Microsoft’s Head of Xbox Games Marketing, Aaron Greenberg, has unequivocally confirmed that Remedy Entertainment’s Quantum Break won’t be coming to Steam on PC; the game is set to be a Windows Store exclusive according to a report from PC Gamer. This isn’t the first time Microsoft has done this — Lionhead’s Fable Legends PC was also exclusive to the Windows Store — but it’s certain to spark new controversy.
The announcement comes not long after a number of Xbox gamers expressed their dissatisfaction with Microsoft earlier this week for the decision to release the game on PC in the first place, as The Inquisitr has previously reported. Many dedicated Xbox fans view the exclusives as one of the reasons to prefer Microsoft’s console, and some took the announcement as a betrayal. Compounding this, according to Polygon, was the fact that when Microsoft announced the PC version, they also announced that owners of Quantum Break on Xbox would be getting a free copy of the game for PC — a fact which some felt completely invalidated their reason to purchase on Xbox in the first place.
Now Microsoft has announced that Quantum Break will only be sold through the Windows Store, raising the question of exclusivity to a whole new level; while there are many titles that are only sold on PC through Steam or Origin or — well, the list goes on — this is the first time that Microsoft itself has explicitly limited a game to their own operating system. A solid business decision, certainly; but it raises the question: are we seeing the beginning of console-ization of PCs? And, is Microsoft firing the opening volley in a gaming war against Valve, who continue their efforts to make their own Linux-based pseudo-console, the “Steam Machine,” a household name?
Not according to Xbox Senior Director for PC Gaming Kevin Unangst, at least. Last year, he essentially pledged Microsoft’s support to Steam.
“We are not intending to compete with Steam. If anything, we want Steam to be even more successful—they’ve done great things for PC gamers in terms of having a single store.
Over time do we want more developers to come over to our store and offer it in addition to Steam? Absolutely. Is competition good for people? Absolutely. But our goal right now isn’t to do anything else other than support Steam and help it run great on Windows 10.”
Unfortunately it’s looking like, as has so often been the case, Microsoft has done an about-face on their previous claims and started competing against Steam directly, which flies in the face of Unangst’s “single store” statement, given that Quantum Break absolutely won’t be available in that single store.
Adding yet another dimension to all of this, last year, Microsoft announced that it would be partnering with Valve VR, having already partnered with Oculus Rift for the Xbox and announced that the recently-acquired Minecraft would have a VR version on the Rift and the Samsung Gear VR (which is based on Oculus Rift technology), and having already announced its own headset, the Microsoft Hololens.
It’s beginning to feel a little like even Microsoft doesn’t know what it want when it comes to gaming; first reaching out and partnering with practically everyone in the VR field in spite of its own product, then claiming a gaming exclusive over one of those same companies half a year later.
Microsoft needs to get their act together and decide, definitively, what they want gaming on Windows 10 to look like – is it an open platform, or is it another Microsoft console?
Time will tell. But for the moment, it looks like Microsoft will be going ahead with their plans to restrict content like Quantum Break to Windows Store users.
[Image via Remedy Games]