When the Consumer Preview for Windows 10 launches next month there will be the regular faces; head of the Operating Systems Group Terry Myerson, head of Phone/PC/Tablet Joe Belfiore, and CEO Satya Nadella. One of the surprising speakers that will be on hand is head of Xbox Phil Spencer. Spencer’s presence has caused a stir amongst gamers and Windows geeks because his being there means games.
A lot of people think Spencer will be there purely to talk about the Xbox or something Xbox related. It makes sense; the Xbox is going to be part of the Windows 10 rollout (the Xbox One’s OS is based on Windows). A few places have speculated he will talk about PC gaming with hopes of Xbox titles being available on PCs.
Spencer’s own comments have been few and while not cryptic, vague enough to send minds racing. Since taking the role of Xbox head Phil Spencer has talked about the importance of gaming as a differentiator for Windows. In multiple interviews he describes his position as not just being about the Xbox but gaming across Windows.
Gaming is not a “core” business but it is important in the consumer sense. Gaming is often seen as one of Microsoft’s few consumer ties. The Xbox is by far the company’s biggest and most profitable non business asset. While things have been shaky with the Xbox One and calls persist to spin it off, Xbox remains a key part of any consumer play. Redmond’s chief Nadella has often said that gaming is important for reasons beyond what many see as core business.
My reading of Spencer and his comments is that he sees gaming as something that brings value to Windows as client platform. So my opinion is he will be talking about gaming beyond console and PC.
One thing that is overlooked by a lot gamers is that more titles are moving between traditional gaming (PC/console) to mobile. Telltale Games titles for example exist both on consoles and tablets. The game Threes just moved into consoles launching on the Xbox One. I am still astonished at the polish and variety that makes up mobile gaming. Sometimes I look at the variety of games on iOS and think that it’s what Nintendo is supposed to be.
It will be interesting to see if Microsoft seriously pushes the Xbox toward being more of a gaming service starting with Windows 10. I also hope to see them announce titles across devices; they need to not miss what is happening in mobile. I also wonder if we will now see the Xbox team’s role within the Windows ecosystem increase. Up until now the Xbox has been the missing link.
We will know either way in January.
“We haven’t told are full story on Gaming on Windows”