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

Wednesday, 6 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.

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