Valve veteran Jason Holtman, once the industry's first point of contact for Steam, has joined Microsoft with the intent to turn Windows into "a great platform for gaming and interactive entertainment".
Holtman confirmed his new role with GamesIndustry.
"I have joined Microsoft where I will be focusing on making Windows a great platform for gaming and interactive entertainment," he said.
"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."
A former lawyer, Holtman served with Valve for eight years. Although not as publicly recognisable as Gabe Newell and Doug Lombardi, he was the primary point of contact for companies in getting on board Steam, and championed the service tirelessly. He was largely responsible for signing major third-part publishers to the then-untested digital distribution platform.
Holtman's February departure therefore caused quite a stir, even in the midst of several other high-profile departures in something of a mini-exodus.
Holtman's move to Microsoft has raised eyebrows among commenters as it suggests Microsoft has decided to take PC gaming seriously - something that has seemed more and more unlikely as the platform holder has neglected the space leading up to the Xbox One's launch later this year. With Holtman on side, Microsoft would stand a greater chance of enticing games publishers and developers to utilise a Microsoft-backed digital distribution service, whether it's an improved Games for Windows Live or something entirely new.