Molyneux “Shocked” by Microsoft’s Lack of PC Focus
In a recent interview with Games Industry, Peter Molyneux expressed his dismay at a lack of PC focus during the Microsoft presentation at E3. Instead of embracing the ever-growing legion of PC gamers, Microsoft decided to trot out “SmartGlass” and (for reasons I still can’t fathom) they had Usher give a live performance. After viewing this spectacle, Mr Molyneux stated: “It’s always shocked me about how little Microsoft cared about the Windows platform,”
The funny thing is, Microsoft did show off PC games at the conference, they just chose to conceal the platform on which the games were running. The X-box 360 controllers in the hands of the presenters are little more than props. The actual games are all run on PC to ensure the graphics look as sleek as possible. So I guess the obvious question here is: “why hide it?” Microsoft could easily just fess up and say: “Hey, we’re going to show you this next game on PC because it will look better that way.”
The most obvious answer to this question is that it’s just not profitable. People need computers. They need them to check e-mail, go on facebook, and pay bills. They serve a great number of functions and have become indispensable to the modern household. And the majority of these computers already come loaded with the latest iteration of Windows.
Now X-boxes, on the other hand, are not as much of a necessity. The latest generation of consoles do not sell themselves the way computers do. If Microsoft got up on stage and told everyone that the upcoming Halo sequel is going to look much better on a PC, they might have a bunch of X-box 720′s collecting dust on store shelves in the very near future. And that would be disastrous. Not only would Microsoft miss out on all those sweet, sweet hardware sales, but there’s the X-box Live subscription fees to consider!
The bottom line is that the X-box needs the fanfare. It needs Usher and backup dancers and Smart Glass. PC’s don’t. It’s that simple. But companies like Microsoft won’t be able to pull the wool over consumer’s eyes forever. According to Peter Molyneux: “It’s going to be an interesting problem for all the console manufacturers I think. It’s because so much computer entertainment, is spreading and diversifying over so many different platforms. They no longer have the luxury of keeping us all funneled into these consoles.”
Peter recently started a new company called 22Cans and given his recent statements I’d be willing to bet they’ll be focusing on PC gamers. And they won’t be alone. Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli has already come out as saying that consoles are dying. And everyone who has played Crysis 2 on a PC can see it’s head and shoulders above it’s X-box 360 counterpart. But don’t expect Microsoft, Sony or Nintendo to admit the end is nigh. They’ve all got big plans and plenty of gimmicks for their next generation consoles. I expect next year’s E3 2013 will go down pretty much the same way this year’s E3 did. Presenters will do their best to keep the audience focused on the next motion-controlled, social media friendly widget and hope people don’t notice that games look and play better on PC.