PC and Xbox 360 Releases from Microsoft Will Continue to be Staggered
While I play games on every system, I have certain preferences about which systems I play certain things on. Strategy games and (generally speaking) FPS games I’d like to play on my PC, while sports games and other multiplayer-focused games I prefer on Xbox 360, since that’s where I have the largest group of friends that I play games with. Usually, I get that option, but anyone who has wanted to play a game from Microsoft on PC has undoubtedly noticed the lag time of PC releases behind those on Xbox 360.
That’s because Microsoft wants you to buy the Xbox 360. They don’t need to push the PC as a gaming platform, in their eyes, but they want you buying the 360, so why would they release a game simultaneously on both platforms? This way, they’re likely to see increased sales on the Xbox 360 front as systems have to be sold, and then they still sell a copy of that game. And then when you have suckers like myself that want to play the game on PC, too, they might end up with customers who buy a copy of the game on both systems.
This isn’t just speculation on my part; Microsoft Game Studios’ Peter Zetterberg, the business development manager for Europe, admitted as much in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz.
“On a global scale the Windows Vista business is as important as our Xbox 360 business,” he said, when questioned about why we don’t see simultaneous PC and Xbox 360 releases of games. “But in Germany for example, we want more gamers to buy our Xbox 360. If we launch a game that is on 360 and PC simultaneously, we basically shoot ourselves in the foot by allowing the German market to choose to play the PC version – because they are more likely to buy that than spend their money on the Xbox 360.”
He continued, “On a global scale the PC is very relevant to us. And I would say that 90 per cent of the games that are pitched to us are on console. We’re strongly perceived as a console publisher because we’re the first-party publisher even though the Windows operating system is equally important to us. If we launched a Halo game on PC and 360 in Germany simultaneously, 80 per cent of sales would be on the PC. So we need to pick and choose our formats.”
It’s frustrating to me as a gamer that has the choice, but for those who only have a PC for playing games, it’s even worse. Imagine being a Halo fan and seeing the hype for Halo 3, only to have the release come and go, and almost 10 months later there still being no sign of a PC release. I’d love to think that they might reconsider, but that would be downright silly of me.