Valve’s “evolutionary jump” into platform market will take “quite a bit of work,” says Spencer

Wednesday, 6th November 2013 18:52 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Microsoft Studios vice president Phil Spencer feels Valve has “quite a bit of work” to do as it makes the jump into the platform market with its Steam Machines.

Speaking with VentureBeat, Spencer said entering the hardware market is not an easy feat.

“There is a difference between being a game developer, running a store, and being a platform company,” he said. “That’s an evolutionary jump. They made the jump from building Half-Life to having a set of franchises to running Steam. They did a good job learning through that. Now they’re taking the next job to becoming a platform company – in some sense a hardware company, but in the truest sense more of an OS company. That’s not an easy transition.”

Spencer admitted Valve has done a “great job of keeping the PC ecosystem strong,” while Microsoft “could have been more focused on what was going on in PC gaming.”

“We were probably too focused purely on console,” he admitted, much like he did with Shacknews. “With Steam, [Valve has] done an amazing job of building this thing that, in a lot of ways, we should have been building as well at Microsoft.”

To compensate, Microsoft plans to support Windows more in the future as part of its ‘One Microsoft’ mantra.

“It’s a continued push to make the consoles as relevant as any other device that you own,” he told Polygon. “We’ve seen a proliferation of millions of devices and people playing games across all of those devices. Gameplay is no longer segregated to my console or my PC.

“That’s the opportunity for us. To take all these people that are learning to play games in all these different places and make sure the game console shows up as an extremely relevant device for those people, but also maintaining the core that we’ve had for years in the gaming space on the console, and making sure that they come along.

“If you stay in the space this industry has defined in the last generation, you’re not moving forward. It’s critical that we move forward. It’s critical that we expand the number of customers that care about the devices we build. That’s the business we’re in.”

Xbox One launches in various territories on November 29.



  1. Super Girevik

    Microsoft “could have been more focused on what was going on in PC gaming.”

    #1 1 year ago
  2. mauzed

    The success of steam machines is now guaranteed.

    #2 1 year ago
  3. TheWulf

    It’s amusing that this follows right after their mournful apology for having neglected computer gamers. Valve must really be making them sweat.

    #3 1 year ago
  4. Panthro

    Well done Spencer.

    #4 1 year ago
  5. freedoms_stain

    Valve are unlikely to let fear of Apple and the phone/tablet markets interfere with their design or decisions, so that already puts Valve at least +1 or 2 over Microsoft in my book.

    #5 1 year ago
  6. DSB

    @5 Burn. Ultimate burn. Atmospheric burn. Nuclear burn. Chemical burn. Allround nasty burn burn.

    Seriously though, I don’t think it can be overstated how lousy Windows 8 is.

    For the last week or so I was borrowing a computer that had Windows 8, and it was just fucking awful.

    Like how an running an app or viewing an image, or just simply pressing something by mistake will somehow take up the entire screen. It’s called WINDOWS. We like windows. Windows are a pretty essential feature, of Windows. It’s not called Fullscreens, it’s called fucking Windows!

    I was frantically hitting the windows key every time that happened. I just don’t understand how Microsoft could take something that worked and turn it into nonsense like that.

    It cannot possibly have looked good, even in a design document. What the hell were they thinking?

    #6 1 year ago
  7. sebastien rivas

    Welcome to the club. I too won’t get win for m a n y reasons.

    #7 1 year ago
  8. freedoms_stain

    @6, if you’re not using a touch screen the whole Metro thing including all the apps is completely redundant.

    I’m sure it’s a decent touch interface (I’m not actually sure, but it seems like it could be), but if you’re primarily using the mouse then it’s just cumbersome.

    #8 1 year ago
  9. Mandrid


    #9 1 year ago
  10. fearmonkey

    Hey Spencer, the problem with MS has always been it’s “Reactive” when it should be being “proactive”. MS should have proactively working on Windows gaming after releasing the Xbox, Steam would not be the top dog now if MS would have done the same with Windows. Instead, you sacrificed Windows gaming and placed all yuor love and support behind Xbox, selling off your FASA brand which was a successful PC and Console franchise.

    Now it could be too late!. MS get your act together.

    #10 1 year ago
  11. DSB

    @8 Yeah, I guess it would actually be pretty fun to try out a Surface just to see if it’s any good in that instance.

    I could see how it might be awesome running apps side by side… You know… Windows. Instead of fullscreens.

    God, I can’t get over that! It’s called Windows, but what you’re getting is actually fullscreens. Mind: Blown.

    #11 1 year ago
  12. sebastien rivas

    And why were they not focused?
    Make xbox shine, sell halo like pancakes on consoles and result is…?

    Let a competition develop.
    Nicely done MS

    What is Mantra? A windows 8 for all platforns?
    No thanks MS.

    #12 1 year ago

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