about this and I think Gabe says it very well there are going to be areas where we co-operate and areas where we compete and it’s, the end result, is better for gamers. So I definitely want to have, inside of Windows, a healthy store and in order to exorcise the issues that we talked about in terms of some of our early launches I think I have to put my first party stuff there. We adopted Xbox Live before anybody else on console. We’re there at launch on consoles doing things that third parties won’t go do so I think we need that.
I get the same sentiment that you hear of “hey if you don’t put it on Steam then it’s not really a Windows game”. Steam has earned that, Valve has earned that with the way they treated customers and they’ve been there and I understand the GFWL 2.0 meme and how “hey maybe we’ll forget how to spell Windows again and just try to trick everybody into buying an Xbox”. I get that perception from people and I’ll tell you as long as I’m in this job I think about Windows and our work on Xbox as core to what we are trying to do and I want to learn from putting our games in our store and the process of doing that because I want to have a healthy store ecosystem. But we will ship games on Steam again and the I think the partnership between us…we had the leadership of Valve over before the show and showed them Scorpio and said “hey here’s what we’re doing”. They’re a great partner, I know those guys incredibly well and I think they’re doing well without Quantum Break in their store right now.
I don’t know what the future holds completely but I have no aversion to shipping games on Steam again but I do think we have to do work on our own and learn from that.”
It does make sense for Xbox to host their games on their own store, so as to avoid any fees and costs incurred for hosting on a third party platform, their Windows Store is a long ways off from being seamless and functional at times. It would have been better if they made their games available across platforms, such as Steam, to begin with, and build the trust and reputation needed. In the meanwhile bring up their own store up to today’s market standards. Only then should they expect gamers to be willing to sign up on another platform and get their games there.
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