Microsoft this week moved to reassure nervous PC gamers that the company was still serious about Windows as a gaming platform. The company issued an announcement about new leadership in its Microsoft Games unit, following in the wake of the departure of Games for Windows Live general manager Chris Early, who was one of 1400 Microsoft employees laid off.
"Microsoft will continue to invest in Windows as a first-class gaming platform through great Windows out of box experiences, our online gaming services including Games for Windows Live, MSN Games, and \[Windows Live\] Messenger games, and through new games for Windows developed by Microsoft Games Studios," the company noted in a written statement. "Our Windows gaming service efforts will be led by general manager Ron Pessner. Working closely with Ron will be Dave Luehmann, a long time Microsoft games veteran. Beyond these changes, we are not commenting on specific personnel issues at this time."
Microsoft's investments in gaming on Windows, such as they are, have been lackluster since the launch of the Xbox 360 video game console. Almost two years ago, the software giant launched its Games for Windows Live initiative, which attempted to duplicate the success of Xbox Live with a miserable and muddy UI and per-year subscription fee for online gaming. (No matter that PC gamers have had access to free online play for over a decade.)
Games for Windows Live tanked, and to date only 12 PC game titles have been launched under that umbrella. In late 2008, Microsoft revamped the service somewhat and removed the yearly fee. According to the Microsoft statement quoted above, the company is serious about continuing the effort.
What Microsoft's isn't so serious about, apparently, is Flight Simulator. The long-running and classic PC game title could be on the way out, given that everyone working on it was also laid off last week from Microsoft. No word yet from the software giant on which PC game titles it specifically intends to continuing investing in.