Microsoft has employed Valve’s former director of business development, Jason Holtman, to work on its PC gaming and entertainment division.
“Yes, I have joined Microsoft where I will be focusing on making Windows a great platform for gaming and interactive entertainment,” he confirmed in a statement sent to GamesIndustry.biz. “I think there is a lot of opportunity for Microsoft to deliver the games and entertainment customers want and to work with developers to make that happen, so I’m excited to be here.”
And it makes perfect sense for him be there. Holtman is often credited for the success of Steam, Valve’s digital distribution platform, and was also one of the driving factors behind the implementation of the Steam’s quarterly sales, which has made the platform grow exponentially in the past couple of years and has encouraged PC gamers to make Steam their first choice to play games on.
Holtman was with Valve for nearly eight years, but chose to depart after a number of employees were laid off in February. The reason for his departure from Valve remains unknown, and at the time, the company had simply refused to detail what led to the lay offs.
But Valve’s loss is certainly Microsoft’s gain. Microsoft has for long been undeserving in the PC gaming area, despite being the major platform for games development. Holtman’s inclusion could mean that Microsoft is finally realizing the wasted potentially of fine-honing its PC gaming division, and bring it up to speed with the likes of Steam, and even its own Xbox store, which has been the company’s focus for nearly the past decade.
Microsoft tried its hands with Games for Windows Live and developing exclusives like Age of Empires Online, and more recently, Halo Spartan Assault for Windows 8, but these projects haven’t panned out exactly in the company’s favor, with Games for Windows Live garnering a lot of negativity from gamers for its poor service and restrictive environment.
Holtman will certainly be incharge of Windows 8 and its Game store to make it a viable option for users to buy and play games on, and it will be interesting to see how it will go up against Steam and other distribution platforms like Good Old Gaming and EA’s Origin.