Microsoft's supposed re-commitment to PC gaming may have taken a hit with the sudden departure of Jason Holtman.
Holtman had previously worked at Valve, where he helped build the company's massively popular Steam digital distribution service. Last August, Holtman joined Microsoft with the goal of “making Windows a great platform for gaming and interactive entertainment.” Holtman also suggested he'd be working with developers to bring games to the platform.
But Holtman's stint with Microsoft didn't last long. His LinkedIn page shows he left the company in January, and Microsoft confirmed Holtman's departure in a statement to Neowin. Neither Holtman nor Microsoft explained why he left.
Microsoft has been saying for months that it's interested in PC gaming. “We believe in Windows/PC gaming and have long-term plans to grow our support,” the company told IGN in August, shortly before shuttering its Games for Windows Live marketplace. “We expect there to be transitions as we build out new investments, but we remain committed to bringing first party gaming services and games to Windows for years to come.”
Since then, Microsoft has provided no substantive details on those plans, even as it continues to insist it hasn't forgotten about the PC gamer.
In a recent interview with Rock Paper Shotgun, Microsoft partner creative director Ken Lobb said the company was “absolutely” committed to the PC. He referenced last year's major reorganization of the company, suggesting that a more unified Microsoft would allow greater PC support in the long term.
"Now we’re one [unified] Microsoft. I don’t see this as pressure. I see it as an opportunity. We have more support internally to support PC more. That’s great! My only expectation would be, please let us continue to do that over a five-year period so we can have real impact. That’s how it feels right now. We’re getting very strong support internally. So we’re really going after PC."
Longtime PC gamers know there's a good chance Microsoft is just blowing smoke, while continuing to concentrate on its Xbox console business instead. But with Valve getting ready to attack the home console market with SteamOS and Steam Machines, Microsoft may want to shore up its hardcore gaming base sooner than later.